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Superhero Utility Vehicle

Originally published in Alive Magazine

For the mild-mannered environmentalist, Lexus’s new RX 400h (priced around $43K) midsize luxury sedan merges both sophisticated driving performance and SUV sensibilities with an eco-friendly attitude.

Fashioned on the same chassis as the Toyota Camry and the Lexus ES 350 sedans, the RX 400h is a gasoline-electric hybrid with a 3.3-liter V6 gasoline engine combined with an electric drive motor and is available in either front- or all-wheel drive configurations. The electric drive motor turns on during start up, low speeds and in reverse using energy from teh battery, and it not only conserves fuel, but also delivers maximum torque at lower RPMs for impressive acceleration, zipping from 0-60 in roughly eight seconds. Standard fuel economy comes in at approximately 26 city/24 highway miles per gallon, out performing many V8-equipped competitors in its class. The RX 400h also has an interesting feature called regenerative braking, which takes the excess heat caused when using the brakes and turns it into electrical power, which in turn charged the battery. Additional selling points include a super-roomy interior, 40/20/40-split rear seats and rain-sensing wipers – it even has a cool energy monitor that shows you how the power is being distributed throughout the car as you accelerate and brake. If you’re concerned with doing your part to help the earth, consider this a more stylish mode of transport than the red cape laced around your neck.

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