Lexus RX400h – 2008

First drive for the day, one of the, if not THE, first Hybrid SUV. Massively successful in the USA, especially the roads of California ,where the hybrid lifts social status to Madonna’esque levels. The one I drove had around 68 000 km’s on the clock, and still looked in reasonable condition. There were no rattles, everything was still stuck in the place it came in from the factory so this is good news for any second-hand buyers. The concern only around hybrid drivetrain lifetime, as this technology is fairly new. However, in this model, the drivetrain still seemed to function as intended. Best part however, watching the LCD screen that displays the power delivery and drivetrain visuals. Giving you a realtime illustration of where power is coming from, to which axle, from battery or engine. It’s so distracting, I nearly crashed the car numerous times. This engine set up is called Hybrid Synergy Drive. It’s a V6 3.3litre mated to a CVT gearbox (not my favourite, but understanding considering the setup) that charges battery that drives the two electric motors. It either only uses the electric motor (computer decided under certain conditions) or cranks in some extra juice from the gutsy V6.

Overall, impressed with performance, which is seriously brisk, at 0-100km/h in 8seconds. In usual Lexus style, the interior is very well appointed, and with ample space. The new generation RX450h is a step up from this, however I did not get to drive the newer model. The RX450h is the current Hybrid SUV on sale from Lexus

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