Review: Getting to Know the New RX 450h

Lexus redesigned this five-passenger luxury utility vehicle inside and out to produce the 2016 model. Why did they go and do that when the RX 450h has already proven to be the best-selling model in the Lexus lineup for more than a decade? Let’s see.

canadys-corner-2016-lexus-450h10The 450h boasts a completely re-engineered 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 hybrid engine, producing a combined system output of 308 horsepower. The hybrid-powered drivetrain is the latest, most advanced iteration of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system. The outcome is better fuel economy and lower emissions. A sign of being the best is to continue to set the bar higher.

In the redesign process, the 450h has grown a bit taller and longer, and even has more weight to it. In other words, cutting sharp corners and at a fast pace is not a good idea. A mature driver wouldn’t do that anyway in whatever size car they were driving. But I would and did. No surprise, it didn’t work. I quickly recognized this was a lot of body to handle. And based on all the amenities it offers a driver and passengers, it deserves all the attention and patience it needs.

The exterior of this award-winning 450h features a more aggressive signature spindle grille with a lasting visual effect that extends all the way to the rear hatch. The interior offers loads of redesigns to help the driver keep their eyes on the road. They include a more-advanced heads-up display that projects mileage, navigation directions and more on the window in front of you as you drive. If you choose to quickly glance at the mileage on the instrument clusters, you can do that too with no problem. The faces are larger.

The redesigned center console captures your canadys-corner-2016-lexus-450h-9attention in creative ways with a pin stripe affect, height-adjustable cup holders and a little storage area under the palm rest of your mouse. The seat cushions are rounder, in line with the ergonomic interior. Go figure. I didn’t know I needed that, but I really liked it. The rear-seat entertainment system includes two screens, two sets of headphones and remote control to keep back-seat passengers occupied on long trips. The screens are adjustable, so if the front seat passenger decides to recline a little, you can easily adjust the angle of the screen and stay on track with your movie. If they elect not to watch a movie, the can enjoy the panoramic moonroof. It’s a reason to step away from your driving duties and take seat in the rear.

The 450h looks out for pedestrians and cyclists in front of you with the ability to alert them. No need to blast them with the horn. This model even offers touch-free power rear door; a Lexus first. Like magic, you can wave your hand near the Lexus emblem, and presto the rear hatch opens. One of the lane departure assist features, specifically the vibrating steering wheel, will keep you in check whenever you veer out of the lanes.

I understand why Kelly Blue Book’s 2016 Best Resale Value Awards selected the 450h as the best resale value in the hybrid SUV/Crossover segment and why the Texas Auto Writers Association named the Lexus RX 450h the “2016 Green Vehicle of Texas.”

This award-winning hybrid, offered in colors such as Caviar, Autumn Shimmer and Nightfall Mica, has the capability to be a speed demon when necessary. But why when it would defeat the purpose of paying attention and enjoying all of the amenities it has to offer you, your passengers and the world around you. I enjoyed getting to know the 450h.

The Lexus 2016 RX 450h MSRP: $52,235; Combined City/Highway MPG: 30.
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