Lexus RX 450h

Featuring the new bolder, signature Lexus spindle grille and upgraded interior, the new 2013 RX will continue to be the most popular choice in the luxury crossover segment it created over 10 years ago.

The 2013 RX gets a fresh sportier look at the front with a new bumper, complemented with new headlamp design, LED daytime running lights and distinctive fog lamp bezels. The power back door and USB iPod/mp3 control are now standard. Tail lamps and the rear license plate surround get updated looks.

The luxurious and spacious RX receives numerous interior enhancements. The steering wheel has been redesigned for a more comfortable and relaxing grip. A metallic accent enhances the look of the glove box. The center console has been redesigned for versatility and easy accessibility. In addition to ECO mode, the RX 450h features a Sport mode with revised steering effort, throttle mapping and transmission-shifting priorities to fully exploit the capabilities of the powertrain. In Sport mode, the meter light changes to red.

The RX 450h’s Lexus Hybrid Drive features a 3.5-liter V6 Atkinson-cycle engine, electric motors, a small and light power-control unit and other fuel-saving innovations. It offers V8-like performance, 295 total system horsepower and combined fuel economy similar to an average four-cylinder mid-size sedan. The Front Wheel Drive (FWD) model delivers EPA-estimated 32 mpg city and 28 mpg highway (30 mpg combined) fuel economy ratings, while the All-Wheel Drive (AWD) model earned EPA ratings of 30 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, 29 mpg combined.

As a full hybrid, the RX 450h can operate in electric-only or gas-engine-only modes as well as a mode that combines both. Extended electric-mode operation during low-speed or stop-and-go driving conditions helps reduce fuel consumption. Under certain circumstances, a driver-selectable EV mode can allow the vehicle to be driven short distances using only the electric motors. The RX 450h achieves Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) certification in California (Tier 2-Bin 3 in other states).

A compact 288V DC Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack fits neatly under the rear seat. A boost converter efficiently raises voltage to 650V DC, and an inverter converts this to 650V AC for the front-mounted 123-kW electric motor-generator. The boost converter and inverter are enclosed in the power-control unit, which also houses the condenser.

The RX 450h FWD model’s hybrid powertrain employs two motor-generators: MG1, the engine-driven generator, is a starter and can charge the battery pack or power other electric motors as needed; MG2 is the front-drive motor. Power from the gas engine and MG2 is distributed to the drive wheels via a planetary gear-type continuously variable transmission. MG1 controls the output speed of the transaxle through the planetary gear set, without clutches or a viscous coupling. MG2 delivers torque over a wide range for better response and smooth performance. When the RX 450h is coasting or braking, the electric motors function as generators, capturing energy that would normally be lost as heat through the brakes and transforming it into electricity to recharge the batteries.

The RX 450h AWD uses a separate rear electric motor-generator to provide power to the rear wheels when road conditions or throttle response dictates. When accelerating, or starting off on a low-grip surface, torque is quickly provided to all four wheels. At steady speeds, torque is sent only to the front wheels, enhancing fuel efficiency. For handling agility and control, the AWD system increases rear-wheel torque when the vehicle’s front tires start to lose traction and decreases rear-wheel torque when the vehicle’s rear tires start to lose traction. A SNOW mode slows accelerator-pedal response to help reduce the possibility of wheel spin.

Lexus engineers provided the RX with an engaging driving experience, and a quiet and smooth ride. A key factor in the RX models’ handling agility is the uniquely designed double-wishbone rear suspension. Another key benefit of the rear suspension is that the packaging yields greater cargo area room. The front suspension geometry was optimized with a thick stabilizer bar. Inversely wound front coil springs compress in opposite directions, preventing the negative effects of suspension compression on steering.

The standard electric power steering system contributes to agility and better steering feel while eliminating the parasitic losses of a hydraulic steering pump. Eliminating hydraulic oil also provides an environmental benefit and reduces maintenance. When driving conditions require minimal steering input, energy consumption is reduced, improving fuel economy by nearly three percent. Steering assist is automatically adjusted in response to vehicle speed, with greater assist at low speeds and greater feel at higher speeds.

The RX features Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), which uses brake pressure to help prevent the vehicle from moving backward when starting out on an incline. This system does not wait to detect rollback, however. It can be controlled by the driver and works in both forward and reverse. While the vehicle is stopped and the brake pedal is depressed, pushing it further activates the feature. Brake pressure is then maintained for approximately two seconds after the brake pedal is released and the driver switches to the accelerator pedal.

The optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a pre-set following distance from a vehicle traveling directly ahead. The radar sensor can detect certain obstacles in front of the car, and a PCS computer with vehicle speed, steering angle and yaw-rate inputs helps to determine whether a collision is imminent. In such a situation, PCS preemptively retracts front seat belts and pre-initializes BA so that increased braking will be applied the instant the driver depresses the pedal.

Lexus luxury begins with how the customer first interacts with his or her vehicle. All RX models are equipped with the SmartAccess keyless entry with push-button start. As the driver approaches the vehicle, interior and exterior courtesy lamps illuminate. Opening the door, the instrument panel lighting gradually fades in. When the engine is started, the instrument gauge needles and markings illuminate, followed by the multi-information display. After the driver exits the vehicle, the lights fade out at different intervals.

All RX models are equipped with a power tilt and telescopic steering column. To ease entry and exit, the seat automatically slides up to two inches rearward and the steering wheel tilts upward and slides forward when the engine is switched off. Upon pushing the “ON” switch, the seat and steering wheel return to their last position automatically.

The Lexus RX models blend a dynamic version of L-finesse design to create a sleek profile that is accentuated by broad “shoulders” for an athletic yet elegant presence. Bright finish side-window moldings follow a subtly concaved line across the A– and C– pillars, extending at the front and rear ends.

The new distinctive and contemporary front of the RX is highlighted with Lexus’ signature spindle grille. The upper edge of the grille is set lower than the upper edge of the headlamp assembly to establish a more aggressive look. The LED daytime running lights reflect the “L” design motif, as do the combination rear lamps. Fog lamps are integrated into the sculpted lower front bumper fascia.

Pronounced front fenders flow into the doors, and integrated rear fender flares neatly sweep around to pull together the taut rear corners of the vehicle. The lower body emphasizes the standard 18-inch wheels. Passenger doors extend below the entry sill, helping keep out dirt and moisture. A distinctive feature of the door handles is that the surface subtly twists outward from the front to the rear to give a comfortable grip. The side mirrors feature integrated LED turn signal lamps.

Based on Lexus L-finesse philosophy, the dramatically designed interior clearly creates two distinct zones – the “display zone” to provide information, and the “operation zone” for interaction with controls. The shoulder of the door trim comfortably envelops the occupants, the clear line of the trim beginning inside the cabin and tapering outward toward the exterior. The design imbues a feeling of a continuous line encircling the occupants and defining the controls and displays. Neatly sculpted metallic surfaces, especially on the asymmetrical center stack, showcase a bold contrast of shadow and light.

High-intensity LEDs, on the available Heads UP p Display, project high-contrast white figures onto the windshield, which are easier to read – and easier on the eyes. The HUD offers displays for speed, navigation, and audio. A wedge-shaped windshield interlayer for the HUD projection area eliminates the printed grid pattern seen on some other vehicles equipped with HUDs.

Source: Lexus press

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