This post is about a month overdue. I tested out the Lexus RX 450h (starting at $48,000) shortly after the ES 300h, and it was fantastic. This is only the second car I've test driven for Savvy Every Day, and second Lexus I've ever driven, but it definitely had some winning points, as well as some pros and cons in comparison to the ES 300h. If you're deciding between a sedan or crossover SUV, keep reading. Not looking for a car? Keep reading anyway and scroll through some lovely car shots.
The RX 450h has no shortage of space . . . or cup holders! The distance between my head and the ceiling is perfect, the leg space is also great, and the car has a central cup area as well as cup holders in the side doors and a little pop out cup holder near the steering wheel for driver convenience. I wouldn't have thought that something this simple would make me so happy ,but it really does. I love that there are so many cup holders!
The trunk has a lot of room as well. My regular car is a Volkswagen Tiguan, which has a very small trunk, so it was exciting to fit so much of my junk in this hatch trunk. I also really like the rolling privacy shade over the items and fact that all the seats go down for even more space! During my time with this car I took my daughter to school, drove out of town to the beach with my mom, sister, daughter and nephew, drove to San Jose to visit friends, and packed it up with a bunch of groceries from Costco a few times. It fit it all!
I'm a mom who take a shower then throws her hair in a bun . . . a lot . . . so I really dislike the headrests that slant forward and hurt your head unless your hair is down. The ES 300h was a bit like that, but I could actually wear my hair up in the RX 450h, it wasn't as bad! I did feel like there was a bit of a vision impairment when the middle seat was up (for me), so I had it down most of the time for extra storage and to see my rear window.
Other than these few quirks, this baby is beautifully designed. The steering wheel has all the buttons you would need while driving (and I love the wood finish and finger grooves!), and the car won't sink with your phone or put your seat into position until safety features are met. I've been in withdrawals since testing this car, actually because I really miss the trunk button — Simply press it and the trunk opens itself. All done? Press the button on the trunk for it to close itself. Such a help for a parent with 20 different things going on and their arms full of kids and groceries. I actually went to VW service asking for them to fix my car because I could've sworn my trunk button made the trunk pop (It doesn't).
The car is quite functional — My daughter's car seat fits great, all seats fold and operate as they should, and the car handles great. I tested out the response to last-minute stops and in all the poor traffic of the Bay Area, and it passed. The biggest drawback for me is how this car functions on gas (28 mpg), it wasn't any better than my Tiguan, which isn't a hybrid. In the week that I had to fill up twice (and it arrived with a full tank). I did drive all over the Bay Area and to the beach, but my driving all over is a fairly typical week for me. (I rack up miles on my car a bit too quick.)
Overall between the RX 450h and the ES 300h it's a tough call. They both have side view mirror indicator lights, they're both hybrids with upgrades, and they both drive nicely. But, the RX 450h is far more comfortable, I'd say the design is nicer, and it has an amazing hatchback with one-touch button closure. The ES 300h gets way better mileage (40 mpg rating) as far as hybrids go, though, so it depends on your needs. They both have decent trunk space and could fit a family.
Which one would you choose, the sedan or crossover SUV?
I was given a Lexus RX 450h to test drive for ones week to conduct this review. All opinions are my own, no compensation was given.