Mike Stevens | Jun 15, 2009

LEXUS AUSTRALIA has today announced the Australian release of the petrol-electric hybrid 2009 Lexus RX 450h, the world's most efficient luxury hybrid SUV (first previewed in 2007 at the Tokyo Motor Show as the LF-Xh).

Arriving in showrooms on July 13, the Lexus RX 450h will offer fuel economy and emissions figures not far off those achieved by small four-cylinder hatchbacks, with a fuel consumption of 6.4 l/100km, and CO2 emissions of 150g/km.

The RX 450h achieves its low consumption and emissions figures thanks to the Lexus Hybrid Drive system, which works in unison with an Atkinson Cycle V6 engine, delivering 220kW from the combined petrol-electric system.

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Lexus Chief Executive, John Roca, said the RX 450h signalled the most significant advance in Lexus' hybrid technology since the launch of the marque's first hybrid.

"RX 450h really solidifies the importance and relevance of hybrid technology for global motorists - it is the world's most efficient luxury SUV," Roca said.

"With RX 450h we have diesel competitors firmly in our sights, and with Lexus' unique blend of power, efficiency, practicality and pricing, we are certain that RX will remain our top selling model," said Mr Roca.

In addition to its economy and emissions figures, the RX 450h features 10 air bags for improved protection in a collision, along with the Lexus Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management stability system.

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In what can only be good news for buyers, the Lexus RX 450h is exempt from the Federal Government's Luxury Car Tax (LCT), thanks to its official fuel consumption figures coming in at 0.6 l/100km lower than the LCT's 7.0 l/100km cut-off.

"It makes complete sense that RX qualifies for an LCT exemption, as its C02 figures alone are something that even diesel powered vehicles cannot achieve using the same amount of fuel," Roca said.

Thanks to the exemption, the Lexus RX 450h Prestige will enter the market with an RRP of $89,900 (this figure includes GST, but excludes dealer delivery and charges, as will other prices listed in this article) - around $4000 less than if the Luxury Car Tax were applied.

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The Sports model will start at $96,900, while the range-topping Sports Luxury will enter at $107,900.

Lexus Australia Chief Executive John Roca said that the pricing structure reflects the popularity of hybrid technology.

"We expect strong demand for RX 450h as consumers look for the most suitable mix of practicality and efficiency, without the sacrificing the comforts they expect from a luxury vehicle.

"The Prestige and Sports models will represent the bulk of sales," Roca said.

"RX 450h's pricing and fuel figures demonstrate Lexus' commitment to ensuring hybrid technology remains at the forefront of vehicle efficiency and accessibility."

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