2013 Lexus RX 450h Review

RX 450h

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2013 Lexus RX 450h Overview

2013 Lexus RX 450h

Lexus has made numerous changes to its entire RX line of crossover SUVs, which includes the RX 450h, for 2013. Among these are a minor facelift, additional headlight options, interior tweaks and a fourth driving mode, all of which should keep the already popular SUV finding its way into drivers' possession when it begins tolling off the assembly line later this fall.

The 2013 Lexus RX 450h is a hybrid that runs on either regular gas or electricity and is available with in either a front-wheel drive Base or an AWD trim. The powertrain is a 3.5-liter, 24-valve DOHC V6 engine with VVT-i paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission that achieves 245 hp and 234 lb-ft of torque. The gas engine is matched with two 650-volt electric motors (three in the AWD trim) that have a maximum output of 155 hp. The net output for the combined gas/electric package is 295 hp. The Base trim is estimated to attain 32 mpg city/28 highway, while the AWD is rated at 30/28.

New for 2013 is a fourth driving mode. Previous models could be driven in Normal, Eco or EV drive mode. New models also come with a Sport mode, which alters the electric power steering and throttle settings and makes a smoother transition when the traction and stability controls are engaged. And the interior instrument panel switches from a calming blue color to a fiery red. Other prominent changes include the front grille, which now comes with Lexus’ iconic spindle-shaped hourglass mesh, and daytime running lights which are shaped in the automaker’s signature “L.” Four new options have been added to the exterior color choices as well.

On the inside, the changes to the 2013 Lexus RX 450h are more modest. The steering wheel has been revamped so that it has a much more comfortable grip for the driver, while extra storage space has been added to the center console. Additionally, the rear hatch can now be operated electrically from the inside, and new wood and metallic accents have been added.

As far as standard features for the 2013 Lexus RX 450h go, some highlights include foldable heated outside mirrors, integrated front fog lights, intermittent wipers on both the front windshield and back window, a remote keyless entry system, tilt-and-telescopic steering column, leather-trimmed 3-spoke steering wheel and shift knob, 10-way power front seats with power lumbar support, power locks with anti-lockout feature, 9-speaker premium audio system with AM/FM radio, digital power amplifier and in-dash 6-CD changer, and 18-inch 5-spoke aluminum alloy wheels.

Safety features for the 2013 Lexus RX 450h remain unchanged. The advanced technology airbag system includes a driver's dual-stage airbag, front passenger dual-stage, twin-chamber airbag, driver and front passenger knee airbags and roll-sensing front and rear side-curtain airbags. Other standard safety features are 4-wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist and a vehicle dynamics integrated management system, side-impact door beams, tire pressure monitoring system and enhanced vehicle stability control.

An additional trim, the F-Sport, made its debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show in March. Unfortunately, there are no plans by Lexus to make the F-Sport, which features a unique front bumper, upgraded headlights and 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, available in the United States in the near future.


by Mark S. Baker

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