The concept of excellent fuel economy does not typically arise in conversations about sport utility vehicles (SUVs) – until the 2013 Lexus RX450h, that is. While this isn’t the largest SUV available on the market, it is definitely one of the most attractive and elegant. This five-passenger hybrid SUV is classy and refined on the inside and out. The RX450h offers a long list of standard features and plenty of optional packages that make it an excellent option for the buyer who doesn’t mind spending a bit more on a midsize SUV.
New For 2013
For the 2013 model year, Lexus made some changes to its hybrid SUV, the RX450h. Potential buyers are sure to notice the following:
- The overall updated look
- New Lexus grille design
- Power lift gate
- New iPod/USB audio interface
- Sport Mode is now standard
The 2013 Lexus RX450h is the company’s attempt to join together functionality and space with fuel efficiency. In terms of looks, the RX450h is similar to its siblings, with modern good looks and attractive detailing. This SUV is only available in one trim level, but Lexus has offered a few optional packages to make customization easier. Overall, this vehicle is elegant and refined, with a uniquely-shaped grille featuring the Lexus logo and inverted lines detailing the grille. The headlights are slanted and give the front-end an assertive appearance. The hood, doors, and sides feature some nice sculpting as well, ensuring that hybrid isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when viewing this SUV. Overall, the RX450h looks like a compact SUV sure to be at home wherever it goes.
Interior & Cargo
In the cabin, the 2013 RX450h is exactly what one would expect from Lexus. There is no way to mistake this model for the rough-and-tumble SUVs of the past. The RX450h seats five passengers and features elegantly-placed wood and leather accents. The front seats are comfortable but could do with a bit more support. In the back of the cabin, passengers are sure to be impressed with the spacious amount of room. Those seats are made for plenty of adjustments and can be moved to accommodate almost any passenger height.
The dash is fussier than it has been in the past due to more features and controls. The various available packages do change the interface to some degree. It takes some practice adjusting to the different controls.
In terms of cargo space, it would be difficult to ask for much more from a midsize SUV like this. With the rear seats in their normal position, the RX450h offers 40 cubic feet of space. When the seats are folded down, the available cargo space jumps up to 80 cubic feet.
Safety has always been a high priority for the Lexus lineup, and the RX450h is no exception. This SUV is equipped with a number of airbag systems. Front and rear side airbags, front knee airbags, and side curtain airbags are all standard equipment. This vehicle is also equipped with anti-lock brakes, traction control, and stability control. All RX450h models also come standard with Lexus’ Safety Connect emergency communication system. This system includes stolen vehicle location, an emergency assist button, and automatic collision notification.
As a hybrid, the 2013 Lexus RX450h is powered by both a gas and an electric engine. The gas motor is a 3.5-liter, V-6. Both engines are engaged in front-wheel-drive models, with one engine acting as a starter and the other propelling the vehicle’s movement. The all-wheel-drive versions are a bit different, with a third motor engaging to act on the rear wheels. Of course, fuel economy is excellent for an SUV. The RX450h gets 32/28 mpg city/highway.
Hybrid vehicles have gotten a bad rep in the past for their less-than-stellar performance. Things have certainly changed, and the RX450h is a premier example of this. This hybrid SUV offers the smooth, comfortable ride one would expect from a Lexus, with plenty of insulation to keep the cabin quiet on the road.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Lexus RX450h
- Volkswagen Touareg
- Porsche Cayenne Hybrid
- Mercedes-Benz ML350