2007 Lexus RX 400h Performance
The majority of reviewers enjoy their driving experience in the Lexus RX Hybrid. Several depict the drive as the same or better than the non-hybrid RX. Road and Track proclaims "the age of the performance hybrid is here, now with the expected Lexus polish."
Many test drivers are taken aback at the lack of vibration and noise when starting the RX Hybrid, because it's started by the electric motor as opposed to its 3.3-liter V6 engine. Auto Mall USA best explains the process of starting the 2007 Lexus RX Hybrid. "Twist the key and everything on the dash lights up, but there's no sound of an engine starting, only silence. Slide the transmission lever to drive and you can pull silently away on electric power."
The 400h's engine power is employed for high acceleration, while stop-and-go commuter traffic, suburbs and parking lot driving will use the motor the majority of the time. A large number of reviewers reserve the highest praise for the 2007 Lexus RX Hybrid's acceleration.portrays the get-up-and-go best, writing, "when you put your foot down nothing dramatic happens -- no gut-knotting windup of the motor and no open asphalt lunge -- it just gains speed like the Eurostar pulling out of Waterloo."
Acceleration and Power
The 2007 Lexus RX Hybrid is partially powered with a 3.3-liter V6 engine with 268-horsepower and partially powered with Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system, front and rear high-output, permanent-magnet electric motors. Because it is classified as a full hybrid, the 400h has the ability to drive exclusively with either its engine or its motor. The electric motor is used for starting the car and driving at slower speeds, while the engine guns in for higher speeds. Auto Mall USA reports, "the RX 400h jumps off the line significantly quicker than the regular RX 330...step hard on the gas pedal and the V6 kicks in quickly and seamlessly." MSN' reviewer is impressed with the 400h's moxie given its hybrid mechanics, noting the car "doesn't have the lazy highway acceleration of the first gas-electric hybrid autos. It was still accelerating hard at 80 mph."
The Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2007 Lexus RX Hybrid with two-wheel drive at 28 miles per gallon city and 25 miles per gallon highway, using premium gasoline. For the four-wheel drive, the 2007 Lexus RX Hybrid rates 27 miles per gallon city and 25 miles per gallon highway, giving it the "best fuel mileage" for its SUV class, Edmunds reports. Drivers should also note that as electric motors run the 400h during more stop-and-go traffic, the car actually has a high rating for city driving instead of highways like other cars.
The 2007 Lexus RX Hybrid has an electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission (CVT), which MSN highlights for accelerating smoothly thanks to no specific gear changes. The system has no specific gear changes, just a set of pulleys, and thus makes the RX 400h accelerate more smoothly. About.com says, "the net effect in the real world is a jolt of acceleration that feels like a turbo kick. RX 400h feels like a hot rod compared to RX 350."
The 2007 Lexus RX Hybrid also has similar towing capacities to its RX 350 sibling. When properly equipped with the optional towing package, the 400h can tow up to up to 3,500 pounds.
Handling and Braking
The 2007 Lexus RX Hybrid has a fully independent suspension with coil springs, gas-pressurized shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar for the rear and MacPherson struts for the front, a system which pleases reviewers. Automobile Magazine says "the RX ride is both comfortable and connected, with the expected isolation."
The 2007 Lexus RX Hybrid's handling also satisfies auto writers. Motor Week notes the 400h "felt solid in corners" on the twisting Hawaiian roads of the test drive. U.S. News' Rick Newman credits the suspension system and optional 18-inch tires for providing "grippy handling."
Auto writers are cautious to praise the 2007 Lexus RX Hybrid's steering capabilities, provided by electronic vehicle-speed-sensing as well as power-assisted rack-and-pinion.
MSN says the steering is "rather heavy, but not objectionably so," but The Truth About Cars is quicker to criticize, calling the electric power steering "lighter than diet popcorn -- to the point where the big L embossed on the helm is as good a guide to your intended direction."
When it's time to stop the 2007 Lexus RX Hybrid, drivers will be using four-wheel electronic-powered assisted disks, with four-sensor, four-channel anti-lock brakes, as well as brake assist, Electronic Controlled Braking and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. The braking is also a component of the 400h that is slightly modified by the electric motor power, and reviewers caution that this too will take some getting used to. As New Car Test Drive says, "The brakes may be the most un-Lexus-like component of the RX 400h," further explaining, "they sometimes feel uneven, as the regenerative effect of the electric motors helped slow the car, which makes it more challenging to modulate the pedal for smooth stops, particularly at parking lot speeds."
The RX and RX Hybrid were not designed for off-roading. As theexplains, "with heavy batteries and electric motors on board, this is not the ideal SUV for tackling extremely rough off-road terrain."