The RX 450h hybrid luxury crossover is one of Lexus’ best-selling hybrid models. First launched in 2006, now Lexus stands as the luxury hybrid leader with its offering of five hybrids.
While testing this vehicle, the RX 450h provides a strong driving experience on I95 with a ton of technology and luxury SUV features.
The RX 450h’s Lexus Hybrid Drive features a 3.5-liter V6 Atkinson-cycle engine, electric motors, a small and light power-control unit and other fuel-saving innovations. It offers performance similar to V8s, 295 hp and got 32 mpg city and 28 mpg highway
As a full hybrid, the RX 450h can operate in electric-only or gas-engine-only modes as well as a mode that combines the power of both. Extended electric-mode operation during low-speed or stop-and-go driving conditions helps reduce fuel consumption. Under certain circumstances, a driver-selectable EV mode can allow the vehicle to be driven short distances using only the electric motors. The RX 450h achieves Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) certification in California (Tier 2-Bin 3 in other states).
A compact 288V DC Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack fits neatly under the rear seat. A boost converter efficiently raises voltage to 650V DC, and an inverter changes this to 650V AC for the front-mounted 123-kW electric motor-generator. The boost converter and inverter are enclosed in the power-control unit, which also houses the condenser.
To enhance fuel economy, an exhaust heat-recovery system circulates engine coolant through a unit installed in the exhaust pipe behind the catalytic converter. This feature reduces engine warm-up time, allowing it to stop earlier, more often, and for longer periods, improving both fuel economy and emissions.
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