2013 Lexus RX450h: Luxury Hybrid Crossover offers prestige and fuel economy

Autoreview by Veeno Dewan

The Lexus RX450h has been around for few years now and is still a very impressive vehicle for those looking for a premium label crossover luxury vehicle with hybrid fuel economy. Similar in looks to the Lexus RX 350, the RX450h is distinguished by unique styling features, including an exclusive grille, hybrid badging including blue-trimmed Lexus logos, unique front bumper, special 19-inch wheels, blue-tinted headlamps and tail lamps. For 2013 the changes include optional LED headlamps and the addition of a standard USB port

Features as standard on the RX450h include 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, six-CD/MP3 stereo, USB port, Bluetooth connectivity, XM satellite radio, eight-way power-adjustable perforated leather heated and ventilated seats, 40/20/40 split-folding reclining rear seats, auto up/down windows, privacy glass, Eco indicator, eight-inch LCD display, backup camera, electroluminescent gauges, auto-dimming rearview mirror, compass, illuminated vanity mirrors, wood trim, cargo net, cargo mat, cargo cover, roof rails, front and rear splash guards, power sunroof, auto-dimming heated mirrors with integrated turn signals and puddle lamps, rain-sensing wipers, wiper de-icer, adaptive auto-levelling bi-xenon headlamps with washers, fog lamps, driver and front passenger knee airbags, rear seat side airbags, LED brake lights, first-aid kit, cruise control, garage door opener, and proximity key with pushbutton start.

Our Starlight black Mica tester featured the whoppingly expensive ($14,650!) optional Ultra-premium 2 package which added: the superb 15- speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound audio system with rear subwoofer, 19- inch alloy wheels and tires, six-DVD changer, wallet-size smart card key, Intuitive Parking Assist, voice-activated hard disc drive navigation system with Remote Touch, XM Real Time Traffic, wide-view side monitor system, LED headlamps, power-folding mirrors, premium leather seats, front seat power thigh support, wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel, and illuminated door sill trim. dual-screen rear-seat DVD entertainment system, two sets of wireless headphones, remote control, rear subwoofer, six-DVD changer, dynamic radar cruise control, wallet-size smart card key, Intuitive Parking Assist, 115-volt power outlet and roof rail cross bars,

Interior wise the Lexus is plush and well designed with comfortable seats and plenty of storage and cubbyholes.

Impressive and very intuitive is the Lexus remote touch system used in conjunction with the central display screen to control functions. It is operated with a handy joystick conveniently positioned where one’s right hand would rest on the center console. It is very effective and one of the RX450’s best features.

Entering its second generation, the RX 450h features an enhanced Lexus Hybrid Drive system with a 3.5-liter V6 gas engine that runs on a highly efficient Atkinson cycle. Combined with a new, more efficient inverter, the total system output will be 295 horsepower – 27 more horsepower than the current generation RX hybrid. Two new systems also aid in improving fuel efficiency.
The RX 450h features a front-wheel hybrid drive or an electronically driven, part-time all-wheel-drive (AWD) hybrid drive system as on our tester. Of note is the RX 450h’s rear-mounted electric motor-generator, which allows all four wheels to perform regenerative braking, charging the hybrid battery.

The gas engine and electric motor along with an automatic, Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT) uses an estimated 6.6L/100km in the city and 7.2L/100km on the highway. During daily driving the electric power steering made maneuvering the RX 450h effortless and relaxing behind the wheel. Not much too complain about really, the Lexus RX450h has all the amenities and versatility you could want. Amazing build quality and luxury are included as standard

2012 Lexus RX 450h base price – $59,700. Price as tested with options including destination charges and applicable fees was $73,530.