2015 Lexus RX 450h

What's new for 2015? For the 2015 Lexus RX 450h, the 7-inch display screen and a rearview camera are now standard equipment. LED headlights and foglights are new options, and the Remote Touch knob has been revised for better ergonomics.

Launched more than a decade ago, the Lexus RX hybrid was initially a trailblazer, confounding those who believed luxury SUVs were by nature ravenous at the gas pump. Since then, the number of premium hybrid SUVs on the market has grown. But increased competition hasn't dulled the appeal of this Lexus, and the 2015 Lexus RX 450h is a top pick in what has become a more prolific segment.

The RX 450h succeeds because it delivers the key strengths one would hope to find in a luxury hybrid SUV: superlative mileage, refined performance, an accommodating cabin and a wealth of standard amenities. With an EPA combined rating of 30 mpg, this Lexus wallops the fuel economy of gas-only luxury crossovers and is among the most frugal choices in the premium hybrid SUV pool. With some hybrids, strong fuel economy comes at the expense of performance, but that isn't the case here. The RX is motivated by a 3.5-liter V6 teamed with electric motors and a battery pack, and this combination works to ensure that the crossover always feels adequately powered. Ride quality is plush, and the SUV superbly cocoons passengers from road imperfections. Topping it all off is a cabin that is spacious, quiet and impeccably appointed and decked out with a plethora of high-tech amenities.

Exterior Highlights
Available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive

The RX 450h, which is available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive, comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, LED running lights, rear privacy glass, heated mirrors, a power liftgate, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats with two-way power lumbar adjustment, a leather-wrapped power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a sliding and reclining rear seat with one-pull folding levers, cloth upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Standard electronics features include a 7-inch display screen, a rearview camera, Safety Connect emergency communications, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a 12-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface. Those with compatible iPhone models can also use the voice-operated Siri Eyes Free feature.

The 450h offers several option packages, some of which require the purchase of one to obtain another. Availability can also vary by region, so you'll want to check with your local dealer.

The Premium package adds a sunroof, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, roof rails, leather upholstery and driver memory settings. A version of this package also can be had with a blind-spot monitoring system. The Luxury package incorporates the contents of the Premium package and adds 19-inch alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel, a power driver seat cushion extender, upgraded leather upholstery, a household-style power outlet and smog-sensing auto climate control recirculation.

The Comfort package requires either the Premium or Luxury package and adds automatic wipers, xenon headlights and heated and ventilated front seats.

The Navigation package also requires either the Premium or Luxury package, and adds a navigation system, voice controls, the Remote Touch controller, HD radio and the Lexus Enform app suite that includes Safety Connect security and accident-mitigation functions.

Depending on which option package you select, individual options include LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control with a pre-collision warning system, a head-up display, a dual-screen rear entertainment system and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system.

Exceptional build quality, cutting-edge tech fetures, authentic wood trim, rear seating is roomy and comfortable, ample luggage space

Upscale appointments, exceptional build quality and cutting-edge tech features make the 2015 Lexus RX 450h look and feel suitably expensive for its price. Authentic wood trim and high-quality leather lend an air of opulence, and the optional Mark Levinson sound system is one of the best on the market.

Rear passengers will find the seating roomy and comfortable thanks to reclining and sliding adjustments. There's also ample luggage space -- just as much as in the regular RX 350, in fact -- with 40 cubic feet behind the 40/20/40-split-folding rear seats and 80 cubes when they're all lowered. There is no third-row seat available, though.

Every 2015 Lexus RX 450h comes standard with a rearview camera, antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Also included is the Safety Connect emergency communications system, which includes automatic collision notification, an emergency assist button and stolen-vehicle location services.

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