Toyota to Launch Lexus RX 400h Hybrid SUV

March 27, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

The Lexus division of Toyota Motor Corp. (Japan) announced the launch of a gasoline-electric hybrid version of its RX 400h, all-wheel-drive, sport-utility vehicle. The vehicles will go on sale April 15, the federal deadline for filing taxes, as a 2006 model-year vehicle.

The RX 400h will be built at the company's Kyushu, Japan, plant. Lexus has 9,500 confirmed orders for the RX 400h, 8,000 buyers on dealership waiting lists and about 46,000 potential purchasers who have indicated online that they want more information about the vehicle. Toyota plans to release a hybrid version of the Toyota Highlander SUV about 90 days after the RX 400h reaches US showrooms.

By combining a 3.3 L, V-6 engine with an electric drive motor-generator and a rear electric drive motor-generator, the 400h delivers 268 HP and a 0 mph to 60 mph time in under eight seconds. The 400h averaged nearly 30 mpg in mostly city driving, which is right where the EPA says it will land (27 mpg highway). The RX 400h comes with an eight-year/100,000-mile battery and hybrid system warranty.

Due in dealerships next month, the RX 400h hybrid is priced about $10,000 above the $37,825 sticker on the base all-wheel-drive RX 330.