Toyota Motor Company and Lexus, have been ranked as the most environmentally friendly car company, mainly because of Toyota’s leading position in the development and production of hybrid gas-electric vehicles. And luxury division Lexus features upscale hybrids that give buyers willing to spend a bit more green, to be green, can have economy, upscale features and performance.
This week we are testing the 2015 Lexus RX 450h Hybrid AWD ($48,845) that comes with the comfort package ($825) that features heated and ventilated seats, rain-sensing wipers, Navigation ($1,915) with Lexus Enform, Premium sound ($995) and Premium Package ($3,060) that includes leather trim interior, Blind Spot monitor, Bamboo trim, moonroof, power/auto-dim outside mirrors and drivers seat/steering/mirror memory.
What’s new for the 2015 Lexus RX 450h Hybrid?
The 2015 Lexus RX 450h now comes standard with a 7-inch display screen and a backup camera. Xenon High-intensity LED headlights with fog lamps ($565) are new options that came on this RX 450h tester.
This RX 450 Hybrid comes loaded with all the goodies to make life very comfortable on the road for driver and passengers. We were able to get settled with the perfect driving position with the power/tilt/telescoping Bamboo trimmed steering wheel, and 10-way power drivers seat. The cabin is luxurious and well laid out. The genuine wood interior trim and leather trimmed interior add to the overall luxurious feel.
The only surprise was there was no heated steering wheel with the comfort package. We could have used it this week with the temperatures dropping here in Colorado. And you can tell this journalist is a bit spoiled. The RX 450 Hybrid gets high-quality materials and the fit and finish in this Lexus is top drawer and the cabin is a great place to spend your commute time which delivered us to work stress-free. This SUV comes with a power rear door, reclining/sliding 40/20/40 split rear seat and offers lots of versatility.
RX 450h mechanical
The RX 450h hybrid gets very good fuel mileage, especially driving in the city and in stop-and-go traffic. The RX Hybrid is very clean, achieving a Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV II) certification in California, and a Tier 2-Bin 3 emissions rating in all other states. The 2013 RX 450h gets an EPA-rated 30/28 mpg city/highway with all-wheel-drive.
Driving the RX 450 Hybrid
The RX 450h has an Eco driving indicator that displays fuel economy using a bar graph and provides driver feedback to let the driver know when they are achieving the best fuel-economy. But this week we pushed the RX 450h hard to see how it performed rather than see how great the mileage was. We put the hybrid in Sport mode which changes the steering, throttle mapping and transmission shifting for more spirited driving. Acceleration performance is better than the gas models due to the additional electric motors that give it extra torque.
Because of the electric motors, the RX 450h has 25 more horsepower than the RX 350 gas variant, which compensates for a weight gain of about 160 pounds. The hybrid’s brake system uses ventilated four-wheel discs and has an electronically controlled regenerative brake feature that charges the batteries when the brakes are applied gently. So there is no need to plug this SUV in, you just drive and it recharges on its own.
The downside to the RX 450 hybrid is the cost, which adds an additional $6000 premium Lexus charges for the hybrid. But the fuel savings, knowing you are driving a clean vehicle and the extra performance could be worth it. Many buyers want to know they are driving the cleanest SUV and this vehicle definitely is one of the best.
The driver can switch from the Normal mode to Eco for best mileage, or to the EV Mode which allows the RX 450h to operate on battery only. But you can only operate in EV mode for short distances and at low speeds. It works best in urban environments so if you need a SUV mainly for the open road, you might want to consider the gas RX 350 instead.
The Lexus RX is exceptionally quiet on the road and luxuriously comfortable inside. It also comes with a long list of safety features, and add in the security of all-wheel-drive that this tester comes with, and it makes the RX 450h an all-weather vehicle that will get you there safely. The 2015 Lexus RX 450h offers all that, plus greater fuel efficiency and environmental friendliness.