BY H. THROTTLE
Recent reviews have dealt with mid-range priced cars that were all very positive. The under $30,000 range can provide some very good transportation but not always with all-wheel drive that usually move upwards into the $40,000 category.
This week comes a $61,375 Lexus RX450h SPORT that is worth every additional dollar. Lexus is the premium auto division of Toyota and has an excellent reputation with a motto of “Experience Amazing.”
The test vehicle is indeed a step above the lower priced cars with a drive and appeal of quality. The interior trimmed in leather, and the outside exterior paint described as “Grecian Water.” The doors shut like vaults and the car has an overall feeling of stability.
RX450h is a hybrid and starts quietly, then produces an overall gas mileage of 30 mpg from a 3.5L / 308 hp, V8 engine. The larger engine is unusual with the trend to 4-cylinder engines with turbo charge components. The hybrid component produces the higher gas mileage ranging high for V8s. There is never a need for battery charging and the battery components have a warranty of 15 years and/or 150,000 miles.
The excellent Lexus versatile transmissions offers drive modes of Eco, S, and S-plus, along with steering wheel paddle shifters. The car accelerates well in all modes with easy shifting to lower gears. The car is an all-wheel drive in an SUV style riding on 20-inch wheels.
The cabin is spacious, with luxury bucket seats and comfortable rear passenger leg room. Don’t drop the keys in the seat gap, as this driver did, and had to fish them out from under the power seat controls.
Lexus has all of the latest safety equipment, 10 airbags, “Smart Stop Technology,” road sign assist, blind spot warnings, and rear cross traffic alerts.
This is a very fine car in all respects; comfortable, powerful, and fully equipped with winter features of heated seats and steering wheel.
The RX450h raises the bar.