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Lexus RX400 Information & History

The Toyota Harrier is a mid-size crossover SUV manufactured by the Toyota Motor Corporation. In North American markets, it is sold as the Lexus RX series (such as the RX 300 and RX 330). It is based heavily on the Camry platform, which it shares with the Kluger/Highlander. The Harrier was introduced at Japan in 1997 and the RX 300 at the 1998 North American International Auto Show. It quickly became the Lexus's best-selling model. It was one of the first crossover (car-based) SUVs on the market and served as a model for following designs.

The first-generation Harrier (codename SXU10 and MCU10 for the front-wheel drive models, and SXU15 and MCU15 for the four-wheel drive models) made its debut in December 1997. Two engine sizes are available, the 2.2 L 5S-FE inline-4 which produced 139 hp JIS (102 kW) and 191 Nm (140 ftlbf), and the 3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6 which produced 219 hp JIS (161 kW) and 304 Nm (224 ftlbf). Both engines can be specified with either front or four-wheel drive. All models come with automatic gearbox as standard, with the V6 version having the Sportmatic +/- feature. The Harrier was a sales success, and many went to other right-hand drive markets in Asia as grey imports. The Lexus version of the Harrier, the RX 300, made it's debut in America in 1998. The only engine and drivetrain combination available was the 3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6 and four-wheel drive.

The first-generation Harrier continued largely unchanged until November 2000, when the 2.2 L 5S-FE engine was replaced by the 2.4 L 2AZ-FE 4-cylinder engine, producing 159 hp JIS (117 kW) and 221 Nm (163 ftlbf). Again, the new engine is offered with either front-wheel drive or four wheel drive. The change in engine also meant a change in model code, which is now ACU10 for the front-wheel drive version and ACU15 for the four-wheel drive version. A small facelift was also performed on the Harrier. 2000 is also the year where the Lexus RX300 first went on sale in Europe and Asia. The distinguishing feature for those RX300 is a different rear light cluster and larger wheelrims. The front-wheel drive version is not offered in either Europe or Asia.

The second-generation Harrier (codename ACU30 and MCU30 for the front-wheel drive models, and ACU35 and MCU35 for the four-wheel drive models) was launched in February 2003 in Japan. Mechanical specification is largely similar to the first-generation Harrier', with the same engine and drivetrain combinations available (2.4 L and 3.0 L V6 with or without four-wheel drive). The main difference is a new 5-speed automatic gearbox with +/- shift replacing the 4-speed item in the 3.0 L V6, and the availability of "AIRS" air-suspension on the 3.0 L V6 models. A JBL sound-system is an available feature.

The second-generation RX, now called RX330 for the North American and Middle East markets, was introduced at the 2003 North American International Auto Show. The US market cars were initially built in Japan, with production of the RX 330 started at Toyota's Cambridge, Ontario Canada plant in September 2003. The RX 330 is powered by a 3.3 L 3MZ-FE V6, producing 230 hp SAE (171 kW) and 328 Nm (241 ftlbf), and is available in either front or four-wheel drive. "AIRS" air-suspension is again an option on the four-wheel drive models, and interestingly, a Mark Levinson sound-system is available in place of the JBL system found in the Harrier.

For European and Asian markets, the second-generation RX was launched in early 2003, it continues to be a RX300 and is made in Japan. Mechanical specification is more or less identical to the 3.0 L V6 Harrier, with only four-wheel drive version available. Once again, air-suspension and Mark Levinson audio can be specified. The Harrier Hybrid went on sale in Japan on March 2005, and the Hybrid Lexus RX 400h will go on sale during the 2006 model year in America. Europe and Asia will also receive the Hybrid RX during 2006. The RX300 was Motor Trend magazine's Sport/Utility of the Year for 1999. Winner Australia's Best Luxury Four Wheel Drive in 2004 - Lexus RX330.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from articles at Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia

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