The 2013 Lexus GS 450h combines the outstanding fuel economy of a hybrid with the comfort and convenience of a luxury car in one delicious package. It looks good, drives beautifully and has all the creature comforts you’d expect in a luxury car.
The exterior of the Lexus GS 450h is subdued in styling, save its signature spindle grille which demands your attention. Inside it’s a whole different story. Slide into the ridiculously comfortable leather seats and you are surrounded by leather, bamboo and shiny metal trim.
There’s also a 12.3″ screen for the infotainment system that is simply huge. It feels very high tech, save the analog clock set in between the air vents. I know it’s supposed to be a quaint throwback to days of yore, but with all the shiny fancy gadgetry on that dash it looks out of place.
The drive is surprisingly good. I say this not because you’d expect a Lexus to be particularly sloppy, especially one that comes in at just under $70K, but because it’s a hybrid that drives like it doesn’t know it. The 3.5-liter V-6 engine combines with the hybrid motor for 338 HP and manages 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. Speed and power are not a problem. Although, that guy with the flashing blue lights in your rear view mirror may disagree.
I drove with the Drive Mode Select set at Normal and didn’t feel the need to change it to Sport to have a little fun. Of course, I did, but it was good enough in Normal that you won’t feel hampered. If you do want to really risk those blue lights, then put it in Sport and you won’t be disappointed. Eco, on the other hand, will leave you feeling like you’re dragging a horse trailer behind you and takes all the fun out of the ride.
The only way passersby will know it’s a hybrid is by its silence when stopped or the little hybrid labels just below the rear doors. The only way you’ll know when you’re driving is, well, they told you it was a hybrid when you bought it and they wouldn’t lie, right?
I’ve found Lexus has one of the smoothest hybrid engines I’ve ever driven. This was the case with the 2013 Lexus ES 300h I tested earlier in the year and the GS 450h was no less impressive. It is so smooth you doubt it’s there and can neither feel nor hear it switching from gas to electric. Even in heavy traffic when starting and stopping unpredictably, it’s so smooth you would swear it’s not doing anything, but it is.
You know it’s a hybrid because you won’t be stopping by the pump anytime soon with 29 city/34 highway for a combined 31 mpg rating. See, the dealer didn’t lie. You’re driving a hybrid. And it’s a heck of a lot of fun.
Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. Nicole also writes for NerdApproved and GeekMom.