Lexus RX400h car review

The Lexus RX400h gets a value for money boost in a Limited Edition guise. Steve Walker reports

If you want a full-size luxury 4x4, the RX400h hybrid from Lexus is one of the most economical and environmentally friendly ways to do it. Thanks to a pair of Limited Edition models, it is now better value than ever too.

To boost sales during its final months, Lexus has concocted the RX400h Limited Edition and the RX400h Executive Limited Edition.

The RX400h isn't your typical hybrid. There's nothing overwhelmingly green about a 272bhp output resulting in a top speed of 124mph and sprinting capability that can shame some hot hatches. In fact, this heavy 4x4 has jet heels, getting to 60mph in just 7.4 seconds.

The 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine under the bonnet of the RX400h isn't anything special, but Lexus has also engineered a pair of high-torque electric motors positioned front and rear that can either assist the petrol engine during acceleration or replace it altogether at start up or low to mid-range speeds.

The Lexus RX400h is a more benign presence on the road than most of its rivals and this may help deflect some of the flak that urban 4x4s are forced to take in the current political climate. Inside, the quality of the construction stands out though the ambience is less stylish than in some competitors. The cabin lays on space for five with decent head and legroom and a big boot. There is a bit of a lip that stops you sliding large items into the rear but when serious luggage capacity is needed, the rear seats can be folded virtually flat to the floor.

The basic RX400h package may be unchanged in the Limited Edition models but far reaching tweaks have been made to the specifications of the car, and its pricing.

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he highlights of the Limited Edition model include leather upholstery, heated front seats and the Lexus Multimedia system which incorporates a seven inch colour screen with satellite navigation and the outstanding Mark Levinson 11-speaker stereo. Adaptive front lighting is also thrown in along with cruise control and a fetching set of 18" alloy wheels.

Step up to the Executive Limited Edition model and there's also an electric sunroof, electric steering wheel adjustment, memory settings for the seat and wheel, rain sensing wipers and a powered tailgate. Prices for both models have been cut making the Limited Edition packages look particularly desirable.

If you want to do your bit for the planet, you probably won't buy a luxury 4x4, even one with an advanced hybrid powertrain like the RX400h. If, however, you want a luxury 4x4, the RX400h is as good a way as any of driving one while minimising your impact on the planet and your wallet.

The Lexus RX400h remains a unique prospect in the luxury SUV segment thanks to its hybrid powertrain and the Limited Edition models give it a further string to its bow in terms of value for money. With extra features and lower prices, these versions should attract their fair share of customers. There's even a 2-year/20,000-mile servicing package included in the price.

The RX400h has never been the best of the luxury 4x4 brigade but it is solidly built, extremely refined and has a certain novelty value thanks to its hybrid powertrain. Considering the amount of technology Lexus has crammed beneath the skin, this has always looked like a lot of car for the money and that impression is only magnified by the Limited Edition versions.

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