“Lexus Mission: LUV”
A Mission Designed to Support Children’s Potential
By Agents Arv and Lisa Voss
Phoenix, AZ – Lexus, Toyota’s luxury division has long believed in supporting and promoting the premise that today’s children have the potential to make our World a better place, as they are our future.
Lexus has been giving back to communities through its philanthropic efforts for the past 29 years in many geographic locations. As an exercise in continuing that legacy, the Lexus Public Relations and Communications team developed “Mission: LUV”, which involved journalist teams being assigned as “agents” to procure items that would prove to be useful for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix.
Each team of agents was given an assignment packet and futuristic pen with recorded “Mission:LUV” instructions as well as a Rewards Mastercard in the amount of $500. to complete their mission of providing needed items to support the efforts of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix in serving children and families in Phoenix and surrounding communities.
Following a walk around presentation of Lexus’s lineup of Luxury Utility Vehicles, each Agent team was assigned one of the LUVs to drive to specific retail stores along a pre-determined drive route to purchase suggested items on their “shopping list”. Some items were offered as examples, but agents were encouraged to be creative and add similar items or items that were felt to be worthy and useful. The purchased items were slated for use in after school and summer camp programs in the 13 clubs located in the Metro Phoenix area. Any balance left over on the Rewards charge card would be donated directly to the charity.
The LUV vehicles for use in the program included: a 2018 Lexus RX 350L; a 2018 Lexus RX 450hL; a 2018 Lexus 570 two-row; a 2108 Lexus NX 300 and NX 300h; and a Lexus GX 460.
My agent team consisted of my wife and myself, and we were given an assigned drive route, which began, at our base of operations – the Arizona Biltmore and included Michaels and Best Buy retail outlets. Items were purchased and then delivered to charity representatives at the Los Ceros Horse Ranch where lunch was served during an Arabian show horse exhibition.
The items that we purchased included for the “Mission” included a variety of art supplies and an X-Box Star Wars Pro with an extra controller, which actually exceeded our card total and for which we were reimbursed by Lexus.
A young lady who rose up through the developmental ranks of the Boys and Girls Club addressed the group of agents with an informative and emotionally stirring presentation relating her experiences and how she benefited and grew personally through the program’s guidance.
Our assigned vehicle turned out to be a 2018 Lexus RX 450hL Luxury Hybrid with AWD. The base sticker was set at $54,555., with the final price tag coming to $55,550., after adding the Destination and Handling charge. There were no other optional costs as our LUV was completely loaded with every extra feature imaginable.
Luxury Utility Vehicle buyers seeking an eco-advanced family three-row vehicle will find the ideal travel mate in the 2018 Lexus RXhL hybrid. Most notably, the new RX 450hL comes standard with second-row captain’s chairs in addition to leather-trimmed seats, driver seat, side mirror and steering wheel memory, and Lexus Enform Safety Connect and Service Connect complimentary for the first 10 years of vehicle ownership.
The Lexus Hybrid Drive system combines a D4-S injection 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two high-torque electric drive motor-generators, producing a total of 308 combined system horsepower.
Lexus’ hybrid innovation history dates back to the launch of the world’s first luxury hybrid in 2005 – the RX 400h. The new RX 450hL features a Drive Mode Select system that has an EV mode enabling the vehicle to drive under electric power at lower speeds for short distances.
Lexus extended the body length of the new RXhL model 4.3 inches at the rear and used a steeper tailgate window angle than on the two-row models ensuring more headroom for third-row passengers. Access to the third row is made easy with the touch of a lever that slides and folds the second-row seats forward.
The third row was designed to offer the same comfort and luxury as in the middle row. The positioning of the second row is slightly higher than the third row, creating more foot room for rear passengers. A tri-zone climate control system gives third-row passengers separate heating and air conditioning vents, and for convenience, a power-folding third-row seat and power tailgate are both standard.
The standard Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent High Beams and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Braking are also available. Panoramic View Monitor is an optional feature.
An available Luxury package offers comfort for Lexus drivers and passengers adding semi-aniline trimmed seats, interior LED ambient illumination, manual rear door sunshades, laser-cut Gray Sapele wood trim with aluminum, 20-inch alloy wheels with machined finish and selectable color inserts, heated wood steering wheel and more.
The AWD system is unique – Instead of transfer gears and a driveshaft to the rear wheels as used on the RX 350 AWD models, an independent rear-mounted electric motor drives the rear wheels when needed to help maintain
optimal traction. In the RX 450hL, the Drive Mode Select system adds a fourth mode, EV that enables the vehicle to drive under electric power at lower speeds for short distances.
Front strut and rear double-wishbone type suspension systems ensure agility and exemplary ride compliance over virtually all types of surfaces. Electric Power Steering (EPS) yields a light and comfortable steering feel with excellent feedback.
The cabin is designed with high-end detailing, including form-fitting seats, and available richly finished wood trim (Premium and Luxury Packages) that curves gently up from the center console toward the glove box. An available full-color Heads-Up Display (HUD) incorporated into the design of the instrument panel projects key information on the windshield to help the driver focus on the road.
From powerful audio systems to state-of-the-art displays, the multimedia choices available for the 2018 Lexus RX L models serve most all needs. The standard Display Audio system includes an eight-inch screen, HD Radio™, Scout GPS Link, Bluetooth® audio, voice recognition, an AUX mini jack, two USB ports and nine speakers. Frequently used switches are placed close at hand for convenient operation. Middle-row USB ports enable passengers to use and charge their own multimedia devices.
The Navigation Package upgrades to a 12-speaker premium audio system. Also included, the 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display offers a full-screen navigation map or can provide simultaneous access to audio or
climate controls and various systems; as well as the mouse-like Remote Touch Interface.
The 2018 RX 450hL models offer audiophile-quality mobile sound with the available 835-watt, 15-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround System in conjunction with the navigation system. Advanced Clari-Fi™ compressed music
restoration technology instills new life into digital music files.
The new three-row RX L models join the two-row, five-seat RX versions that continue for 2018. All RX models now offer Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect complimentary for the first 10 years of vehicle ownership.
SUMMARY: The 2018 Lexus RX 450hL Luxury AWD stands out as a first class mode of family transportation. It is highly appealing with its contemporary and futuristic styling.
In the acceleration department, the RX450hL delivers a satisfying response to “lead-footing” – it’s not a dragster mind you, but that’s not its mission statement.
Handling characteristics are athletic with a “spot-on” steering feel.
The ride quality delivered is luxuriously comfortable and the cabin’s ambience is truly opulent.
In the final analysis, our LUV machine proved to be ideal in accomplishing our mission of delivering needed materials to the 13 Boys and Girls Clubs of the Metro Phoenix area. The overall experience was rewarding, both on terms of the vehicle and the Mission.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Lexus RX 450hL Luxury AWD
Base Price: $54,555.
Price as Tested: $55,550.
Hybrid Power System: Series/Parallel system with gas engine and electric motors. Total System Power 308 horsepower.
Engine Type and Size: 3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-vave V6 with VVT-iW and port fuel injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 259 @ 6,000 rpm (not including hybrid drive)
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 247 @ 4,600 rpm (not including hybrid drive)
Motor Generator 1: Permanent Magnet synchronous motor operates Generator, engine starter, transmission and ratio control – max voltage AC 650V
Motor Generator 2: Permanent Magnet synchronous motor drives front wheels, regenerative braking – max voltage AC 650V – 165 hp
Motor Generator Rear: Permanent Magnet synchronous motor drives rear wheels, regenerative braking – – max voltage AC 650V – 67 hp
Transmission: Electronically controlled CVT, planetary unit for gear reduction.
Hybrid Battery Pack: Sealed Nickel Metal Hydride – 288V nominal voltage / 37 kW power output.
Drive Train: Front gas engine with hybrid transaxle and front and rear electric drive motors, electric all-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson Strut, coil springs
Rear – Double wishbone, coil springs
Brakes: Power-assisted four wheel vented discs with 4-sensor, 4-channel ABS with \ EBD, BA, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and Hill-start Assist Control. Smart Stop Technology automatically reduces engine power when there is simultaneous application of the brake pedal and accelerator pedal under certain conditions.
Tires: Goodyear Eagle RSA 235/55 R20 mounted on 5-sculpted –spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 109.8 inches
Length Overall: 196.9 inches
Width: 74.6 inches
Height: 67.7 inches
Curb Weight: 4,905 lbs.
Turning Circle: 22.6 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 17.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: Not currently available
Drag Coefficient: 0.33
0 – 60 mph: 8.1 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.