Lexus RX450h

    When Lexus engineers set out to develop the 2010 Lexus RX 450h, energy efficiency was a top priority. A new Eco drive setting modifies throttle response and reduces the air-conditioning system’s load on the engine when the driver hits the gas. The front-wheel-drive hybrid SUV returns up to 28 mpg in the city, but it is also available in all-wheel-drive for those interested in better handling. The RX 450h’s Hybrid Drive system—which pairs a 3.5-liter V-6 internal-combustion engine to an electric motor—produces a total output of 295 hp transferred to the wheels via an ultrasmooth continuously variable transmission. The RX’s exterior features a refashioned front grille and blue-tinted badges, which showcase Lexus’ "L-finesse" design theme. A larger, more luxurious interior offers fresh technological touches like LED headlamps, a reverse camera with wide-view side monitor, XM NavTraffic and weather, a heads-up display, and, most notably, a new remote touch controller (similar in function and feel to a computer mouse) used to operate the navigation system, numerous audio controls, and personalization functions. Pros: The luxury-hybrid SUV that started it all just got a little better. Cons: The computer-style mouse and cursor can be a dangerously distracting at 70 mph.

    Photo by Jim Fets
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