Some cars are more relaxing than others, and the Lexus 450h is definitely a bit of a stress buster.
The current version retains the fastback profile Lexus has chosen for its big, lifestyle 4×4 for well over a decade, and sticks with the combination of electric and petrol engined drive. Unlike rivals and BMW, Lexus has so far shunned diesel, instead sticking to hybrid drive.
This means that a smooth 3456cc V6 engine, stuffed with valves and camshafts, works in tandem with electric motors and batteries so that the thing can be driven in petrol mode, as a petrol/electric, or when trundling along, in fully electric drive. This means that at low speeds, when there’s enough juice in the batteries, the V6 shuts down and the car wafts along in virtual silence, save for a bit of tyre rumble.
For urban driving, this feature, something shared with the lowlier Toyota Prius, makes serial congestion and traffic jams less irksome. The car feels relaxed, so you do too, but the thing will switch quickly back to petrol of dual drive, when it makes a nice, old fashioned big engine sound, and goes very well indeed. Handling wise it grips well, but the steering is a bit lifeless, and being tall and heavy, the 450h feels a little clumsy when pushed hard. There’s not much wrong with it dynamically, but it’s not what used to be called a ‘driver’s car.’
Being a Lexus it’s very well screwed together both inside and out, and although some of the fixtures and fittings are ever so slightly blingy and fussy, the dash lacks it’s predecessor’s dated aesthetic, and there’s a decent amount of interior space, although thanks to a large battery pack, the luggage bay is rather high.
Outside the car features the slightly odd egg timer-shaped grill Lexus now favours, and headlamps that look like slashes let into the bodywork. The end result is distinctive if not beautiful.
Ultimately, this car is much less aggressive to drive than it looks, which in a frantic, busy world, is surely a positive.
Lexus 450h Premier Stats Review
Top Speed: 124mph
Combined fuel consumption: 51.4mpg