2008 Lexus RX 400h SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Lexus RX 400h SUV

We didn't find any results. You can try changing your zip code, or check another model year.

We found matches for you!

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
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.

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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Great vehicle, fantastic mileage

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

I bought this used about a month ago with only about 60 K km. (less than 40K miles) on it. After much research I decided to use only REGULAR gas in it since it seems that Premium is more about performance than fuel economy. I'll probably throw in an additive every three months or so. Having driven it about 2500 km. (about 1500 miles), I'm averaging 8.6L / 100km. which is just over 27mpg. And that's on REGULAR Gas. My 2010 2.4L 4 cyl. Hyundai Santa Fe could not even begin to to approach these numbers. Couldn't be happier because I got a great deal on a car that was just inspected by Lexus and had all the brakes done by Lexus, and is practically new. My best vehicle ever!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

Excellent vehicle

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

I bought this vehicle with 64K miles on it. Now I have 70K. My worse tank was 24mpg and the best was 29.25mpg. I seem to average between 25 and 27.50 with mixed driving. When I get the higher mileage it's usually when most of the driving is at lower speeds as you would expect. I noticed a review of this vehicle by someone stating poor mileage. There was either something wrong with the vehicle or it was due to poor driving habits. Way too many people blast up to the light and hit the brakes. Then they hit the gas hard taking off. Dumb-de-dumb. If you use softer driving habbits you will get 26-29. You have to be thinking hybrid. Smart drivers will see the good mileage.

18 of 78 people found this review helpful

Reliable but the buy a

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

I bought this used and the hybrid system was not explained to me at the dealership. I had to go to another dealership which took the time to explain the hybrid system to me. (I stayed a customer at that dealership) The starter battery dies in cold weather on a regular basis and also will die if the vehicle has not been driven for a week or so. Do yourself a favor and purchase a chargeable self-battery jumper, which will save you a lot of time waiting for AAA. I bought the hybrid to get better fuel economy. I haven't seen the fuel economy of the Rx400h go above 26. The features and gadgets are simple and easy to use, and the seats are super comfortable.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Wonderful car

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

My RX 400h has been the very best, most reliable vehicle I have owned; buying my first car in 1967. Gas mileage has been super, averaging 28.5 MPG since day one. it is solid, very comfortable, has lots of power and a joy to drive. I recommend this car to anyone who wants a quality, energy efficient hybrid!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

New to us

by on
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 5 people found this review helpful

Poor gas mileage

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

This is a very nice car, but I challenge anyone out there to prove they are getting better than 22-24 mpg. Better, I challenge Lexus to prove it. My fiend with a V8 truck gets better mpg. Shame on you Lexus, shame on me for buying.

Talk About The 2008 RX 400h

2008 Lexus RX 400h Discussions See all Started By

Anyhow, as for the hybrid badging, yes I believe the blue '600h' tag is standard. This is because past RX 400h hybrid owners complained that their badging was not distinctive enough to indicate the h...

I'm specifically interested in the 2008 RX 400h, but the dealers I have spoken to in the past couple of days have told me the lease terms from LFS are not very good. MF of .002 and Residual of 53%. ...

(I also posted under Lexus RX 330 / RX 350 / RX 400h: Lease Questions Forum)...

Gas Mileage


  • 27
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat online with us
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Call us at 855-782-4711
Text us at ED411