Lexus' new RX 450h will get an estimated 30 MPG combined city/highway in FWD guise

Toyota is wasting no time in quickly expanding the hybrid models available for its upmarket Lexus brand. Lexus introduced the HS 250h compact hybrid at the Detroit Auto Show in January. The HS 250h is based on the Prius platform, but is offered in a more "America friendly" sedan configuration.

The HS 250h, however, isn't the only new hybrid on the way from Lexus. The company announced pricing for its upcoming RX 450h hybrid CUV (crossover utility vehicle). The 2010 RX 450h will start at $41,660 for the front-wheel drive version and $43,250 for the all-wheel drive version. Both models are powered by the same 3.5-liter V6 engine which uses the Atkinson-cycle for increased efficiency. When the V6 is combined with the electric motors, total system power is rated at 295 HP.

The FWD RX 450h achieves fuel economy ratings of 32 MPG city, 28 MPG highway (30 MPG combined) while the AWD RX 450h is rated slightly lower at 30 MPG city, 28 MPG highway (29 MPG combined). Lexus also state that both models qualify for Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) certification.

The RX 450h will join the aforementioned HS 250h as well as the GS 450h and LS 600h L in the Lexus hybrid family.

It should be interesting to see how far Lexus is willing to go with hybrid technology in its sedans and crossovers. Two likely candidates in the future for hybrid technology include the IS and ES sedans. The case could likely be made for the ES as its Camry counterpart is already available in hybrid form (albeit it’s paired with a four-cylinder engine). The IS may be a tougher sell due to its already compact dimensions inside and out and RWD configuration.

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