The Lexus RX 400h, the first petrol-electric hybrid 4×4, reaches UK showrooms this week. The long awaited SUV combines a 3.3 litre V6 petrol engine with front and rear electric motors, merging strong performance with low fuel consumption and similar carbon dioxide emissions to a Toyota Corolla.
The RX 400h can run on electric motors alone at start-up and at low to mid-range speeds, cutting exhaust emissions to zero. In normal driving conditions, a power-split device divides output from the engine between driving the wheels and powering the generator, which in turn charges the high-voltage battery. This means that the vehicle never has to be taken off the road to be charged.
The RX 400h is also packed full of safety features. Nine airbags come as standard, including driver’s knee bags. Active safety systems, such as Lexus’ Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management System help prevent an accident occurring in the first place. The system coordinates Anti-Lock Brakes, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Control.