2014 Lexus GS 450h Review

GS 450h

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2014 Lexus GS 450h Overview

The Lexus GS lineup looks good, handles crisply and scoots circles around its previous generation. And the 2014 Lexus GS 450h, with its hybrid V6 powerplant and active suspension, actually improves the brand in terms of both power and fuel efficiency, not to mention some surprisingly adept handling. This 5-seat, 4-door, luxury-oriented and green-leaning commuter car once again comes in one Base trim, while adding a few more tweaks to its 2013 re-do. Light-emitting-diode (LED) running lights and foglights are now an option, while the available Night View system has been eliminated.

A few new options also come with this high-end hybrid, including an upgraded heads-up windshield display, Climate Concierge, a power trunk lid and Apple’s Siri Eyes-Free manipulation of available Enform smartphone apps.

Perhaps the most attention-gathering new item for the 2014 GS 450h, however, is a reprogrammed continuously variable transmission (CVT) managing the gas/electric powertrain. Behaving similarly to the new 8-speed shiftable automatic transmission that graces, among others, Lexus’ latest GS 350 edition, this retuned CVT now offers driver-selectable Sport S and Sport S+ modes for a livelier commute, though this distinctly non-hybrid-like driving experience will noticeably reduce gas mileage.

Alas, with the necessary battery pack stashed under the trunk, luggage and briefcase toting capacity is reduced to 13.2 cubic feet, but this swanky midsize sedan offers plenty of head- and legroom, a slew of standard and available posh, and split-folding rear seatbacks that bump available lugging space enough that the smaller trunk won’t be too much of an inconvenience.

In any case, a standard power sunroof complements 17-inch alloy wheels and heated power-adjustable and reverse-tilting mirrors outside, with leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, full power accessories and genuine wood cabin accents among the goodies adorning the interior.

Of course, cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering return for 2014, as do a remote garage door opener, memory for driver's settings and a rear-view camera, while dual-zone climate control and a heated steering wheel keep driver and passengers comfy in extreme weather. Standard entertainment, meantime, comes under the auspices of Lexus’ Enform infotainment interface and includes a 6-CD changer, 12 Surround Sound speakers, satellite radio, a DVD monitor and a USB connection. Oh, and standard Bluetooth hands-free calling with available music streaming capability can’t be left out.

Options, mostly in package form, include tri-zone auto climate control, a navigation system with a 12.3-inch display, an upgraded auto-damping suspension, upgraded leather upholstery, upgraded and upsized wheels, an improved-for-2014 heads-up windshield display and updated Enform smartphone apps with the new Siri Eyes-Free technology. Additionally, a Mark Levinson premium audio system boasting 835 watts, 17 speakers and 7.1 Surround Sound is also available to the latest GS 450h.

Powering this heady hybrid is the traditional 3.5-liter variable-valve-timed (VVT) gasoline-burning V6 engine that combines with a pair of electric motors and that enhanced CVT for 338 total hp. Regenerative braking again mates with a dedicated charging motor to keep the 650-volt battery pack charged up as well. Tossing in auto engine stop/start technology, therefore, Lexus’ fulsome family sedan will save on the fuel budget with estimated mileage numbers of 29 mpg city/34 highway.

Finally, standard safety equipment aboard the latest iteration of the GS 450h includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front and rear side-mounted airbags, and front head restraint whiplash protection. Turn-signal-integrated mirrors are bolstered by daytime running lights and front fog/driving lights (LED optional), a post-collision safety system, Enform emergency communications and alerts, and a remote antitheft alarm. The standard high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights can be bolstered by the available (and brand new) Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) feature, while blind-spot alert technology, lane-departure warnings, Intuitive Parking Assist, a driver awareness monitor and a pre-collision system that’s integrated into available adaptive cruise control are each optional safety features.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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