Hybrids are always a compromise, right? Not anymore. Plenty of hybrids sacrifice power or performance in order to give us excellent efficiency, but they're getting better all the time. Case in point: the new Lexus GS450h hybrid, which has Sport, Normal, and Eco modes that actually work. The GS450h is a bruiser on sport mode, with sports car acceleration of 0-60 in under 6 seconds and decent performance, while still pulling off 32 mpg no matter how ridiculously we drove it (it's officially rated at 34 mpg). Eco Mode offered us more moderate but adequate performance with a sweet 46 mpg on offer. What did we think of the car? Come along with us on our week-long test drive and hear all the details. We're happy to report they're mostly positive.
The GS450h is an average-size sedan, but it is low and wide. This gives it an aggressive and sporty look from the outside from all but a few angles, but made it feel a bit boat-like from the inside. Maybe the broad dash, retro-inspired dials and analog clock weren’t helping. But any time we thought we had fallen out of love with a too-shiny detail, the clock would turn out to have lit hashes on its brushed metal face, the instrument cluster would switch up dials completely for Eco or Sport mode, and so on, changing our mind.
The GS450h is full of nice little details, like the half-wood-style steering wheel, comfy leather seats, and yes, that awesome acceleration. But there were also a few things we couldn’t get used to. Because this is a Toyota at heart, it just can’t resist making tin can metallic echos in the chassis and body over high-speed bumps. And the side mirrors are too small, which can be frustrating when reversing up an incline. But overall, we loved our time in the GS450h. If you’re looking for an upmarket hybrid that does more than lip service to efficiency and pulls a few sporty punches, this is your ride.