The 2014 Lexus GS450h is a gas-miserly hybrid but it hides that frugality in a luxurious package that makes you forget you’re being a responsible grown-up.
Not feeling like you’re driving a hybrid is the perennial challenge of owning one. In some cars, like the Prius, it’s in your face from how it looks to how it drives to a dashboard display that looks more like a video game than a car. In others, there’s just a little here and there to let you know you’re in a hybrid, and that’s the space where the GS450h sits.
Outside, it looks every bit the luxury sedan. It’s got that huge spindle grille up front that you either love or hate, along with a nice low front fascia. It’s sleek and sophisticated and has just a tiny badge below the rear door sill saying that it’s a hybrid. The luxury is not subtle, but the hybrid is all about stealth.
The interior, too, wants you to focus on the luxury part of this car. It is plush with bamboo wood trims and heated and ventilated leather seats that are 10-way adjustable. Both my 5’1″ mother and 6’3″ husband proclaimed them wonderful, although the taller of the two found his knees knocked the center console.
The heated/ventilated seats deserve some extra comment because of the Lexus Climate Concierge system. We’ve all seen cars that allow a temperature setting for the cabin and then regulate the heat and air conditioning accordingly so you don’t have to constantly fuss with buttons. Now apply that same concept to your seats.
You can set them to preset heating and cooling levels, or just leave them in Auto and the car will figure out what to do instead. On a day where the temperature swung 30 degrees, the Climate Concierge system alternated between warming and cooling my derriere based on the cabin temperature selected. In a car where comfort is key, this kicked it all up a level.
The GS450h continues with the luxury vibe when you take it out on the road. There’s a 3.5-liter V-6 along with the electric motor and it all provides 338 horsepower that smoothly moves you into traffic. The transitions from electric to gas power are almost imperceptible, even when the gas engine kicks on while you’re at a dead stop.
That power will also effortlessly take you from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. You can best take advantage of all that power by using the paddle shifters and flipping the car into Sport mode. Eco and Normal mode give you a blue readout showing how efficiently you’re driving and if you’re charging your battery or sucking it dry. Sport mode figures you just don’t care, turns everything red, and flips the power readout into a tachometer.
Despite that Sport mode, this is still a hybrid, so it also gets great fuel economy, particularly for a luxury sedan. EPA ratings are 29 city/34 highway for a combined 31 mpg which we beat on a highway drive averaging 35 mpg on the money.
Speaking of money, all this luxury doesn’t come cheap. Our test model, which included the Luxury Package, HDD Navigation, One Touch Power Trunk, Intuitive Park Assist and an Accessory Package came out to $70,252 with destination and handling. Remember though, this is a luxury car, not a Prius, so you’re getting quite a ride. Just figure that the money you spend on getting into this car will be saved when you make a few less stops for gas.
The 2014 Lexus GS450h is a complete package offering a stylish, luxury sedan with all the trimmings along with the frugal responsibility of a hybrid.
2014 Lexus GS450h
Base Price: $60,430
Price As Tested: $69,342 (not including destination charge)
- Fuel economy
- Luxurious interior
- Doesn’t drive like a hybrid
- On the pricey side
- Narrow front legroom