Lexus RX 450H
This is the big kahuna for Lexus. It is the cash cow. This is the primary vehicle in the trophy wife motor pool. The RX series has been a hit every since it was introduced 3 generations ago, and Lexus is rightfully cautious when it comes to restyling this little beauty.
That’s why it looks so similar to the two incarnations that preceded it. It is a conservative, attractive, beautifully assembled vehicle for folks who need something like the Toyota Highlander, its mechanical sibling, but by golly, want to lord it over the Joneses a bit.
Inside, the same is true. Superb materials in a very conservative layout, and blessedly, no phony baloney attempt at a 3rd row seat in a vehicle that just doesn’t have the room. Unless you are transporting the remaining Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz to and from the old actors home, those miniscule 3rd row seats on many rivals are simply useless.
The built in computer mouse dealy on the armrest, by the way, is brilliant….distracting, but brilliant. Let your passenger work it though while driving, unless you want to test the airbags, too.
Under the hood of the standard model is the 3.5-liter, 275 horsepower V6, but we were in the Hybrid, a category that Toyota continues to dominate. The normal RX 350 becomes the 450H when an electric motor generator is added to the mix, giving it the power of a 4.5-liter engine. Together we’re talking 295 ponies but 28 miles per gallon in town. That is a full 7 miles per gallon better than the gas model, with more power.
The price? For the hybrid, add about $7000 to the $38,000 base price and you’re there.