Lexus RX 450h to become greenest premium SUVNew model is 28% more efficient than predecessor

13 April 2009

The new Lexus RX 450h

The new Lexus RX 450h will be the cleanest in its class

Lexus has revealed the technical details of its forthcoming RX 450h hybrid SUV. And we have to admit, it’s pretty impressive.

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The RX 450h is an all-new vehicle, replacing the current RX line-up and signalling the end for non-hybrid RX models in the UK.

Utilising the very latest Lexus Hybrid Drive technology, the petrol-electric RX 450h is not only 28% more fuel efficient than the car it replaces, it is also 10% more powerful. Producing an impressive 295bhp, it sprints 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds, and has a top speed of 124mph.

Lexus SUV is cleanest in class

Green SUV features a sophisticated hybrid drivetrain system

Green SUV features a sophisticated hybrid drivetrain

But it’s the efficiency that’s most significant. With a combined fuel economy of 44.8mpg and low CO2 emissions of 148g/km, the Lexus RX 450h becomes the greenest car in its premium SUV class – bettering even 2.0-litre turbodiesel rivals. This despite having a 3.5-litre petrol V6 under the bonnet, four-wheel drive, and an automatic gearbox.

The secret is in the sophisticated hybrid drivetrain system, which matches the petrol engine to two electric motors – allowing the RX 450h to operate on electric power only, just petrol, or a combination of both.

Further modifications to the combustion process, the use of exhaust gas recirculation to cool the combustion process and exhaust gas heat to help the RX 450h warm-up faster help increase efficiency. Like parent company Toyota's latest Prius, many of the hybrid components are lighter and take up less space than before.

Technology to help you be greener

Helping the driver – often the weak link in environmentally conscious cars – perform more economically, the new Lexus has three special driving modes, ECO, EV and SNOW.

ECO adapts both the air conditioning and the accelerator response to make the vehicle greener – reducing air con load under heavy acceleration, for example, and responding more gently to sharp throttle inputs in order to encourage smoother driving.

EV is an electric only operating mode – designed for start-up and urban centre motoring. SNOW helps maintain grip during treacherous weather.

No word on full specification or pricing yet – but we expect equipment levels to be extremely comprehensive as is the Lexus norm. We don’t imagine the SUV will be cheap. The new Lexus RX 450h is on sale in July.