How many hours do you spend in your car during the average week? One 2009 study suggests that some of us spend as many as twenty hours a week in our cars. If you happen to live in the Washington, D.C. area -which I do- you could find yourself spending up to two hours getting from Point A to Point B. A trip that should really only take you thirty minutes. Ah, Beltway bliss.
As yourself this question; If you are going to spend endless hours in a car, wouldn’t you want that car to be a place enjoy being?
The task then becomes finding a car that fits the bill. Were I an Automotive Engineer, I would design a car that was so welcoming, connected, intuitive and luxurious that all who entered would want to stay. Sadly, the fact that I barely squeaked out a passing grade in Mr. Hunt’s 9th grade geometry class, pretty much put the kibosh on that dream. Happily the engineering geniuses at Lexus were already on this one. They packed the 2013 Lexus GS 450h nearly anything I could have dreamt up, and more.
If you’re going to get stuck in traffic, play kid-taxi, run errands like a marathoner or go “Griswold” this is the car you want to do it in. Luxury is just where it starts with the Lexus GS 450h. It has the features you’d expect in a high-end car of this kind; leather upholstery, dual climate controls, programmable seat positioning, wood trim, heated seats and an outstanding entertainment system. Rather unexpected are things like cutting edge tech integration, hybrid technology and great gas mileage.
The biggest “wow” feature for me was the Lexus Enform App Suite. I make no bones about it, I am a wired mom. I have been known to go through mild withdrawal issues when finding myself in a WiFi dead spot (oddly enough this includes my in-laws home). It seems as though this car was designed for drivers like me. With the App Suite I was able to make dinner reservations, and they were for a restaurant with no color-on menus! You can also order movie tickets on the fly, connect to Facebook and more, all using the industry’s first available 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display. Cool huh? It gets even more cool. The GS 450h has it’s own mouse! Yep, you can navigate your way through the plethora of features in this car using a mouse, much like the one on your desk.
While the mouse and all the tech features are very intuitive, I did also find them a bit distracting. This could be because my car is virtually a covered waggon in comparison. Whatever the cause though, I did feel that I spent an excessive amount of my time with the car trying to figure out all the features. There is a tutorial feature, but I didn’t find it very helpful. That said, I’m sure that, were I to purchase this car, taking advantage of the one-time free setup at the dealer would make a world of difference.
A Few of My Favorite Things
- Combo moon/sun roof.
- For a sedan, the cargo space is great.
- Lexus Enform with App Suite.
- 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display.
- Mark Levinson® Premium Surround Sound Audio System. (Rocked the tunes in the pick-up line at school, adding to the features by making the kids cringe.
- Heads Up display. (This displays your speed and the direction you’ll need to turn when using the navigation system right on your driver’s side windshield.)
- Rear-seat climate and audio controls. (available with the Luxury Package, which the car I drove had.)
- Rain-sensing intermittent windshield wipers with mist cycle. (This was a great feature during the shoggy trips we took.)
- Drive Mode Select with Normal, EV, ECO, Sport S and Sport S+ modes.
- Power rear sunshade. (this was such a thoughtful touch. I can see it being perfect for long sunny, summer road-trips. It also automatically goes down when you put the car in reverse.)
- Cousins to the power sunshade, the rear windows have two-part manual sunshades as well.
- Lane Departure Warning.
- Intuitive Park Assist. (Which admittedly, I need.)
Things You Need to Know
- You are buying a luxury motor vehicle. The total “sticker price” of the model we tested: $71,407.00
- The EPA estimate for MPG on this model is 29 city/34 highway. I drove a combo of both and average around 33 MPG.
- All the tech features are going to take a nice chunk of time to get used to.
- The “mouse” can be distracting.
- The manual rear sunshades tend to be hard for little hands. They also “snap” back into place with a force that might not stand up to repeated use by little folks.
- The front spoiler is very low. Several times I had to park well behind parking bollards to avoid bumping them or having them scrape the undercarriage.
- The front cup holders have a tension bar in them that can (and did) puncture some take-out cups.
- While the rear passenger features, like climate and volume control are nice, they may not be good for families with younger children.
- The rear leg room could be bigger.
- And now onto the most important part of any She Buys Cars and Traveling Mom review… where did I put my purse? Those genius designers must have been busy packing this car with so many features, they forgot this one. My handbag had to either ride in the co-pilot spot or take a backseat.
Even with all the features and extras, I was most impressed by the handling of this car, which is sheer pleasure. If you’re going to be in a car for nearly 250 hours a year, this car offers a whole lot of bang for your bucks and is a truly enjoyable ride.