2007 Lexus LF-Xh Hybrid Concept

October 11, 2007


by Ken Zino



There are concepts ahead of their time, and there are concepts appearing after production designs are done. This hybrid SUV looks like a teaser to prepare buyers for a more angular and expressive RX. If Lexus holds to its usual cycle, a replacement RX will appear in a little more than year as a 2009 model. Lexus is saying only that this is a concept SUV that uses the L-finesse design philosophy that appeared when customers thought the original batch of Lexi too bland —successful as they were.


However “bland” the original RX concept was when it appeared at the Chicago Auto Show in 1997, the production RX300 SUV that appeared in 1998 propelled Lexus to record sales and created the crossover SUV formula ultimately adopted by all makers. The RX quickly became the best seller of the line, car or truck, and with more than 100,000 sales a year it still is. The RX firmly established Lexus as the luxury sales leadership in the U.S. for the past seven years. Even with some pricing pressure from all the competitors, the $40,000 RX remains a leader.


It’s no wonder that the concept is almost identical in dimensions to the existing RX400h and RX350 models. The sharply creased LF has even a larger more exaggerated grille, and more pronounced front fenders and wheel wells than currently offered (length 189.0 inches, width 74.6 in., height 65.0 in., wheelbase 112.2 in.). A five-inch stretch in wheelbase out to the corners might indicate that some vestigial third row seat could be added, but it’s not clear from the interior photo. The huge wheels, cameras instead of exterior mirrors, and lack of door handles or a roof rack are typical show-car tricks that rarely survive in production.


Technical details are scarce at this time. The all-wheel-drive vehicle has a V-6 gasoline engine and “

Lexus Hybrid Drive
” just like the existing car. It’s also expected Toyota will continue to use NiCad batteries as it has since the original Prius appeared a decade ago. Toyota has been extremely skeptical about the near term prospects for the use of lithium-ion batteries in hybrids, that General Motors is betting on for its Volt hybrid. No need to change the winning formula?

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