Smooth ride; Lexus-worthy quiet cabin; plenty of room for people and cargo
The 350 and 450h both carry a 3.5-liter V6 under the hood. The 350 is rated at 275 horsepower, while the 450h can do 295 horsepower, thanks to the assistance offered by the electric motor. The 450h can operate using only electric, only gasoline, or use both in tandem. The 350 uses a conventional 6-speed transmission, but the 450h utilizes a continuously variable transmission.
The 450h hybrid system includes a 288-volt battery pack that sits under the rear seat, which sends power to the front mounted motor-generator that drives the front wheels. In all-wheel drive trims, another motor-generator drives the rear wheels. Both models have another generator that's engine-driven rather than battery-driven, so it functions as a starter and can power the battery pack or other electric motors.
Lexus uses a handling system it calls Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM); it's standard on the 450h and optional on the 350. If the system detects a loss of control, it uses all the electronic systems -- ABS, brake assist, traction control, and stability control -- as well as throttle control to help the RX get back on track. In the 450h, the electronically controlled brakes work with VDIM as well.
Further safety options include adaptive headlights and a pre-collision system with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control to set the RX's speed in relation to the car ahead. The RX has 10 standard airbags, a rollover sensor to inflate side curtain airbags and active front headrests. Inside, the RX features push-button start, 10-way power seats with memory, steering-wheel mounted controls, Bluetooth connectivity, and the Lexus Premium Audio system. Options include a smog detector, leather seats, rear-seat entertainment system, 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system, navigation system and back-up camera.
There were no major changes for 2011 for the RX SUV, since there was a redesign for 2010. It's still available as the RX 350 and RX 450h -- for hybrid -- in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The 350 does get a new brake override system and both models have added new exterior paint colors.
The RX 350 and RX 450h land squarely in the full-sized luxury SUV segment, with the amenities and horsepower to back it up. The 450h has the extra benefit of a hybrid drivetrain that can run on batteries alone for short distances. The 350 does all right on its own, doing 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, but the 450h really shines with 28 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.
Vehicle Price: 45,610.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
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