2014 Lexus GS 450h Review
The luxury hybrid has lots of luxury, little green cred.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: January 20th, 2014
Why did Lexus see fit to make the most powerful car in its sporty GS line a hybrid? We're all for alternative-fuel vehicles, but we continued to be perplexed when automakers mate their hybrid engines to cars that really don't benefit from them. The GS 450h is not a bad car by any stretch of the imagination. It's tastefully luxurious, and sportier than any other hybrid you'll come across, but does anyone really want to pay an extra ten grand for a hybrid that only delivers 34 miles to the gallon?
On the Road
GS450h may not drive like a hybrid, but it doesn't exactly drive like a sports car either. That's due mainly to the presence of a fuel-saving-but-fun-ruining constantly variable transmission (CVT) which keeps you from ever being able to push the car to its limits. This isn't something the average driver looking to get from office park to suburban home will ever notice, but it's something that anyone looking for a sports-car-like experience is sure to be bothered by.
Aside from the CVT, the GS 450 is a delight to drive. It handles like a champ, cornering confidently, steering precisely, and the overall driving experience is quite pleasant.
Lexus tweaked the look of the GS 450 slightly for the 2014 model, but it essentially carries the same look from the 2013 redesign. That's a good thing, because Lexus has struck a good balance between sportiness and sophistication with the GS 450. Its flowing lines and soft edges are just on the right side of the boring/cool divide, and its truncated rear end gives it a sporty coupe feel.
Inside the GS450 it's all about luxury, from the walnut trim to the leather seats. Those are 10-way power seats in the front, by the way, and they can be set to provide maximum comfort, or maximum sports-car feel, thanks to the adjustable side-bolsters.
The GS 450 includes Lexus' Siri-integration with its "eyes-free" mode, but we're still not speaking with Siri ever since she took us to task for our excessively expletive-filled language, but given the public's continued dissatisfaction with Siri (and with overly complicated car infotainment systems in general), we're guessing it's a feature we can live without.
Still, Lexus' Remote Touch system, with its square mouse-like device, provides the easiest-to-use and most trouble-free interface that we've encountered. We still prefer knobs and buttons to touch screens and mouse-clicks, but the Remote Touch system has given us no major agita, which is something that can't be said of most modern infotainment systems.
The GS 450 is a fine competitor in the luxury sports segment, but turning it into a hybrid seems to us like a pointless exercise. Anyone who is seriously concerned about fuel economy isn't likely to be happy with the combined 31 mpg the GS 450h delivers when driven like an actual car rather than a hybrid. And with its $59,600 base price, it's no bargain either. If you're looking for a sports car, you'd do better with a standard GS 450, and if you're looking for a car that saves money at the pump, you could do better with just about any other hybrid on the market.
Specs & Prices
Engine: 3.5 L V6
Transmission: Continuously variable-speed automatic
Power Output: 338 horsepower / 254 ft-lbs.
Fuel Economy: 29 city / 34 hwy
Price: $59,600 (base)
Features: Blind spot monitor; cross-traffic alert, multiple driving modes, Siri Eyes Free Mode, 10-way power front seats, three climate zones, Lexus Enform, 12.3-inch screen with nav, Bluetooth, USB.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2014 Lexus GS 450h, click here: 2014 Lexus GS 450h.