How Much Is An Extra 12 MPG City Worth To You? The 2014 Lexus RX 450h

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Lexus RX 450h
The 2014 Lexus RX 450h.

The basic Lexus RX crossover design has remained fairly constant for 16 years, but last year brought a freshening that gives all RX models the signature Lexus spindle grille, a new bumper and headlamp design, LED daytime running lights, updated tail lamps and four new colors (Silver Lining Metallic, Claret Mica, Deep Sea Mica and Fire Agate Pearl).

Rear 3/4 view of 2014 Lexus RX 450h
2014 Lexus RX 450h.

The standard equipment list can be found here. Highlights for your $47,810 base price include 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, a nine-speaker premium audio system, dual-zone climate control, ten airbags, power everything and real wood trim.  Despite an exhaustive list of standard features, our test vehicle had an additional $13,295 in optional equipment.

The Comfort Package adds rain-sensing wipers and ventilated and heated front seats for $825.

Gauge cluster of 2014 Lexus RX 450h
2014 Lexus RX 450h gauge cluster.

The Luxury Package includes semi-aniline leather trim, a driver and passenger seat cushion extender, a moonroof, power folding electrochomic heated outside mirrors, a blind spot detector, heated bamboo wood and leather steering wheel and shift knob, 19-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, memory for the seats and steering wheel, illuminated scuff plates, LED headlamps and a headlamp cleaner for $6,055.

Dual-screen rear-seat entertainment includes wireless headphones, audio and video inputs, a 120-volt outlet, navigation with voice command, NavTraffic, NavWeather and Lexus' Enform infotainment app suite for $4,920.

An upgrade to a Mark Levinson 15-speaker surround sound audio system with DVD, HDRadio and iTunes tagging was $995. And intuitive parking assist was $500. With delivery, processing and handling fee of $910, the as-tested price was $62,015.

The hybrid RX 450h uses the same 3.5-liter V6 engine as the gasoline-powered RX 350, taking an estimated 18 city miles per gallon and turning it into 30. The highway figure increases from 25 to 28, while boosting total output by 25 horsepower to 295. The 25 additional horsepower is offset by 342 pounds of batteries and other hybrid hardware, which is why 0-60 miles per hour in the RX 450h is 7.8 seconds as opposed to 7.7 in the RX 350---both figures are Lexus estimates.

There is very little penalty in performance, and in the city, a significant improvement in fuel economy. Apart from the price difference, much of which can be attributed to a hefty list of optional equipment, there may be incentive to consider the RX 450h over its gasoline-powered equivalent, the RX 350.