Lexus seems to be pumping out more hybrids than any other brand as again we are testing another fuel-stingy hybrid from Toyota’s luxury division. This week we’ll be testing the 2014 Lexus GS 450h 4-Door Sedan that is unique because it’s a full-size sedan that offers impressive performance while delivering the fuel economy of a much smaller vehicle. But the new GS 450h doesn’t come cheap and costs over $10,000 more than a similarly equipped GS 350. Unless gas prices spike significantly higher, it would take decades to recoup the difference. But if you want a luxury sedan that is fuel-efficient and powerful, GS 450h has some very impressive features.
What’s New for 2014?
The 2014 GS 450h gets an upgrade to its continuously variable transmission (CVT) and gets a new Sport mode for driving enthusiasts. The fuel-efficient transmission also gets “optimized” to feel more like an 8-speed automatic instead of a conventional CVT. Siri Eyes Free voice control function has been added along with a full color readout for the optional head-up display, rear cross-traffic alerts for the optional blind-spot monitoring system and power trunk opener is a new option.
Options on this 2014 GS 450h
This tester ($59,600) came loaded with the Blind Spot Monitor ($700), Luxury Package with heated rear seats ($5,695) that included a 17-speaker 835-watt Mark Levinson sound system ($1,380), HDD navigation ($1,735) with 12.3-inch screen; traffic, weather, sports, stocks, head-up display and backup camera. It also came with a one-touch power trunk ($400) and Intuitive Park Assist ($500). The total cost of this luxury hybrid sedan; $70,920 including destination.
The 2014 GS 450h is all about luxury as you would expect from Lexus and is as comfortable as any luxury sedan on the market. The cabin is inviting and stylish and has a premium feel throughout. We were definitely spoiled by the Luxury Package premium seats that offer finer leather and more adjustments to get comfortable. The rear also came with heated seats and plenty of room for a 6’ 4” co-worker that found headroom and legroom sufficient for longer trips. The center armrest is well padded and has optional audio and climate controls built in.
Engine specs and fuel mileage
2014 Lexus GS 450h is powered by a 286 horsepower 3.5-liter gasoline V6 engine and comes mated with two electric motors and a trunk-mounted battery pack to provide a total hybrid system output of 338 horsepower. The hybrid system is self-generating and the batteries are recharged when the vehicles brakes are applied. The real appeal to the GS 450h is the fuel-economy and it achieves an EPA-estimated 29/34 city/highway and an impressive 31 mpg combined. This luxury Lexus shines as one of the most fuel-efficient models in the luxury sedan segment. The GS 450h is rear-wheel drive only.
The GS 450h’s hybrid powertrain develops 338 horsepower and is the quickest and most economical GS. It offers both impressive acceleration and fuel-economy figures. Thanks to the two electric motors and controls, the hybrid is quicker than the standard GS 350 sedan. It’s something we see in many new hybrid models that are becoming the sportier/faster versions in many automakers lineup.
The electronically-controlled CVT automatic transmission is a much improved gearbox and the steering wheel paddle shifters offers driving enthusiasts quicker shifting. Shifts are seamless and well-timed and it worked perfectly even in the steep grades in the mountains west of Denver. The GS 450h is a pleasure to drive on the open road, with capable handling and a refined and quiet ride quality. The only drawback we could find is that the GS 450h only comes in rear-wheel-drive. For those who live in cold weather climates, this could be an issue when the snow flies and the roads get icy.
The Lexus GS 450h offers precisely what you’d expect from a Lexus luxury sedan. It features a welcoming cabin where you and your passengers won’t mind spending lots of time. It provides a level of comfort and sporty performance that is unique in this segment. The GS 450h is a good blend of comfort, sporty feel and efficiency. The luxury sedan’s appeal is its fuel-efficiency, but the price is the shortcoming here. But evaluated solely as a midsize luxury sedan, the GS 450h hits the mark. The interior is one of the nicest you’ll find with its high-quality materials and excellent build quality, and the backseat is roomy enough for adults.
I would rate the GS450h a 4.0 because of the higher price compared to the standard GS. Also only comes in rear-drive.