Lexus RX 400h Review

The RX has been at the top of its game since the line was launched back in 1999. Year-by-year Lexus has turned up the heat on convenience, luxury and safety and in 2004 they’ve added the hybrid to the lineup. The RX 400h was the first car in both the luxury and SUV sectors to have a hybrid powertrain.  The 2008 RX 400h we are reviewing today is actually almost unchanged 2004 gasoline-electric Hybrid Synergy Drive. Back in 2008, the hybrid model has priced 4-5K over the price of RX 350 crossover. And most of the reviews stated that it was well worth the extra money. Let’s see why.   

On a side note: the 2020  hybridized Lexus has already landed in a top 5 list of the Luxury Hybrid and Electric SUVs, so, it seem like the RX only gets better with time. 

The Pros

  • Outstanding swift acceleration
  • Ride quality equals the smooth ride of a non-hybrid model
  • Lexus service
  • Top-notch interior materials
  • Cozy well-crafted cabin
  • Impressive fuel economy 

The Cons

  • Poor off-roading  
  • Only two rows of seats
  • Brake pedal feels a tad hard to handle
  • 2008 tech features

Lexus RX 400h Overview

Back in the day, the Lexus RX 400h was happily welcomed by critics and customers alike. First and foremost, it was among the pioneers in the crossover-SUV hybrid world and since the original RX 400h was launched back in 2004 it has since spawned a whole generation of others just like it. This particular RX is actually a perfect example of how a brand can significantly improve fuel efficiency and at the same time offer superb performance without compromising it whatsoever. And, when the only clearly noticeable difference from the non-hybrid 2008 RX 350 is the price tag, you know it’s an exceptionally spectacular vehicle. 

All in all, first and foremost, it’s a hybrid with a very small carbon footprint. Though, we should still remember that we are looking at the Lexus pedigree hybrid, thus, a comfortable, convenient and accommodating in all regards hybrid, pact full with luxury detailing and with outstanding craftsmanship we all grown to expect from this particular brand. We actually would suggest you go online and read customer reviews in 2019 for a 2008-year-old vehicle, the first  three on KBB.com read: “Love it!”, “Amazing” and “Firm, tight handling with awesome luxury touches”. 

There is a single available trim that comes with either AWD or FWD and a lot of outstanding standard as well as additional options. 

Exterior

This one is definitely a classic with Lexus roots: no sharp hard angles or square/triangle-like shapes and edges in site. Even today it looks modern, a very attractive SUV with smooth and sophisticated design complimented by rounded body contours and beautiful accent lines. With a huge windshield and rather big doors in the front and back, it is immediately apparent this SUV has a customer-centric approach to it. Moreover, nowadays the bold and daring Lexus trademark styling has taken the exterior design to a completely new level of “You either hate it or love it”. This is not so for the 2008 RX, it is a genuinely handsome car that can be appreciated by everyone. 

Interior

Though we are looking at a decade interior, it is still impressive. With the luxurious top-quality calming ivory cloth or leather upholstery and superb maple wood and aluminum detailing the cabin look chic, no one even dares to call is old-fashioned. There is nothing you look at or touch that doesn’t exude luxury. Moreover, prepare to be surprised to find a pretty decent technology package for a 2008 model. This sophisticated vehicle offers enough space to comfortably seat five passengers and there are supportive 10-way power seats with a well-designed dashboard.

Performance

The 2008 RX 400h uses a combination of the 3.3-liter gasoline V6 (208 hp) with electric motor-generators. FWD models use two motor-generators with the first one used as a starter and the second one providing motive force. The AWD RX has a third electric motor to drive the rear wheels. The crossover offers great performance with smooth ride, sophisticated automatic transmission all with then-unprecedented ability to perform on battery power alone at low speeds. During light acceleration or when coasting, the Lexus hybrid saves fuel because it can operate solely on battery power. 

Technology

There isn’t a lot, it’s not a 2020 high-tech Lexus, but a) there’s certainly more than enough tech not only to get by, but to comfortably go about your day and b) these days a short visit to a Best Buy will fix all of your savvy-tech wants and needs. Now, you will have all of the staples available to you, like the Cruise Control, Remote Keyless Entry, MP3 Player, Premium Radio, and a CD Player and six-CD in-dash changer. There’s also a good Navigation System with a responsive touchscreen and Voice Recognition System. 

Value

The prices vary depending on the condition and mileage. For example, you can find a 2008 400h in an excellent condition having ran no more than 12 000 miles per year for just about 9 000 USD. Though, you can pay as little as 3 700 if you buy privately and not from a dealership.  

Seats

Lexus 2008 hybrid is a five-seater. The RX 400h offers top-quality cloth upholstery or optional leather seating.  The front seats are 10-way adjustable and in the back, you will find a reclining 40/20/40 split-folding seating with fore-and-aft adjustability. The top luxury package – the Premium one – also has memory presets for the driver’s seat.  

Climate control

The 2008 Lexus RX 400h has dual-zone automatic climate control. 

Infotainment System

Lexus RX400h has a CD player, 6 disc CD changer, radio with a standard navigation system and a touch-screen.

Storage and Space

There an ample amount of storage space for personal items throughout the cabin with the pockets, a sliding center console with two illuminated cup holders, numerous cubbies and a quite large glovebox. There’s 38 cubic feet of available cargo space that can be boosted to 85 with the rear seats folded down. 

Comfort

Overall, it is a Lexus, so it rides well and is amazingly refined and very comfortable. It is a spacious, convenient SUV with plush seating, effective climate control, and just enough techs to feel at ease. 

Seat comfort

All of the seats are cozy, firm and supportive, as they should be in a luxury vehicle. 

Ride comfort

The RX 400h offers a smooth comfortable ride. It is very rare even these days for a ride comfort of a hybrid to match the non-hybrid model, and it is evident with the RX 440 that Lexus has debunked this myth on their very first try. It rides beautifully. 

Quality

The engine is a very quiet one and the cabin is well-insulated, so the interior is all-round perfection when it comes to offering a peaceful quality ride.  

Safety & Reliability

RX safety features are identical across the board, and there are no optional features. All of the crash tests from the NHTSA were 5 out of 5 stars. 

Should I Buy the Lexus RX 400h?

It is not a classic three-row SUV with a huge amount of towing power and off-roading abilities. It is a sophisticated green crossover, that’ll get you a huge tax break if you happen to be a resident of a country that promotes a conscious approach to everyday driving. 

How Much Does it cost? 

The original price: 42 080 – 43 480

Current price: 3700 (private buyer) – 9000 (dealership)