When I thought about Lexus cars, for some reason I always linked them to older men. You probably noticed that I wrote the previous sentence in past tense, and I’m about to tell you why. It’s all because of the Lexus RX450h.
We were given a one-week loan to facilitate this honest, personal review.
California Road Trip in the Lexus RX450h
Last week we had the joyful experience of driving a Lexus RX450h from the San Francisco Bay Area to Disneyland in Southern California. The ‘h’ at the end of 450h means that it’s a hybrid car – part gasoline, part electric. That’s where it gets interesting.
When I think of a hybrid, I think about driving in the city or in traffic. Would a hybrid bring any benefits when driving six hours on the freeway? Actually, it did. Apparently the electric engine sometimes aids the gasoline engine, even when driving at higher speeds (Continuously Variable Transmission with intelligence, or ECVT-i). By the time we arrived near Los Angeles, the average miles per gallon was almost 29 – that’s how much my compact car uses!
“Okay, sure, 29 miles per gallon (MPG). I have seen that before,” you may say. But we’re talking about a full-on SUV, with all the luxury you can imagine! Plus, we hit temperatures in the mid-90s, so the air-conditioning was blasting all the way from the beginning until the end of our trip. All those kilowatts of electricity do use extra energy. I was pleasantly surprised. It even didn’t matter to me anymore that the car needed to sip the premium kind of gasoline.
6-Hour Test Drive Findings
The car was very comfortable, which is really helpful on such a long trip. My daughter and her friend loved the built-in video monitors in the back of our seats. “It’s like in an airplane,” they said. “But better!” This meant no neck pain for them and no big screen blocking my rear view mirror.
That kept them busy for most of the ride. Unfortunately, it kept my wife busy as well.
Despite being very tech savvy, it was such a pain trying to the DVD to actually play the movie. Later we found the cordless headphones and remote in a hidden part of the middle console. We just gave up after several failed attempts at trying to figure that out. The entertainment system is something that really needs improvement.
I was also surprised about the lack of digital information in the instrument cluster. Sure, it’s nice to know what the tire pressure is and how many miles there are left in that tank of gas. But why doesn’t it show me to go left or right at the next intersection? Maybe it’s just a matter of an update because other cars of the same brand we have test have it. At least I hope that’s the case.
Everything else that you’d expect from luxury car is in this SUV. The engine is extremely quiet, it had real bamboo interior trim, lots of extras, plenty of power outlets, and there was even a feature called Destination Assist, where a live operator finds your desired destination and uploads the directions right to your car.
Plus, it’s spacious. The girls in the back had plenty of room. The same goes for the cargo area for luggage: two very large suit cases, another slightly smaller one, two backpacks, several bags, and other stuff families usually take on a road trip fit fine.
An ‘Old Man’ Car?
So, do I still think this car is for older men? No way! The Lexus RX450h was so much fun to drive that I refused to let anyone else drive it. Which is also why my wife insisted on me writing this review since she only got to drive it around the block.
For more reviews & car-related tips, visit my automotive site for women & families, DrivingMamas.com.