2010 Lexus RX450h Review

14 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2010 Lexus RX450h Review
Lexus RX 450h

2010 Lexus RX450h Review

By Henny Hemmes

Senior European Editor

The Auto Channel

Amsterdam Bureau

It#8217;s already a while ago, but I vividly remember my first #8216;encounter#8217; with the Lexus RX 300. In 1998, our test route went through northern Michigan and we spent the night in a national park. The next morning, and for the first time in my life, I saw an eagle in full flight. It was a stunning sight.

At that time Lexus was the first off-roader based on a car platform, a type soon to become known as a crossover.

Until now, you could buy the RX350 with a 275 hp 3.5-liter V-6 or as RX hybrid with the Hybrid V-6. The 2009 model offers an upgraded version of the Lexus Hybrid System of the 3.5-liter V-6 and two electric motors, besides the RX350 with the normal petrol engine.

Lowest CO2 in class

The exterior of the 2010 Lexus RX 450h is of a new design, but the body sits on the platform of the Toyota Highlander. That allows for the same set up as before, with the CVT with an electric motor and a second electric motor in the back axle. The CPU, the management system is lighter and more efficient and the 279 hp strong V-6 is more efficient too.

Lexus claims a reduction of be 23 percent in fuel consumption.

In the second generation 450h, the system#8217;s total power output has been raised with 27 hp to 299 hp and. more than the Mercedes ML, Audi Q7 and abovementioned X5. But that is not the most important achievement of the RD engineers. A slew of modifications in the power plant and the electric motors resulted in very low emission figures.

With only 148 gram CO2 per kilometre, the Lexus RX 450h has 23 per cent less emission and 10 per cent more power than the outgoing model. In California the 2010 model earn the SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle) status (Tier 2-Bin 3 in other states). With such low CO2-emission the 450h by far beats the Mercedes ML 450 Hybrid (185 g/km) and the successful Mercedes ML 320 CDI (245 g/km).

Lexus RX450h

Hi-tech hybrid system

One of the measures that pays off for the new Lexus hybrid is the new V-6 engine running on the so-called Atkinson cycle. This allows the intake valves to open longer and the exhaust valves to be closed for a longer time, thus making more effective use of the fuel. Lexus also uses cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), the cooling of the exhaust gasses to drop from 880 to 150 degrees Centigrade.

Exhaust Heat Recovery (HER), the use of the remaining heat to allow the engine to reach its work temperature much faster, allows the system to switch into electric mode much faster.

New are the three driving modes, Eco, EV and Snow. The Eco mode is linked to an indicator in the speedometer and provides a modified throttle action and air conditioning control to support the driver to drive #8216;economical#8217;. In EV mode the 450h automatically operates under electric motor power. This happens from the start up to 25 mph.

You can also select this mode yourself with the multi-information switch on the steering wheel. The same switch allows you to choose Snow mode. Then the pressure on the throttle is automatically adjusted to reduce driving torque end wheel spin, while the rear electric motor is engaged to improve traction in case the front wheels spin.

Not much was changed with respect to the batteries. As before, the new 450h uses nickel-metal hybrid, that because of better cooling and a smaller size could be positioned in a different way.

The engine is teamed to a six-speed sequential CVT transmission, that works efficient, but allows for higher revs that you would expect normally during normal acceleration. There are three new driving modes, Eco, EV and Snow, that improve the fuel efficiency of the hybrid system and the driving performance. The EV mode is for driving on electric motor power exclusively, with no C02, nor NOx emission.

The fuel consumption of the 450h is the lowest of any crossover SUV around, with 6.3 l/100 km for the combined cycle.

In Europe, the RX has a re-tuned suspension and power management for (according to Lexus) better acceleration while not much influencing the fuel consumption.

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