2013 Lexus GS 450h Review: Luxury Family Car

A Girls Guide To Cars | 2013 Lexus Gs 450H Review: Luxury Family Car - Lexus Gs 450H

Life happens in cars. Be it that great scenic route you just happened to stumble upon, or heading over the river and through the woods, there is no denying that we Americans spend a lot of time in our cars.

One 2009 study suggests that some of us spend as many as twenty hours a week in our cars.Add up the trips to the grocers, running errands, heading out for fun and tack on the traffic and it isn’t too hard to see the hours piling up. If you happen to live in the Washington, D.C. area -which I do- you could find yourself spending up to two hours getting from Point A to Point B. A trip that should really only take you 30 minutes. Often times our “Beltway” is the slow way!

Ask yourself this question; If you are going to spend endless hours in a car, wouldn’t you want that car to be a place you enjoy being? {youtube}QH_HDYs77tw{/youtube}

The task then becomes finding a car that fits the bill. Were I an automotive engineer, I would design a car that was so welcoming, connected, intuitive and luxurious that all who entered would want to stay. Sadly, the fact that I barely squeaked out a passing grade in Mr. Hunt’s 9th grade geometry class pretty much put the kibosh on that dream. Happily the engineering geniuses at Lexus were already on this one. They packed the 2013 Lexus GS 450h with nearly anything I could have dreamt up, and more.Lexus MouseNo room for a purse on the elegant wood console, but the media is controlled by a mouse If you’re going to get stuck in traffic, play kid-taxi, run errands like a marathoner or go “Griswold” this is the car you want to do it in. Luxury is just where it starts with the Lexus GS 450h. It has the features you’d expect in a high-end car of this kind; leather upholstery, dual climate controls, programmable seat positioning, wood trim, heated seats and an outstanding entertainment system. Rather unexpected are things like cutting edge tech integration, hybrid technology and great gas mileage.

The biggest “wow” feature for me was the Lexus Enform App Suite. I make no bones about it, I am a wired mom. I have been known to go through mild withdrawal issues when finding myself in a Wi-Fi dead spot (oddly enough this includes my in-laws’ home). It seems as though this car was designed for drivers like me. With the App Suite I was able to make dinner reservations, and they were for a restaurant with no color-on menus!  You can also order movie tickets on the fly, connect to Facebook and more, all using the industry’s first available 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display. Cool huh? It gets even more cool. The GS 450h has its own mouse! Yep, you can navigate your way through the plethora of features in this car using a mouse, much like the one on your desk.

WLexus GshThe Lexus is the perfect size for a familyhile the mouse and all the tech features are very intuitive, I did also find them a bit distracting. This could be because my car is virtually a covered wagon in comparison. Whatever the cause though, I did feel that I spent an excessive amount of my time with the car trying to figure out all the features. There is a tutorial feature, but I didn’t find it very helpful. That said, I’m sure that, were I to purchase this car, taking advantage of the one-time free setup at the dealer would make a world of difference.

What We Loved

  • Combo moon/sun roof.
  • For a sedan, the cargo space is great.
  • Lexus Enform with App Suite.
  • 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display.
  • Mark Levinson® Premium Surround Sound Audio System. (Rocked the tunes in the pick-up line at school, adding to the features by making the kids cringe.
  • Heads Up display. (This displays your speed and the direction you’ll need to turn when using the navigation system right on your driver’s side windshield.)
  • Rear-seat climate and audio controls. (Available with the Luxury Package, which the car I drove had.)
  • Rain-sensing intermittent windshield wipers with mist cycle. (This was a great feature during the wet trips we took.)
  • Drive Mode Select with Normal, EV, ECO, Sport S and Sport S+ modes.
  • Power rear sunshade. (This was such a thoughtful touch. I can see it being perfect for long sunny, summer road-trips. It also automatically goes down when you put the car in reverse.)
  • Cousins to the power sunshade, the rear windows have two-part manual sunshades as well.
  • Lane Departure Warning.
  • Intuitive Park Assist. (Which admittedly, I need.)

What You Need to Know

  • You are buying a luxury motor vehicle. The total “sticker price” of the model we tested: $71,407.00
  • The EPA estimate for MPG on this model is 29 city/34 highway. I drove a combo of both and averaged around 33 MPG.
  • All the tech features are going to take a nice chunk of time to get used to.
  • The “mouse” can be distracting.
  • The manual rear sunshades tend to be hard for little hands. They also “snap” back into place with a force that might not stand up to repeated use by little folks.
  • The front spoiler is very low. Several times I had to park well behind parking bollards to avoid bumping them or having them scrape the undercarriage.
  • The front cup holders have a tension bar in them that can (and did) puncture some take-out cups.
  • While the rear passenger features, like climate and volume control are nice, they may not be good for families with younger children.
  • The rear leg room could be bigger.

And now onto the most important part of any A Girls Guide to Cars and Traveling Mom review… where did I put my purse? Those genius designers must have been busy packing this car with so many features they missed this one. My handbag had to either ride in the co-pilot spot or take a backseat.

The most impressive thing about this car -even beyond all the bells and whistles- has got to be the way it drives. It’s almost as if the car “gets” you. If we really are spending nearly 250 hours a year in our cars, this car makes the drive worth the destination by offering a truly enjoyable ride.

Disclosure: Toyota provided the Lexus for my review; opinions here are all my own.