Toyota recalling the Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX 400h SUVs

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 28, 2011

Toyota Motor Corp. will be recalling 36,700 units of Lexus RX 400h SUVs and 45,500 Highlander Hybrid in the United States due to the inadequate soldering of some transistors. The company will be fixing the problem in 85,000 vehicles of the two models in Guam, Puerto Rico, Canada and the U.S., Toyota’s spokesperson Shiori Hashimoto revealed.

She added that the company will also be recalling 15,000 units of the two models in Europe and 11,164 units in Japan.

The vehicles to be recalled were manufactured between 2005 and 2006, Hashimoto further disclosed. Last year, Toyota formed an international quality committee after record recalls for problems regarding unintended acceleration in its Prius vehicle models.

The company has also built technology centers all over the world in order to speed up recall decisions and to gather information on suspected quality problems. It is currently working on obtaining the replacement parts needed and will be notifying vehicle owners by the middle of July.

Earlier this month, the company announced that it would recall 105,784 early-model Prius cars, 52,000 units of which are in the United States, to repair a defect on the model's gearbox and steering.

The Toyota Harrier is the world's first-ever medium sized crossover sports utility vehicle made by Toyota Motor Corporation.

Introduced in North America as the Lexus RX Series (including the RX 300, the RX 330 and the RX350), the Toyota Harrier patterns its platform from the Camry, making it highly similar to both the Toyota Kluger and the Toyota Highlander.

In 1997, the Harrier made its debut in Japan and a year later, the RX 300 was introduced at the North American International Auto Show. Because of the novelty of being one of the first few crossover SUVs on the market, sales skyrocketed, making it the Lexus's best-selling car. It would also become the basis for designs on subsequent models.

Second generation Harrier

February 2003 saw the launch of the second generation Harrier, which came in both front wheel drive (the MCU30 and ACU30 models) and the four-wheel drive models (code named the MCU35 and ACU35). The first batch was unveiled to the public in Japan. This time around, the Harrier had a sleeker body compared to the earlier RX models. It was still Lexus's entry-level SUV, and it was pitted against the Land Rover Freelander, the Infiniti FX35 and the BMW X3.

Under the hood, there is not much difference from the first-generation Harrier. It had the same drive train and engine, and was available in 2.4 L and 3.0 L V6. What set the second generation Harrier apart was the five-speed automatic transmission that was introduced to replace the four-speed used before that. Additionally, if you get the 3.0 L V6 models, you could get the AIRS air suspension system and you could also opt for a superior JBL sound system.

For the Middle Eastern and North American markets, the second generation RX 330 was introduced in 2003 at the North American International Auto Show. And while most of the cars made for the North American markets were built in Japan, the new RX 330 units were manufactured at the Japanese automaker's Cambridge, Ontario, Canada facility starting in September 2003. The second generation RX 330 is powered by a 3MZ-FE V6 piston engine. The 3.3 L has an output of 223 hp or around 165 kW and around 320 Newtown meter or 238 ft lb of torque. You can choose between front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles. You can opt for the "AIRS" air-suspension, but instead of the JBL sound system, you have a Mark Levinson sound system for these models.

In the Asian and European markets, the second generation RX 300 was introduced in the early months of 2003. These cars are made in Japan and share much of the same mechanical specifications as the 3.0 L V6 Harrier. But for the Europe and Asia crowd, only the four-wheel drive variation was available, and you can opt to have the AIRS air suspension system and the Mark Levinson sound system, as well.

Come March 2005, Toyota introduced the Harrier Hybrid to the Japanese market. Subsequently in 2006 the hybrid Lexus RX 400h was launched in North America, while Asian and European customers got their hands on the Hybrid RX during the same year.

A mid-cycle reboot for the RX was carried out in 2007. The 3MZ-FE engine was replaced with the 2GR-FE engine, now a 3.5 L V6 unit, improving output to at least 268 hp or 200 kW and at least 245 lb ft or 332 Newton-meter of torque from only 223 hp and around 320 Newton-meter torque.

The refresh also came with a new name: the RX 350. It also came with voice controlled destination inputs, an improved DVD navigation system that had better graphics, and "bread crumbs", a new system that allows drivers to trace their route.

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