I'm amused that a cargo net is a $59 extra. Really, Lexus, you can't throw in a $59 cargo net as part of the $45,700 base price?
The Lexus RX crossover has always been the ideal suburban runabout for affluent middle-aged folks who want to sit a bit higher than traffic, have the ability to carry some cargo or maybe a dog, and be able to count on all-weather traction if you choose the optional all-wheel drive-all in a silky-smooth, ultra-refined luxury package and with Lexus reliability to boot. This isn't a recipe for excitement, but it has been a recipe for huge profits at Lexus for many years, as the RX is far and away the brand's top seller. As for the hybrid version, you take all the aforementioned attributes and add to them a veneer of environmental responsibility, and you get the RX450h. At 30 city/28 freeway mpg, it beats the all-wheel-drive RX350 model's 18 city/24 highway EPA rating handily, but then again, its base price is some $5000 higher. The hybrid RX also weighs some 300 pounds more than the RX350 (4652 vs 4343 pounds), and this extra weight is noticeable from behind the wheel.
Driving the RX450h is easy and pleasant enough, though, just like the regular RX350. The powertrain is very smooth and refined, but pedal feedback both from accelerator and brake is nonlinear and feels artificial. I do hope that Lexus fixes that for the next generation.
- Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor