We've occasionally posted about the coming wave of "upscale" hybrids -- more expensive, more luxurious, less efficient than the Prius or Civic Hybrid -- and it looks like vehicles are finally reaching the showroom.
MSNBC has a review of the Lexus RX 400h, a hybrid SUV using the Toyota "Synergy Drive" (also found in the Prius). The 29 miles per gallon combined mileage isn't going to get a second glance from Prius or HCH owners, but is still 38% higher than the 21 mpg achieved by the non-hybrid RX 330. Remember the counter-intuitive math of fuel consumption: a driver choosing the 400h over the 330 will save around 1.3 gallons of gasoline every 100 miles, roughly the same savings seen by a driver choosing a 48 mpg Civic Hybrid over a 28 mpg non-hybrid Accord. Lexus 400h drivers may be overly-conscious of not wanting to look like they've made any sacrifices, but they're actually doing a better job of reducing emissions and gasoline dependence than they may realize.