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Thanks to its gasoline/electric drivetrain, the 2007 Lexus RX 400h combines traditional Lexus luxury with improved fuel economy and utility. Available in either front- or all-wheel drive, the 400h uses an advanced hybrid system that combines a 3.3-liter V6 gas engine with a 288-volt nickel metal battery pack and electric motor generators. The engine and motor generators combine seamlessly, and the RX 400h can run on battery power at low acceleration or when coasting. It also boasts an impressive 286 horsepower (38 more than the RX 330) and has a 0-60-mph time of 7.3 seconds (7.5 seconds for all-wheel-drive models). Those are numbers that belong to most sports coupes, but the RX 400h also posts an EPA mpg rating of 32 city/27 highway. For 2007, the 400h makes some minor changes to its lists of standard and optional equipment. It now comes with a standard fabric interior, with leather trim available as an option, and added power lumbar adjustment for the power front passenger seat. And while the hybrid SUV already comes with an impressive list of standard safety features, this year it adds a standard tire-pressure monitoring system. The 2007 Lexus RX 400h is essentially the only real luxury hybrid SUV on the market, but potential buyers may also want to compare it to the Mercury Mariner Hybrid and Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid. Although the 400h is substantially more expensive than either, it does offer luxurious interior amenities and tighter handling, as well as better acceleration and performance.
Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options
The 2007 Lexus RX 400h is a midsize SUV with a gasoline/electric powertrain. The base 400h comes with cloth seats, 10-way power driver and front passenger seats with power lumbar support, dual-zone climate control, second row seats that slide and recline, an eight-speaker, six-disc CD player and 17-inch wheels. Options include leather seats, a roof rack with rails, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, moonroof, HID headlamps that swivel when you turn and 18-inch wheels. The 400h also offers an audio package with an 11-speaker Mark Levinson DVD audio system, and a stand-alone navigation option that includes a back-up camera and voice activation. The vehicle is available with front- or all-wheel drive.
Powertrains and Performance
The 400h uses a hybrid drivetrain that combines a 3.3-liter V6 engine with high-torque electric-drive motor-generators. Coupled with a continuously variable transmission, the 400h produces 268 hp and boasts a 0-60-mph time of 7.3 seconds (7.5 seconds for all-wheel-drive models). It has an EPA mpg rating of 32 city/27 highway.
The 2007 RX 400h provides standard front, side-curtain, head and driver knee airbags. It also comes with antilock brakes, brake assist, stability and traction control and a rollover sensor. Official crash tests of the 400h have not been performed but scores of its sister vehicle, the regular RX 350, should be applicable.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 400h has a sleek, high-tech interior with aluminum trim, chrome-rimmed gauges and a touchscreen that displays the gas-electric power distribution. The 40/20/20-split rear seat slides and reclines. The 38-cubic-foot rear cargo capacity expands to just shy of 85 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, and comes with a power liftgate.
The 2007 Lexus RX 400h drives a lot like the RX 350, which is not a bad thing at all. The electric motor doesn’t provide the gusto V8 sound we love in a performance car, but the acceleration is just as strong. Ride quality is plush and the handling is nice and tight, in spite of the extra 300 pounds the 400h carries over the regular RX 330. However, you can definitely feel that extra weight in turns. We also noticed some rather intrusive engine noise, as the hybrid system forces the V6 to rev up to redline under hard acceleration.
Lexus introduced the hybrid-powered sibling to the RX 330 last year, so for 2007 there are only minor changes to the vehicle’s list of standard and optional features. In order to appeal to a wider audience, the base 400h now comes with a cloth interior, and former standard (and pricey) features like leather seats and a power moonroof are now offered as options instead.
Advanced hybrid technology, smooth ride, seamless acceleration, elegant interior, significant improvement in fuel economy