This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 16, 2005

Lexus Announces Hybrid SUV Pricing and EPA Mileage

The RX 400h hood is packed full with technology, and a silver cover right of center is emblazoned with 'Hybrid Synergy Drive.'

A peek under the hood of the RX 400h.
Credit: Lexus

When the Lexus RX 400h goes on sale on April 15th, it will be touted as the world's first luxury hybrid sports utility vehicle (SUV), but until recently, the question was: How much does a luxury hybrid SUV cost? Lexus answered that question on February 28th with its announcement of a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $48,535—a premium of $11,360 over the base price for the comparable non-hybrid model, the RX 330, which has an MSRP of $37,175 for its four-by-four version. Lexus notes that the RX 400h base price includes a wide array of premium standard features that, if included on the RX 330, would boost its base price by more than $6,000. Doing the math, the hybrid system and its accompanying stability control system contribute about $5,000 to the cost of the RX 400h.

Lexus also announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has certified the fuel economy ratings for the RX 400h. According to Lexus, the RX 400h met its previously estimated mileage in the city—31 miles per gallon (mpg)—while slightly exceeding the Lexus estimates for highway driving, achieving 27 mpg. The combined city/highway mileage of 29 mpg is 1 mpg higher than Lexus had estimated. In comparison, the four-wheel-drive RX 330 achieves an estimated 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, for a combined city/highway mileage of about 21 mpg. See the Lexus press release.

Hybrid-electric vehicles are gaining ground with car buyers, according to "Consumer Reports," the magazine published by the Consumers Union, a nonprofit organization. The magazine's "Annual April Auto Issue" placed the Toyota Prius at the top of its owner satisfaction survey, with the Honda Civic Hybrid also scoring well. The magazine listed the Honda Accord Hybrid as the top pick for family sedans and the Toyota Prius as the top pick for green cars. See the Consumer Reports press releases on the owner satisfaction survey and the top picks.