2010 Lexus RX 450hEnlarge Photo
The Lexus RX450h is newly redesigned and engineered for the 2010 model year, and is the hybrid version of the popular RX350. It replaces the previous RX400h hybrid. The new vehicle uses a second generation hybrid powertrain.
Car and Driver had the chance to take the vehicle out for a short 25 mile test drive.
They noted the 6 cylinder gas engine has been increased from 3.3 to 3.5 L resulting in 27 additional horsepower to a total of 295.
There are three electric motors in the all wheel drive version; one within the transmission that acts as a generator to recapture kinetic energy, a 167 hp unit for propelling the front wheels, and a 68 hp to assist the rear wheels. The third rear motor adds an additional $1595 in price over the FWD version.
The author describes the car as "an exercise in being totally pampered," and that it is a "serene" car without any fatal flaws.
It is a five passenger vehicle with a base price of $44,125.
The driver found the 0 to 60 time to be 7.1 seconds, and observed combined fuel economy to be 25 mpg despite the official EPA rating of 30 mpg city/28 mpg highway.
The author did note that the "droning" continuously variable transmission "will not win anyone over."
The non hybrid RX350 averaged 21 mpg giving only 4 mpg of benefit to the hybrid which was traded off for slightly slower performance. It was noted that financially, "it would take 231,026 miles for the hybrid to 'break even' with the RX350," though 1760 fewer gallons of gas would be consumed in the process.
In conclusion the reporter noted a preference for the gas only RX350.
Source (Car and Driver)