The Lexus RX 400h | Part Two

Lexus RX 400h

Lexus RX

Performance

Maximum output from the Hybrid Synergy Drive is 269bhp, which gives the RX 400h a top speed of 124mph and 0-62mph acceleration in 7.6 seconds. Progress is seamless, thanks to the electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT). In official combined cycle driving the vehicle returns 34.9mpg, a better figure than any of its premium petrol SUV rivals and on a par with the very best diesel performance. In terms of exhaust emissions, the vehicle complies with Euro IV emissions standards and produces 192g/km of carbon dioxide. Nitrogen oxides emissions are reduced to near-zero.

Safety

The RX 400h is the first SUV to benefit from Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), a Lexus-developed system which coordinates operation of the ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) to maximise their performance capability.

VDIM triggers the systems when it detects the vehicle is nearing the limit of its performance, instead of them coming into play individually when that limit has been reached. This means their intervention is less obtrusive and the vehicle is kept under control more smoothly.

VDIM also integrates the electric power steering system, adjusting steering torque to make it easier for the driver to return the vehicle to the correct course. The RX 400h is equipped with a ‘by-wire’ electronically controlled brake system (ECB) and brake assist (BA).

To improve the driver’s vision through bends, SE and SE-L versions of the RX 400h are equipped with an Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS). This swivels the headlamp beam in accordance with vehicle speed and turning angle in order to provide better illumination.

All versions of the RX 400h are equipped with nine airbags as standard. These include a driver’s knee airbag and large capacity Thorax-Abdomen-Pelvis side airbags.

Design And Equipment

The RX 400h is almost identical to the RX 300 model, sharing the same aerodynamically-efficient design that provides excellent stability and keeps wind noise levels to a minimum. A few details set the RX 400h apart, including a revised front grille designed to aid cooling of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system and neatly integrated front fog lamps in the front bumper section.

The high voltage battery has a compact three-section design, which has allowed it to be located beneath the rear seats without compromising passenger space in any way.

The driver can monitor the drive system’s performance from a power meter that replaces the tachometer on the central instrument display. On versions equipped with the Lexus Navigator satellite navigation system (standard on SE-L, optional on SE models) the power flow can be displayed on the seven-inch colour monitor on the centre console.

continues... | Part Three
Published 5 June 2005 Melanie Carter

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