There is no question that the 2013 Lexus GS450h is a stunning vehicle. All-new for the 2013 model year, Lexus did a phenomenal job of giving it a nice little lift in all the right places. A particular fave: The front fascia. The bamboo interior wood inserts, while initially visually jarring, grew on me during the test week, and I appreciated the use of a sustainable resource in this "green" car.
I put "green" in quotes because, as a hybrid, the GS450h isn't as green as I'd like. With an EPA estimate of 31 mpg in combined driving, I was lucky if I broke 30 mpg in mostly highway driving. I ended the test week at 29.2 mpg.
I did, however, love the 3.5-liter V-6 engine and super-smooth electronically controlled variable transmission. The ride was ultra-luxurious, and my Wells Street suspension test produced a relatively smooth ride. Which, if you've driven on Wells lately, is saying a lot.
My primary complaint: Lack of navigation. Base price is $59,825. That includes heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, premium audio system, power rear sun shades, Bluetooth phone connectivity and backup monitor. What it doesn't include: navigation. I found this slightly confounding, especially since the test car added $10K in options, including lane departure warning, rear heated seats and a pre-collision system. But no navigation. Usually when you add any options to the GS450h, navigation is also thrown in, but for whatever reason, the test car was specially ordered without nav.
Not a fan. At $70K, I want -- and expect -- navigation. Just saying.
Looking for a green car? Check out my "Green Guide" on the Chicago Tribune website.