2006 Lexus RX 400h: I Want (and Get) My MPG
May 31, 2007
My commute is ridiculous. It takes me between 45 to 50 minutes to travel eight miles. I could ride a bicycle home faster -- that's if there was anything resembling a safe bike lane. But my stop-and-go drive home with speeds that top out at 30 mph perhaps once, is a great laboratory for testing our hybrid Lexus RX 400h's maximum gas mileage.
With continuous conscious effort and a keen eye on the energy monitor, I did my darndest to eliminate the gas engine from the hybrid equation. I accelerated slowly, keeping in mind when the gas engine usually started, and looked far ahead so I could coast gradually to a stop rather than staying on the accelerator and braking later. This latter step is also key for regenerating the battery.
On the six-mile highway portion of my journey, I averaged 33.2 mpg. After the two-mile, higher speed portion through city streets, the final tally was 30.3 mpg. That's better than the revised 2008 EPA city mileage for the 4WD RX 400h. So what's the significance of all this? I would say that the hybrid RX is best suited to folks who want a high-mpg luxury car to tackle a craptacular stop-and-go commute like mine -- who aren't too concerned with price. In my opinion, though, the top-of-the-line Prius is also luxurious, has basically the same lengthy features list as the RX, is vastly cheaper and gets even better fuel economy. I bet driving the same way, I could get our Prius at least into the 50 mpg range. Mind you, the Prius won't go from 0 to 60 in 7.3 seconds when you need it to.
James Riswick, Associate Editor @ 24,800 miles