Luxury Lexus: A Tale of Two Hybrids

A Girls Guide To Cars | Luxury Lexus: A Tale Of Two Hybrids - Agirlsguidetocars Logotype Color Web Transparentbg 16X9 1

Luxury LexusThe Luxury Lexus RX450

Driving a hybrid car often involves compromise, trading comfort, space or design for fuel economy. But the Lexus RX450 offers the best of all worlds: it is an SUV with great gas mileage.

I first experienced the Lexus from the backseat, riding in my brother’s car from New York City to Philadelphia. My husband and I had plenty of leg room, drink cups and our own climate control. Not only that, I am one of those adults who still gets motion sick, yet I was able to read in the back seat!

Luxury Lexus

The luxury Lexus has a huge color touchscreen with the latest tech

In the Lap of Environmentally Conscious Luxury

Though I consider myself a would-be Prius driver (I don’t even own a car) I have to admit that the Prius, while a a wonderful car, is not luxury vehicle. So if you are the type of well-heeled environmentalist who stays at the Ritz-Carlton, and hangs up her towels to re-use the next day, this is car for you.

The large touchscreen, much bigger than the one in the Prius, sexy interior trim and super comfortable seats can make you forget that you are making an eco choice. And that’s fine by me. I like leather. I like to be comfortable.

Putting Lexus to the Family Test

I was eager to experience the Lexus first hand, and test drove it over a week, to a high school Ultimate Frisbee Tournament and on a few college-shopping trips. The car was the ideal vehicle for schlepping a group of teenagers and their gear – and the huge sunroof almost (but not quite) aired out the  car when we had to drive the girls three hours after four games, no shower and the state championship (yay!).

With the Lexus, we had the dog on the floor of the backseat and no one was squished. We definitely would have felt squeezed in the Prius.

Typing in Your Destination? So Last Year

In most navigation systems, like the one in the Prius v that I recently drove, you have to type in your destination. If you are driving, the passenger can sometimes override the no typing while moving. Other advanced nav systems have voice recognition.

Luxury Lexus

Rear seat passengers are just as happy as  front seat passengers in the Lexus

The Lexus Enform goes even further. With a touch of a button, you are connected to an actual person, to whom you give your destination.  He or she quickly downloads it to your car. You can toggle through to find out traffic en route, and chose an alternate route, e.g,  one without tolls. The destination is saved in the system, so if you return there you can easily find it on the ‘previous destinations’ screen.

Safety Is Not A Luxury, But These Features Are

The Lexus had all the latest safety extras like a back up camera, emergency braking assist, whiplash protection and child seat anchors. We drove in quite a bit of rain, so I appreciated the rear windshield wiper. But this was the first time we had rain while using a back up camera, and I found out that a huge raindrop can obscure the rear view.

A Few of My Favorite Things

If you share a car with your spouse, roommate or best friend, you might have to constantly readjust the seat. The Lexus saves settings so the seat automatically moves to your desired spot.

Other cars do that too, you say, Ok, how about this one? If you fold in the mirrors when you park in a crowded lot, or on the street, the power mirrors automatically pop back out when you start the car. How cool is that?

Watch how this works:

What We Loved

Smooth, comfortable ride for front and back seat passengers.

Gas mileage – we got 29 miles per gallon

All wheel drive

Luxury Lexus

Keep fragile items secure in the large cargo space with the net.

Split rear seat, great for cargo hauling or bringing your bicycles

Power side view mirrors

What You Need to Know 

Base price: $47,810. Price for the model I drove, with heated and cooled seats, Lexus Enform, back up camera, parking assist, leather trim, blind spot monitor, moon roof, power folding side view mirrors, cargo mat and more: $55,650

5 star government safety rating, with 10 airbags

4 year, 50,000 mile warranty

Note: Lexus provided the car for our test drive; opinions expressed are my own.

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell