In the late nineties, Lexus had pioneered this once unique crossover between a luxury sedan and SUV. Dubbed by critics as a "suburban utility vehicle," it was clear the RX was intended as more of an on-road people mover than a true off-road all condition 4x4.
Through its run the RX was available with front wheel drive or full time AWD. Over the course of eight years, the body style (built off the Camry/ES series platform) had changed little, but gas engines had slowly been upgraded from a 3.0 to a 3.5 liter V-6. The arrival of the gas/electric hybrid was the most significant change that the RX had seen.
The new RX 400h featured a 3.3 liter V-6 engine working in tandem with three electric motor generators. This provided a surprising 268 horsepower, which exceeded the latest RX 330 by 38. This was a first in hybrid technology, where both performance and fuel efficiency were improved. The hybrid RX boasts impressive gas mileage figures for an SUV, at 33 in the city and 28 on the highway. Other unique technologies include the regenerative braking system to maximize efficiency with the electric motor, as it saves and converts power while the vehicle is braking.