Lexus RX 450h Review

This is the year that Toyota makes it clear...you don't have to drive a Prius to be green.

Lexus has been building hybrids for a while...but the big advertising and PR push is now...and with the 2010 RX 350 crossover all-new, there's a fair amount of the spotlight falling on the hybrid version, the RX 450h.

Basically, it's a 350, but with a hybrid powerplant that boosts mileage considerably...to 32 city/28 highway...an improvement of 14 and 6 respectively.

Of course, hybrid tech costs money, so the 450h starts just a shade less than $5,000 above the gasoline-powered 350...at $41,660.

Lexus, of course, wanted to show off the new 450h in the best possible light, so the tester they sent out was...well...loaded. Like ten grand worth of options loaded.

19 inch aluminum alloy wheels ($660), heated and ventilated front seats ($640), LED headlamps with AFS (adaptive front lighting system), intelligent high beams and headlamp washer ($1,875), a Mark Levinson surround sound DVD audio system with 15 speakers ($1,610), a navigation system with XM NavTraffic and NavWeather ($2,440) and the Premium Package.

Now, with the standard equipment in a Lexus and the options above, I would have figured the whole car was a premium package, but no...this adds a touch open/close moonroof, auto-dimming power heated outside mirrors, a power rear door, an mp3 mini plug and USB audio plug and driver's seat, steering and mirror memory.

That's $2,400. Add in the $875 for delivery charges and this particular RX 450h bottom-lines at $52,160. A bargain? No. But a very nice machine...and probably well within the comfort level of the target buyers.