Safety » 9
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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
Five stars, front impact protection and side impact protection; not tested, rollover protection
Good," frontal offset impact; "poor," rear impact; not tested, side impact
The bulky rear-roof pillars and narrowish tailgate window impede vision astern
With a full complement of safety features, the 2008 Lexus RX 400h leaves little to be desired by way of occupant protection.
According to TheCarConnection.com's research, the Lexus 2008 RX 400h gets top honors for those crash tests that it was subjected to by the government. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives it five stars for front and side impact protection; the RX 400h was not tested for rollover resistance, however. Similarly, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2008 Lexus its best rating of "good" for frontal offset impact, but did not test the vehicle for side impact protection; Lexus RXs in general scored a "poor" rating on rear impact crash protection. It should be noted that the IIHS did not test the hybrid model but rather a gasoline-powered 2004 Lexus RX 330.
Car and Driver, in its review of the Lexus 2008 RX models, notes, "RX safety features are identical across the board, and there are no optional features." Those features on the Lexus RX 400h, according to Car and Driver, include: ABS and stability control, two-stage front airbags with crash severity and passenger weight sensors, front-seat-mounted side airbags, a driver's knee airbag, curtain airbags (for both rows) with rollover sensors, automatic seatbelt locking retractors, and collision-activated fuel cutoff.
In contrast, Cars.com claims an optional feature with safety benefits on Lexus's 2008 RX is the "Adaptive Front-lighting System...[that] can swivel in accord with the front wheels to better [illuminate] curves in the road." They note it is available as a stand-alone option on the 2008 Lexus RX 400h. Kelley Blue Book writes, "Topping the safety equipment is a Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system that links the traction and stability control and ABS with [the airbags]."
Visibility is good to the front and not so good to the rear on the Lexus RX 400h. The Detroit News writes, "the higher driving position allowed me to look over cars in front...without feeling as if I was in a big SUV." Kelley Blue Book thinks the 2008 Lexus RX 400h's "smartly raked windshield and large glass area help improve driver sightlines." The Lexus 2008 RX's thick rear pillars leave large blind spots in the rearward view, feels ConsumerGuide, which writes that the "bulky rear-roof pillars and narrowish tailgate window impede vision astern."
The 2008 Lexus RX 400h's standard safety equipment helps it earn the highest ratings in government crash tests.