“2017 Lexus RX 450h luxury Hybrid SUV”
Lexus 450h Adds new F-Sport model
The first Lexus RX model appeared in 1998, revolutionizing SUV propulsion with the first RX hybrid model in 2004. The 2017 Lexus RX 450h represents the latest example of Lexus’ move in revolutionizing the company’s role in the luxury utility vehicle category, and continuing the legacy as a full hybrid that is capable of operating in electric-only, gas-engine only, or by combining both the gas and electric modes.
Following the introduction of all-new fourth-generation RX 350 and RX 450h Hybrid luxury utility vehicles for the 2016 model year, Lexus begins the RX model’s second season with several worthwhile advancements, including those that make up the Lexus Safety System+ as standard fare. Introduced as an option for 2016, the Lexus Safety System+ included Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
In addition, Lexus also made Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert with Auto Braking standard for 2017 RX 450h along with adding Scout® GPS Link to the Display Audio in the RX 350 and RX 450h models.
Continuing as an expansion of its F SPORT performance line for those wanting a more spirited driving experience, Lexus introduces the RX 350 FWD model for 2017, joining the AWD model. Now, all RX models, including the RX 450h Hybrid, are available with this handling and design upgrade.
Lexus’ Hybrid Synergy Drive combines the power of a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a front-mounted 123-kW electric motor generator, with power from both that is channeled through a planetary-type continuously variable transmission. The model with all-weather drive uniquely powers the rear wheels with a dedicated 50-kW electric motor, and this combination yields an even quicker performance.
The Hybrid Synergy Drive system is composed of a 3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 engine with VVT-I and port fuel injection and Front electric drive motors with Lexus Hybrid Drive – Series/parallel system with gas engine and electric motors featuring 340 total hp hybrid system power from the gas engine and two motor/generators. Motor Generator 1, a permanent magnet, water-cooled motor serves as the primary generator and transmission ratio control with a maximum voltage of 650V (AC). Motor Generator 2, also a permanent magnet, water-cooled motor with a maximum voltage of 650V (DC) and a maximum output of 155 hp (116 kW) drives the front wheels and provides regenerative braking.
The Battery pack is a sealed Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) unit with 240 cells (6 cells x 40 modules) in a Nickel-plated metal container with a nominal voltage of 288V, which can be boosted to 650 volts with the power circuit with a power output of 37 Kw. Note: AWD models have a permanent magnet Motor Generator Rear that drives the rear wheels and also provides regenerative braking. Horsepower not including Hybrid Drive is 245 at 6,000 rpm, and the Torque rating is 234 pound feet at 4,800 rpm not including Hybrid Drive. Combined horsepower is 308 when combined with Hybrid Synergy Drive. The transmission/transaxle unit that delivers energy to the driving wheels is an Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable planetary gear unit for gear reduction and power splitting, electronic all- or front wheel-drive control system.
The RX 450h driver may choose from four selectable driving modes, including EV, which allows the vehicle to operate on electric-only power at lower speeds under certain conditions. A Normal mode provides an ideal blend of performance and efficiency for everyday driving, and Eco mode focuses on fuel economy. The Sport mode, which was added in the 2013 redesign, provides increased powertrain responsiveness for a more pleasing driving experience.
The Lexus 450h features MacPherson strut suspension with coil springs up front and a Double wishbone type with coil springs in the rear. The Lexus RX 450h rolls on Michelin Premiere LTX P235/55 VR19 102V tires mounted on 5-“stylized W”-spoke, Graphite metallic painted alloy wheels.
Exterior features for model year 2017 include: 20-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels; 235/55R20 tires; blue highlights added to front and rear “L” logo; front fog lamps integrated into bumper; a “HYBRID” badge is incorporated on side molding of rear doors; LED brake lights and LED daytime running lights;
rear privacy glass; side mirrors with integrated LED turn signal lamps (three times flash feature adopted, can be turned off); standard integrated rear spoiler that hides wiper mechanism; and water-repellant front door glass.
Body structure and paint features include: acoustic glass windshield to reduce noise; anti-chipping paint applied to rocker panels and wheel housing arch sections; 9 exterior colors; high level rust protection with zinc-plated steel on hood, doors and front fenders; a rigid body with monocoque construction; improved reduction of noise, vibration and harshness levels; a rear bumper protector; soft chip primer applied to hood for improved anti-chipping; added sound insulation placed in door panels, instrument panel and floor mats; and UV-reducing glass used for all windows.
Convenience features include: auto on/off headlamps; foldable heated outside mirrors; a power rear hatch; a rear intermittent wiper; SmartAccess key system; and variable intermittent windshield wipers and more.
The latest in available advanced safety systems abound in the 20157 Lexus RX 450h featuring a full suite of safety and security systems such as: an optional Pre-Collision System, Adaptive front lighting system and Intuitive Park Assist, Active headrests and more.
Exterior styling displays the Lexus brand’s L-finesse design language displays a long, sloping hood, sharply angled windshield leading to a gracefully curved roofline that drops off slanted to the rear and a bold, pronounced shoulder that runs from headlamp to tail lamp. There is also an inset rocker character cove and accented wheel well arches. All these styling elements blend to serve up an athletic stance exhibiting smooth lines in a simple but elegant form.
Moving to the inside, premium polished wood trim accents appear on the steering wheel, center console and all four doors in variety of wood examples.
My test 2017 Lexus RX 450h F-Sport 5-Door SUV came with a base price of $56,495 and an exterior finished in Atomic Silver metallic, complemented by a Black leather interior with contrasting White stitching and nickel-tined trim accents. The final sticker came to $61,604 after adding the Panoramic View Monitor, Triple-beam LED headlamps, 12.3” Navigation System and Mark Levinson 15 speaker Premium Audio Package, Cargo Net and Carpeted Cargo Mat, Courtesy Delivery Sticker and Delivery, processing and handling fee. The standard equipment and feature inventory is both impressive and lengthy– too long to list here.
SUMMARY: The 2017 Lexus RX 450h F-Sport is definitely an impressive luxury SUV with hybrid technology added as a major plus. The fuel economy, with its full hybrid status is EPA rated at 31-mpg city and 28 mpg on the highway.
Acceleration is instantaneous and the damping should prove pleasing to both the performance oriented driver, and the driver seeking a more luxurious ride. The ECVT transmission is seamless when set in the normal mode, and exceptionally smooth in its pseudo-manual mode.
It will undoubtedly take an extended familiarization period to master all that the Lexus RX 450h SUV has to offer in terms of its technology. Not everything is completely intuitive and will require some time to master.
All Lexus vehicles come with a 48-month/50,000 basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48-months with unlimited miles. Hybrid related componentry including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter receive coverage for eight years/100,000 miles. Coverage is also in place for the powertrain, restraint system and for corrosion protection.
In the final analysis, the RX 450h F-Sport is one mighty fine SUV and the F-Sport version is even finer and more sporty.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Lexus RX 450h F-Sport 5-Dr AWD
Base Price: $56,495.
Price as Tested: $61,604.
Engine Type and Size: 3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 with VVT-I and port fuel injection and Front electric drive motors with Lexus Hybrid Drive – Series/parallel system with gas engine and electric motors. Total hybrid system power from gas engine and two motor/generators.
• Motor Generator 1, a permanent magnet, water-cooled motor serves as primary generator and transmission ratio control – max voltage 650V AC
• Motor Generator 2, also a permanent magnet, water- cooled motor with a maximum voltage of 650 V (DC) and maximum output of 165 hp (123 kW) drives the front wheels and provides regenerative braking.
• Battery pack is a sealed Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) unit with 240 cells (6 cells x 40 modules) in a Nickel-plated metal container with a nominal voltage of 288V, which can be boosted to 650 volts with the power circuit with a power output of 37 Kw. Note: AWD models have a permanent magnet Motor Generator Rear that drives the rear wheels and also provides regenerative braking.
Horsepower (bhp): 308 @ 6,000 rpm combined gas & electric. Torque (ft./ lbs.): 247 @ 4,800 rpm combined gas & electric.
Transmission/ Transaxle type: Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT); planetary gear unit for gear
reduction and power splitting, electronic all- or front wheel-drive control system.
Drive Train: Front gas engine with hybrid transaxle and front and rear electric drive motors, electric all-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with coil springs.
Rear – Double wishbone type with coil springs.
Brakes: Electronically Controlled Brake system (ECB2 four-wheel disc with vented fronts) with regenerative control and incorporating 4 channel, 4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake force Distribution, Brake Assist and Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system.
Tires: Michelin Premiere LTX P235/55 R20 102V mounted on 5-“stylized W”-spoke, graphite metallic painted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 109.8 inches
Length Overall: 192.5 inches
Width: 74.6 inches
Height: 67.7 inches – without roof rack.
Turning Circle: 38.0 ft.
Curb Weight: 4,740 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 17.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 31 mpg city / 28 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.34
0 – 60 mph: 7.8 seconds – Top track speed 112 mph
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.