Used 2013 Lexus GS 450h Sedan Review & Ratings | Edmunds
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Used 2013 Lexus GS 450h Sedan Review

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2013 Lexus GS 450h Sedan

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Summary

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Lexus GS 450h Sedan

  • The all-new 2013 Lexus GS 450h hybrid offers sharp handling, sharper styling, new features and added interior room. But the biggest change is the one you're likely to care about the most: a major increase in fuel efficiency.

  • Pros

    Best midsize luxury car fuel economy; quick acceleration; capable handling with refined ride quality; high-quality interior; cutting-edge safety and entertainment technology.

  • Cons

    Hefty price premium over GS 350.

  • What's New for 2013

    The Lexus GS 450h is completely redesigned for 2013.

Review

The previous Lexus GS 450h boasted V8 power with V6 fuel economy, which was certainly a worthwhile technological achievement. Most hybrid vehicle buyers care more about mpg than mph, though. That's why they expect their gasoline-electric vehicle to be much thriftier than the comparatively paltry 23 mpg EPA combined achieved by the outgoing GS 450h. (You can probably see where this is going.)

The completely redesigned, next-generation 2013 Lexus GS 450h returns 31 mpg EPA combined thanks to improvements made to both the gasoline-powered engine and the electric motors. Forget V6 fuel economy; that's equal to the humble Mini Cooper. More impressively, this efficiency has not been achieved by making the GS 450h a Prius-like slug. It might be a wee bit slower and less powerful than before, but it can still accelerate quicker than the regular GS 350 and also comes close to V8-powered luxury sedans.

Fuel efficiency isn't the only improvement for the 2013 GS 450h, however. The radically redesigned styling inside and out is the most obvious change, and we think it transforms the GS from forgettable to eye-catching. Length and wheelbase remain the same, but the chassis is pulled out wider by about 2 inches. An improved rear suspension design and a redesigned battery pack allow for more trunk space, which was a sore spot in the old GS.

There are significant mechanical changes, too. Revised suspension geometry, a stiffer body structure and a quicker steering system help make the GS the best-handling Lexus this side of the IS F or LFA. Yes, even in hybrid form. In fact, the Adaptive Variable Suspension that's optional on the GS 350 is standard here, improving both ride and handling.

Besides the cabin's modern new look, interior designers imposed a diet on various components, shaving pounds to keep weight down even as they also added a slew of new features like the Remote Touch infotainment system and sport seats with multiple adjustments. Longtime Lexus buyers needn't worry about quality either, as the GS maintains the brand's reputation for high-quality materials and excellent build quality. The electronics controls are more complicated this year, though.

In total, the 2013 Lexus GS 450h is a vastly more appealing car than the outgoing model. It's both a better hybrid and a better luxury sedan. However, despite its more fuel-efficient powertrain, a GS hybrid is still a dubious decision if it's made strictly to save money. When similarly equipped, a new 450h costs about $11,500 more than the similarly new 350. According to EPA fuel economy estimates, you'd have to own the 450h 19 years in order to pay off the hybrid price premium using fuel savings alone. True, that's better than the 57 years required to break even with the old car -- and you do get extra power -- but that's still a big chunk of change.

If you're interested in more than simply reducing your consumption of gasoline, then the GS 450h is one of the best luxury sedans available in which to do so. We still recommend checking out the cheaper Infiniti M35h and diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec, but neither can quite match that impressive 31 mpg of the GS.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Lexus GS 450h is the hybrid version of the regular GS 350 sedan, which is reviewed separately. There is only one body style and trim level available.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, adjustable drive settings, automatic and adaptive LED headlights, LED running lights, heated and auto-dimming mirrors, automatic wipers, a sunroof and keyless ignition/entry. Inside the cabin you get cruise control, "S-flow" automatic climate control (focuses air only to occupied seats), heated and ventilated eight-way power front seats with lumbar adjustment, driver memory functions, leather upholstery, a heated power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a power rear sunshade. Electronic features include Bluetooth phone connectivity, text-to-speech text messaging, the Safety Connect emergency communications service and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The optional navigation system brings with it a larger central display screen, Bluetooth phonebook downloading capability, voice controls, real-time traffic and other information, and the Enform suite of smartphone app features. The Luxury package adds 18-inch wheels, additional front seat adjustments, passenger memory functions, rear climate and audio controls, manual rear side sunshades and upgraded leather upholstery. The Luxury package can also be had with heated rear seats and a night vision camera system.

Stand-alone options include different 18-inch wheels, a rearview camera, an automated parallel parking system, an active lane-departure prevention system, adaptive cruise control and a pre-collision warning system, blind-spot monitoring and a head-up display.

Powertrains and Performance

Powering the 2013 Lexus GS 450h are a 3.5-liter gasoline V6 and a pair of electric motors. A total system output of 338 horsepower is sent to the rear wheels through a specialized continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

Lexus estimates that the GS 450h will go from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, a swift performance that slots in between six-cylinder and V8 midsize luxury sedans. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 29 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined.

Safety

Every 2013 Lexus GS 450h comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Also standard is the Lexus Safety Connect system, which includes automatic collision notification, an emergency assist button and stolen vehicle location services.

Optional features include a rearview camera, a night vision system, blind-spot monitoring and a lane-departure warning system that can steer you back into place should you fail to act. Adding the optional adaptive cruise control includes a pre-collision system that detects impending collisions and responds by pre-tensioning the seatbelts and activating brake assist.

Interior Design and Special Features

Complementing its physical and dynamic makeover, the 2013 Lexus GS line also gets a revised cabin. In the best Lexus tradition, it's a finely crafted interior marked by soft leather and rich wood and aluminum trim. Befitting this caliber of luxury sport sedan are seats that are firm and cosseting in equal measure, and limited only by the degree of power adjustments you choose.

The cabin also offers more space, with slightly more head- and shoulder room. The front seat has been lowered, meaning you now feel like you're sitting in the GS, not on it, and taller drivers won't find their hairĀ  grazing the roof. Rear seat passengers will also appreciate nearly 3 inches more hiproom compared to the previous model. Trunk space is also improved, as the battery pack has been repackaged to salvage an extra 3 cubic feet of space. Total cargo volume of 13.2 cubes isn't great for a midsize sedan, but it's better than many hybrid sedans can provide.

The Remote Touch multimedia controller -- a mouselike device that allows the user to move among a variety of icons on a large centrally located screen-- has also been revised. It's a nifty technological achievement, but in practice, we've found it can draw your eyes away from the road for too long. We recommend trying it out thoroughly on a test-drive.

Driving Impressions

As a luxury hybrid, the 2013 Lexus GS 450h goes about its business silently and efficiently, wrapping its occupants in a cocoon of serenity. If that's all you're expecting, then the GS delivers. However, it can provide a lot more than that. That hybrid powertrain may be efficient, but it also boasts surprisingly swift acceleration.

The adaptive variable suspension that's optional on the regular GS 350 is standard on the hybrid, and constantly adapts to road and driving conditions to provide the best ride and handling possible. The system is driver-adjustable to include Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus settings, and besides the suspension, it also controls steering effort, throttle response and stability control intervention. Just want that silent and efficient commute? Stick with Eco or Normal. Feeling feisty or want to show your BMW-owning buddy that hybrids can have some fun, too? Dial up Sport Plus.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Lexus GS 450h Sedan

What's New for 2013

The Lexus GS 450h is completely redesigned for 2013.

Introduction

The previous Lexus GS 450h boasted V8 power with V6 fuel economy, which was certainly a worthwhile technological achievement. Most hybrid vehicle buyers care more about mpg than mph, though. That's why they expect their gasoline-electric vehicle to be much thriftier than the comparatively paltry 23 mpg EPA combined achieved by the outgoing GS 450h. (You can probably see where this is going.)

The completely redesigned, next-generation 2013 Lexus GS 450h returns 31 mpg EPA combined thanks to improvements made to both the gasoline-powered engine and the electric motors. Forget V6 fuel economy; that's equal to the humble Mini Cooper. More impressively, this efficiency has not been achieved by making the GS 450h a Prius-like slug. It might be a wee bit slower and less powerful than before, but it can still accelerate quicker than the regular GS 350 and also comes close to V8-powered luxury sedans.

Fuel efficiency isn't the only improvement for the 2013 GS 450h, however. The radically redesigned styling inside and out is the most obvious change, and we think it transforms the GS from forgettable to eye-catching. Length and wheelbase remain the same, but the chassis is pulled out wider by about 2 inches. An improved rear suspension design and a redesigned battery pack allow for more trunk space, which was a sore spot in the old GS.

There are significant mechanical changes, too. Revised suspension geometry, a stiffer body structure and a quicker steering system help make the GS the best-handling Lexus this side of the IS F or LFA. Yes, even in hybrid form. In fact, the Adaptive Variable Suspension that's optional on the GS 350 is standard here, improving both ride and handling.

Besides the cabin's modern new look, interior designers imposed a diet on various components, shaving pounds to keep weight down even as they also added a slew of new features like the Remote Touch infotainment system and sport seats with multiple adjustments. Longtime Lexus buyers needn't worry about quality either, as the GS maintains the brand's reputation for high-quality materials and excellent build quality. The electronics controls are more complicated this year, though.

In total, the 2013 Lexus GS 450h is a vastly more appealing car than the outgoing model. It's both a better hybrid and a better luxury sedan. However, despite its more fuel-efficient powertrain, a GS hybrid is still a dubious decision if it's made strictly to save money. When similarly equipped, a new 450h costs about $11,500 more than the similarly new 350. According to EPA fuel economy estimates, you'd have to own the 450h 19 years in order to pay off the hybrid price premium using fuel savings alone. True, that's better than the 57 years required to break even with the old car -- and you do get extra power -- but that's still a big chunk of change.

If you're interested in more than simply reducing your consumption of gasoline, then the GS 450h is one of the best luxury sedans available in which to do so. We still recommend checking out the cheaper Infiniti M35h and diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec, but neither can quite match that impressive 31 mpg of the GS.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Lexus GS 450h is the hybrid version of the regular GS 350 sedan, which is reviewed separately. There is only one body style and trim level available.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, adjustable drive settings, automatic and adaptive LED headlights, LED running lights, heated and auto-dimming mirrors, automatic wipers, a sunroof and keyless ignition/entry. Inside the cabin you get cruise control, "S-flow" automatic climate control (focuses air only to occupied seats), heated and ventilated eight-way power front seats with lumbar adjustment, driver memory functions, leather upholstery, a heated power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a power rear sunshade. Electronic features include Bluetooth phone connectivity, text-to-speech text messaging, the Safety Connect emergency communications service and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The optional navigation system brings with it a larger central display screen, Bluetooth phonebook downloading capability, voice controls, real-time traffic and other information, and the Enform suite of smartphone app features. The Luxury package adds 18-inch wheels, additional front seat adjustments, passenger memory functions, rear climate and audio controls, manual rear side sunshades and upgraded leather upholstery. The Luxury package can also be had with heated rear seats and a night vision camera system.

Stand-alone options include different 18-inch wheels, a rearview camera, an automated parallel parking system, an active lane-departure prevention system, adaptive cruise control and a pre-collision warning system, blind-spot monitoring and a head-up display.

Powertrains and Performance

Powering the 2013 Lexus GS 450h are a 3.5-liter gasoline V6 and a pair of electric motors. A total system output of 338 horsepower is sent to the rear wheels through a specialized continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

Lexus estimates that the GS 450h will go from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, a swift performance that slots in between six-cylinder and V8 midsize luxury sedans. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 29 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined.

Safety

Every 2013 Lexus GS 450h comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Also standard is the Lexus Safety Connect system, which includes automatic collision notification, an emergency assist button and stolen vehicle location services.

Optional features include a rearview camera, a night vision system, blind-spot monitoring and a lane-departure warning system that can steer you back into place should you fail to act. Adding the optional adaptive cruise control includes a pre-collision system that detects impending collisions and responds by pre-tensioning the seatbelts and activating brake assist.

Interior Design and Special Features

Complementing its physical and dynamic makeover, the 2013 Lexus GS line also gets a revised cabin. In the best Lexus tradition, it's a finely crafted interior marked by soft leather and rich wood and aluminum trim. Befitting this caliber of luxury sport sedan are seats that are firm and cosseting in equal measure, and limited only by the degree of power adjustments you choose.

The cabin also offers more space, with slightly more head- and shoulder room. The front seat has been lowered, meaning you now feel like you're sitting in the GS, not on it, and taller drivers won't find their hairĀ  grazing the roof. Rear seat passengers will also appreciate nearly 3 inches more hiproom compared to the previous model. Trunk space is also improved, as the battery pack has been repackaged to salvage an extra 3 cubic feet of space. Total cargo volume of 13.2 cubes isn't great for a midsize sedan, but it's better than many hybrid sedans can provide.

The Remote Touch multimedia controller -- a mouselike device that allows the user to move among a variety of icons on a large centrally located screen-- has also been revised. It's a nifty technological achievement, but in practice, we've found it can draw your eyes away from the road for too long. We recommend trying it out thoroughly on a test-drive.

Driving Impressions

As a luxury hybrid, the 2013 Lexus GS 450h goes about its business silently and efficiently, wrapping its occupants in a cocoon of serenity. If that's all you're expecting, then the GS delivers. However, it can provide a lot more than that. That hybrid powertrain may be efficient, but it also boasts surprisingly swift acceleration.

The adaptive variable suspension that's optional on the regular GS 350 is standard on the hybrid, and constantly adapts to road and driving conditions to provide the best ride and handling possible. The system is driver-adjustable to include Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus settings, and besides the suspension, it also controls steering effort, throttle response and stability control intervention. Just want that silent and efficient commute? Stick with Eco or Normal. Feeling feisty or want to show your BMW-owning buddy that hybrids can have some fun, too? Dial up Sport Plus.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 6 reviews) Write a Review


Almost 1 year later & still loving it

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Lexus GS 450h

It will be one year 12/28/14, since buying this car, and I love it. In town averaging 28-29; freeway 34-36--that compares to my Infiniti of 17 city, 23 freeway. The Lexus experience is also so much better than the San Diego Infiniti dealer. I have only 3900 miles at month 10, and one service. SD Lexus has been great. I also experienced zero defects thus far; also, much more than I can say about either of my Inifinitis. I would buy this car again. It drive and handles well, is quiet and a joy to be in. I have the luxury package, which I think helps improve the experience greatly. Trunk lighting is awful. I added an LED light in the trunk. It also needs more charging options.




28 months later and love the car even more

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Lexus GS 450h

I've had the car for 28 months now and actually love it more than I did in the beginning. As [twice] previously mentioned, I do not drive much, as I live in downtown San Diego, mostly walking to destinations. I now have less than 14K miles. I am averaging 29 in town, with 35-36 on the highway when driving to Palm Springs or Los Angeles. I have found driving in ECO mode is usually fine, unless I am in the desert (my car is black, so require full a/c there). Sport + is a totally fun experience, and I like that I can have it when I want it. There have [still] been zero warranty issues--not as much as a vibration. The first service experiences at San Diego Lexus were great--what a treat over the previous Infiniti experience. I recognize that this is a unique car, and most will buy the 350 rather than the 450h; but they are missing out on a true sleeper! This car is surprisingly fun to drive, comfortable and economical. It's not cheap to buy, but if one buys it at the end of the year like I did, one can make it a value close to that of the 350. I highly recommend this car.



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

2013 gs450h

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Lexus GS 450h

Purchased via Lexus' December to Remember event for $15K off sticker, so made purchase much easier. Price for this car is high for what it is. Black with flaxen seats and lux package for $60K--Because of valuation, was considering 2014 ES300h with Ultra, but this price made the GS450h more palatable. Beautiful car. Good mileage for such a large sedan. Great drive. Traded Infiniti FX35 (2009). Liked car, but dealer experience was awful. San Diego Lexus is great and complete opposite. I recommend this car to anyone--it has surprised even me how much I love it. The power in Sport + is awesome!




Beware of mpg claims on the gs450h

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Lexus GS 450h

In most respects, the GS450h is an excellent car. It inspires confidence and drives fine. But, there are two features that are unacceptable to this buyer: 1) Unless you purchase the Luxury pkg., you can't get the LED headlamps w/AFS. The regular bi-Xenon headlamps provide minimal illumination and are worse than any we've ever had on our Lexus autos; 2) Lexus claims that this car gets 34MPG average. While brand new, it only got 30.4 MPG. With less than 9K miles on it, this winter, we've gotten 29.2 MPG!. I'm on top of air pressure and I don't gun the car. So, it's not me; it's the car and Lexus's misleading claims.



1 of 7 people found this review helpful

Not so bright headlamps

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Lexus GS 450h

We traded up from RX's to the GS450h for efficiency and environmental reasons. But, the first time we drove at night was a revelation. The bi-xenon HID lights are simply no comparision to the bright and expansive headlamps we expected. They've checked them out thoroughly, but no, that's what you get. A critical component that nobody ever addresses! The LED lamps that come with the luxury package are impossible to find on any Lexus lot, so a comparison is, well, impossible to date. My suspicion is that the LED lights are better; otherwise, why would they be available only with the luxury package. Have you experienced the LEDs on a Lexus? We've driven the car a little over 1000 miles.



9 of 19 people found this review helpful

Luxurious with high performance and fuel efficiency!

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Lexus GS 450h

This vehicle is well worth the wait! Luxurious, sporty, high tech and fuel efficient. The technology is incredible. Within seconds my phone was synced to the bluetooth, all of my contacts were downloaded, and music was playing from my phone wirelessly. I can play Pandora, find an open table, search on Bing, etc. I can call a live person if I'm lost and have them map directions for me instantly. Everything works perfectly! The car has power with a smooth ride. Great gas mileage! Matte bamboo definitely complements the interior giving it a classy look. This car definitely far exceeded my expectations!!



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 29
  • cty
/
  • 34
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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