The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

After a major overhauling two years ago, the Lexus RX450h continues mostly as is. The increase in wheelbase, length, width and height appears to have been sufficient for the 2019 model. It is equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine mated to electric motor/generators, putting out a plentiful 308 total horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 247 pounds-feet of torque @ 4600 rpm. It takes just 7.7 seconds for the five-passenger luxury SUV to take off from 0 to 60 mph with top speed limited at 112 mph.

The RX450h is fitted with a 288-volt nickel-metal hydride battery, which is recharged by energy captured as the driver applies the brakes or coasts. Also, the Continuous Variable Transmission-equipped car gets a regenerative braking system. When the car is coasting or the brakes are applied, the electric power functions as a generator, capturing kinetic energy that would normally be lost. Instead, it converts the energy into useable electricity for recharging the batteries.

Staring in your face up front is an exceptionally gargantuan spindle grille with a chrome-plated border and flanked by bi-LED headlights and integrated fog lamps. However, blue highlights incorporated into front and rear L logos make the trendy SUV stand out as a hybrid. Standard are 10-way power front seats, three-spoke power tilt/telescopic leather steering wheel, push-button start, auto dual a/c, metallic accents around the center of the instrument cluster, 40/20/40-split recline/slide fold rear seat, gated shifter and Lexus 9-speaker audio. A mouse-like Remote Touch (but not the best in the market) can be used to toggle navigation, climate, audio and phone controls, which are displayed on a huge but optional 12.3-inch screen atop the familiar analog clock.

Ten airbags, Vehicle Stability Control with Traction Control, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, active head rests for front seats, rearview camera, free-limiting seatbelt pretensioners for front seats and three-point seatbelts with pretensioners for rear seats, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights come at no extra cost.

Available in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the gas-sipping RX450h is a wise choice for any potential midsize luxury SUV buyer. It boasts an elegant and nimble ride with ample creature comforts.

RX 450h AWD
Tires: 235/65R18
Wheelbase: 109.8 inches
Length: 192.5 inches
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, double wishbone rear
Steering: electric power
Weight: 4,608 pounds
Fuel capacity: 17.2 gallons
City: 31 mpg
Highway: 28 mpg
Base price: $45,995
Price as tested: $61,418
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