The 2008 Lexus RX400h sport utility vehicle (SUV) is a midsize crossover hybrid. Utilizing a combination of a gas motor and up to three electric generators, the RX400h doesn’t have the fuel economy that is typical of a hybrid, but does well for its class without sacrificing performance or towing capacity making for an interesting option that appeals to upscale environmentally-conscious buyers. This is essentially an RX 350 with better fuel economy, and while it won’t run with class leaders in sportiness, it offers Lexus comfort and luxury while easing the pain at the pump.
Body Styles: sport utility vehicle
Engines: 3.3-liter V-6
Transmissions: continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Models: Lexus RX400h
For 2008, the Lexus RX400h receives only minor alterations to the interior and exterior trim including a new front grille, chrome door handles, a new finish for its 18-inch wheels, and a rear spoiler.
The 2008 Lexus RX400h midsize luxury SUV comes in one trim level with standard and optional equipment levels much like the RX 350. Standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, a power rear liftgate, and heated outside mirrors.
Optional features are available as stand-alone add-ons or in packaged groups. The Premium Package offers a sunroof while the Premium Plus Package offers adds adaptive xenon headlights. Eighteen-inch wheels are also available.
The RX400h is a dead ringer for the RX 350 making it a sleek and somewhat stylized crossover that avoids a bland appearance.
The interior comes standard with cloth upholstery, 10-way power front seats, sliding and reclining second-row seats, multifunction steering wheel controls, dual-zone climate control, and eight-speaker premium audio with an in-dash six-CD changer. The Premium package adds in leather trim, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and driver seat memory settings. Other stand-alone options include an impressive 11-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, a navigation system with back-up camera, a rear-seat entertainment system, satellite radio, and specialized interior wood trim.
The RX400h has a silent interior that Lexus enthusiasts expect, made even quieter by the electric motors to 30 mph. The materials are high quality, and the design is well done. Cargo space is typical for a midsize crossover, and the comfort is class leading.
Performance & Handling
The Lexus RX400h hybrid uses a 3.3-liter gasoline V-6 engine combined with electric motor-generators to produce all necessary power. Front-wheel-drive models use one motor-generator as a starter and another to provide motive force. The all-wheel-drive version adds a third electric motor to drive the rear wheels. This set-up produces as much as 268 horsepower that is sent through the hybrid gearbox of choice: a continuously variable transmission (CVT). According to tests conducted by Lexus, the front-drive RX400h can go from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds while the all-wheel drive is uncharacteristically faster doing the same run in 7.3 seconds. Although it’s a hybrid, the RX400h matches the towing capacity of its sibling, the RX 350, by hauling up to 3500 pounds with the proper equipment. All things considered, there isn’t much sacrifice in power or performance that accompanies the increase in fuel economy making the RX400h worth a close look.
The handling is respectable for a vehicle that has an emphasis on a comfortable and smooth ride. While not an above average performer in this respect, the sportier in class choices may not offer as much luxury, a quiet cabin, or the economy involved. The brakes are a bit grabby for some drivers' tastes, and the noise does kick up when the hard working electric motors try to help the gasoline engine get to the redline. But these quibbles aside, Lexus made a hybrid that performs and handles like its all-gas sibling, the RX 350.
The 2008 Lexus RX400h receives perfect marks in government crash safety tests for frontal and side impacts thanks to a respectable list of safety equipment. The RX400h offers as standard features: front seat-mounted side airbags, a driver knee airbag, and rollover-sensing front and rear head curtain side airbag as well as anti-lock brakes, stability control, and traction control. Adaptive cruise control is available as an option as is a rear back-up camera that's part of the optional navigation system.
EPA Fuel Economy
Lexus RX400h: 27/24 mpg city/highway
- Hybrid technology
- Smooth ride
- Luxurious interior
You Won't Like
- Highway fuel economy
- Too similar to RX 350
- Brake pedal feel
- Lack of third-row seat
Lexus-quality with fuel economy that doesn’t sacrifice power.
If You Like This Vehicle
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