By Ronda Racha Penrice
Who doesn’t want to save the environment? Or at least pitch in? But hybrids haven’t always been that sexy or stylish or any other important “S” for that matter. With the 2011 RX 450h, Lexus is so not guilty. Talk about sleek, sophisticated, stylish, and sexy. There’s even enough room to break out of the “S” mode and throw in an “E” for economical. In these high-priced-gas times, an mpg of 30 miles in the city and 28 on the highway is definitely worth paying attention to, regardless of income.
Still, putting your best car forward has its place. And the RX 450h is like a field of windmills when it comes to turning heads. The starfire pearl exterior (or just white to the naked eye) with the soft peanut-butter leather seats on the inside is a particularly eye-catching combination. You most certainly will have to watch the valet with this one. Let’s just say, there may be a few extra spins around the block.
What others think will pale in comparison to how carefree you’ll feel when driving the RX 450h. Bluetooth technology ensures hands-free driving. XM Satellite improves on the standard radio offerings, while the six-CD auto changer is perfect for long drives. Thanks to the standard nine-speaker system, the audio is superb, but the 12- and 15-speaker upgrades offer an even more refined sound. The one-touch open/close moonroof allows the outside elements to subtly seep in. The keyless starter cuts down on jangling keys, and surprisingly, knowing the temperature inside and outside the vehicle is actually helpful. Of course, the handling is smooth. And should grown-up duties like, say, transporting kids threaten to interrupt adult playtime, the RX 450h is so luxurious and comfortable that being responsible can actually be fun.
If it’s a safety feature, chances are it’s on this Lexus: The RX 450h is loaded with airbags of every variety—dual advanced front, driver and passenger, knee, front and rear side curtain, and front and rear seat-mounted side. There’s also a backup camera and a four-wheel antilock braking system.
The MSRP is about $44,825. But, with all the vehicle’s bells and whistles, its price tag hits at a respectable $55,784, making the RX 450h driving experience, especially for a hybrid SUV, one of the absolute best around.