2008 Lexus RX 400h SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Lexus RX 400h SUV

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Lexus RX 400h Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.3 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 268 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 27/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Lexus RX 400h

  • Though expensive, the 2008 Lexus RX 400h delivers impressive fuel economy and utility plus all the power, amenities and flawless build quality consumers have come to expect from Lexus.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Efficient hybrid technology, quick acceleration, smooth ride, luxurious interior.

  • Cons

    Pricey, brake pedal feel difficult to judge, no third-row seat.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Lexus RX 400h luxury SUV features minor interior and exterior trim revisions.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (5 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

New to us

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Vehicle: 2008 Lexus RX 400h 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

We purchased a 2008 pre-owned certified 400H with 18,100 miles on it. It is pristine. Have driven it a week now and am getting 28.2 MPG around town and on the highway combined. Have had no problems. It is fun to drive and is very comfortable. I see some reviews stating poor mileage. Not here. If you want to drive it like a regular car, quick acceleration, high speeds, you will get the performance of a regular car. I had to learn to drive the hybrid properly and it is great. It has plenty of power, amazing actually. The only down side so far is the audio on AM stations. FM is excellent. AM sounds "tinny" though. So far, e love the car.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great investment

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Vehicle: 2008 Lexus RX 400h 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Having owned my RX400H now for over a year, I can say that is a fantastic vehicle to own and drive. I drive over 1000 miles a month and average 24-28 miles per gallon. If you don't get this type of mileage, you are not driving it the proper way. It took me over a month to get used to the subtle changes you need to make to maximize your fuel economy. It is so quiet for an SUV and very comfortable. Whether I am alone, with my grandchildren, or my parents, everyone raves about the comfort of the ride.

Great vehicle

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Vehicle: 2008 Lexus RX 400h 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

This vehicle is one of the best vehicles I have ever owned. Perfect size for active sports oriented people who need an SUV but drive alone with occasional passengers. Gas savings is a plus but the real perk is the V8 power with 4 cylinder mileage. Lots of personal storage space and excellent ergonomics. Nav and stereo system are great. This car will retrain you on how to drive properly. I came from a BMW 550 sedan and GX 470 and didn't realize how wasteful I was on the pedal. Highly recommend this vehicle. Great for long distance travel with small family. Best commuter car I have owned. Engine stops from 0-30 mph so no wasting gas but AC keeps running cold as ice.

Lexus rx 400h 2008

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Vehicle: 2008 Lexus RX 400h 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

On the road it is a master. Complete grip on the road. Very quiet except for small tire noise. Variable transmission system does not gives a smooth takeoff from stop.

Good hybrid suv

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Lexus RX 400h 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I love mine so far. Got before Thanksgiving and drove through the mountains. My husband was heavy on the gas pedal the whole time and still averaged just under 26mpg which is great since most cars and SUVS get 15-20mpg. On my daily business driving, I average 27-28 mpg and have gotten as high as 30 mpg. I'm careful to not be heavy on the pedal or breaks and coast as much as I can. This doesn't mean I have to stay at the speed limit, you can still average 70 mph.

Full 2008 Lexus RX 400h Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Lexus RX 400h luxury SUV features minor interior and exterior trim revisions.


When it debuted two years ago, the Lexus RX 400h marked the beginning of a new paradigm by introducing more efficient hybrid technology to the popular but highly consumptive luxury SUV segment. While more affordable hybrid utilities from Toyota and Ford have been around for several years and other larger upscale SUVs from Chrysler and GM are now joining the hybrid parade, the 2008 Lexus RX 400h remains the lone "green" entry in the midsize luxury utility class.

Using full-hybrid technology, the RX 400h's gasoline/electric powertrain can operate in gas-engine-only, electric-only or combination modes depending on conditions. The system combines a V6 engine with an electric motor-generator to drive the front wheels and stores its energy in a nickel metal hydride battery pack that fits inconspicuously under the vehicle's rear seat. (All-wheel-drive models feature an additional electric motor to drive the rear wheels.) These components work together seamlessly to generate up to 268 horsepower and 0-60-mph sprints in fewer than 8 seconds. During light acceleration or when coasting, the 400h saves fuel by running solely on battery power. It all adds up to acceleration similar to that of some V8-powered rivals while achieving the best fuel economy in the midsize luxury SUV class.

Of course, none of this comes cheap. A typically equipped 400h will cost close to $50,000, about $4,000 more than a similar RX 350. Even with gas above $3 a gallon, it will take many miles and years of driving to recoup the cost. And from a pure "save the planet" standpoint, buying a Prius still makes much more sense. That said, this is still one very likable vehicle. Quick, fuel efficient and luxurious, the RX 400h comes with a set of attributes that just about any luxury SUV buyer will find appealing.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Lexus RX 400h is a midsize luxury SUV available in front- or all-wheel-drive versions. It comes in one trim level with standard and optional equipment levels much like the RX 350. Standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, a power rear liftgate, 10-way power front seats, cloth upholstery, sliding and reclining second-row seats, dual-zone climate control, multifunction steering wheel controls, heated outside mirrors and eight-speaker premium audio with an in-dash six-CD changer.

Many popular optional features are available separately or in packaged groups, such as the Premium Package which includes leather trim, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver seat memory settings and a sunroof. A Premium Plus Package offers these items plus adaptive xenon headlights. Other RX 400h options include 18-inch wheels, a fantastic 11-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, a navigation system with back-up camera, a rear-seat entertainment system, satellite radio and specialized interior wood trim.

Powertrains and Performance

The Lexus RX 400h hybrid combines a 3.3-liter gasoline V6 engine with electric motor-generators to power vehicle systems and the driving wheels. Front-wheel-drive models use two motor-generators -- one acting as a starter and the other providing motive force -- while the all-wheel-drive version adds a third electric motor to drive the rear wheels. Producing up to 268 horsepower and working through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT), Lexus claims the front-drive RX 400h can go from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and an even quicker 7.3 seconds for all-wheel-drive models. Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds when properly equipped, same as the RX 350.

EPA-estimated fuel economy is superior to that achieved by gas-only V6 or V8 competitors. Rated at 27 mpg city and 24 mpg highway, the front-drive RX 400h is also as efficient (or more so) than many smaller four-cylinder sport utilities.


Standard RX 400h safety equipment includes front seat-mounted side airbags, a driver knee airbag and rollover-sensing front and rear head curtain side airbags. Antilock brakes, stability control and traction control are also included. Adaptive cruise control is available as an option, as is a rear back-up camera that's included with the optional navigation system. In government crash tests, the 2008 Lexus RX 400h scored a perfect five stars in frontal- and side-impact testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Lexus RX 400h is as sleek inside as it is outside, seating five in a streamlined and high-tech interior that boasts aluminum or wood trim, bright-ringed gauges and a high-resolution touchscreen that displays the hybrid powertrain's gas-electric power distribution. The 40/20/40-split rear seat folds, slides and reclines to optimize passenger comfort and cargo-carrying versatility. A standard power liftgate opens up to reveal more than 38 cubic feet of luggage space and approximately 85 cubic feet of maximum cargo room with the rear seats folded, both competitive numbers for its class. A third-row seat, a feature often found in this vehicle segment, isn't available.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Lexus RX 400h drives a lot like its gas-powered RX 350 sibling, delivering both a smooth ride and reasonably tight handling despite its extra weight (which is noticeable when changing directions at higher speeds). That smooth ride comes thanks to soft suspension tuning, which makes the RX feel a little too spongy for those who appreciate a more spirited driving experience. However, the electric motor at least offers peppy acceleration and quiet operation under normal driving conditions -- the 400h is capable of approaching 30 mph in electric mode alone, which is of great fuel-saving benefit in stop-and-go traffic. Under maximum acceleration, though, a substantial amount of engine noise is apparent as the hybrid system forces the relatively small V6 to work harder and rev all the way up to redline. One other downside is that many drivers find the RX 400h's brakes grabby and difficult to modulate.

Talk About The 2008 RX 400h

Gas Mileage


  • 27
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs