For 2006, the Lexus RX Series receives a new stable mate, the RX 400h gas/electric hybrid. The Hybrid features a revised grille, a new front fascia with additional air intake, round fog lamps, unique 18-inch alloy wheels, and LED tail lamps. Inside, brushed aluminum accents replace wood trim, and a power meter replaces the tachometer. The RX 400h features specific suspension tuning for sportier handling. The RX 330 also receives a few enhancements for 2006, including: additional 2-way power lumbar adjustment for the power front-passenger seat, giving it the same 10-way control as the power driver's seat; a new LED glove box lamp; and a new coin holder located in the center console.
The Lexus RX Series is comprised of two trim levels, the RX 330 and the RX 400h hybrid. Both are available in front- or all-wheel-drive configurations. The RX 330 is powered by a throttle-by-wire 3.3L V-6 engine that produces 223 hp and 238 lb.-ft. of torque. An electronically-controlled five-speed automatic transmission with Snow mode is standard fare. The RX 400h receives its motivation from a similar 3.3L V-6 producing 208 hp, but in this case it's coupeed to a 167-hp permanent magnet motor and continuously variable transmission (CVT) driving the front wheels. All-wheel-drive hybrids feature an additional 68-hp electric motor that drives the rear wheels.
The optional air suspension system on the RX 330 provides automatic leveling with four height settings that allow the driver to tailor ride height to specific driving conditions. Normal mode automatically lowers the RX 330 by 0.3 inches at speeds over 62 mph for better stability. Low mode lowers the ride height by 0.6 inches to enhance handling response. The High setting raises ground clearance by 1.2 inches for driving over rough surfaces at speeds under 30 mph. In addition to these configurations, an Access mode lowers the RX 330 by 1.2 inches to provide easier entry, exit, and loading. All RX 330 models come with Vehicle Stability Control and anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist. The RX 400h receives Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management, a system that seamlessly controls the anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, Brake Assist, traction control, stability control, and the regenerative braking and electric power steering.
Safety features for the RX include front airbags, a knee airbag for the driver, and front-seat- mounted side airbags, plus side curtain airbags for front and rear occupants. Rain-sensing windshield wipers and HID headlights are also standard. Notable options for the 330 include a Leather Package, a Performance Package, a multi-panel moonroof, and a navigation system with a Mark Levinson sound system. Options for the RX 400h include a Mark Levinson audio system, a DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system, rain-sensing wipers, and adjustable seat heaters.
The Lexus RX Series quickly became popular upon its introduction in 1989. Today, the RX is still popular, as it has managed to stay ahead of the 13 competitors in the Midsize Premium Crossover Utility Vehicle segment.
In calendar year 2005, the RX led the segment with 108,775 sales, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.SM Next is the Acura MDX, with 57,948 units sold in 2005. Others in the segment with sales over 20,000 (in 2005) include the BMW X5 (37,598), Volvo XC90 (35,976), Mercedes-Benz M-Class (34,959), Infiniti FX-Series (26,786), and Cadillac SRX (22,999).