2017 Lexus GS 450h

2017 Lexus GS 450h Sedan Review

When luxury and fuel economy are must-haves, the 2017 Lexus GS 450h should be on your short list.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Jason Kavanagh
Edmunds Editor
There are two major types of hybrids: those that are designed from the ground up exclusively as hybrids and those that are adaptations of conventional cars. Typically, those in the latter group struggle with managing the additional weight of the hybrid components (particularly the large, heavy battery), suffering degradations in ride quality and handling.

With the GS 450h, Lexus has managed to avoid these common pitfalls. Despite being a hybridized version of a conventional sedan, the GS 450h still rides quite well and handles commendably well. And this isn't some tepid hybrid system either — the GS 450h's elevated fuel economy makes it one of the most fuel-efficient luxury sedans available, and acceleration is still strong. The main downside to this car is the substantial price premium compared to other GS models.



what's new

The 2017 Lexus GS 450h is unchanged aside from the addition of last year's formerly optional collection of driver safety aids (Lexus Safety System+) as standard equipment.

we recommend

Available trim levels for the 2017 Lexus GS 450h number precisely one, greatly simplifying the task of deciding on how to tailor one to your liking. Furthermore, there is only one option package and just a few standalone options available. Go for the Mark Levinson premium audio system if you are discriminating about sound quality.

trim levels & features

The 2017 Lexus GS 450h is available in one well-equipped trim level. Standard features are plentiful, leaving only a handful of options to decide on, chief among them the Mark Levinson premium audio system. Under the hood of the GS 450h is a 3.5-liter V6 mated to a hybridized continuously variable transmission that delivers power to the rear wheels. Bolstered by the battery-fed electric motor, the GS 450h delivers a total output of 338 horsepower, though it's the boost in low-end torque that is most noticeable when, say, driving away from stoplights.

Standard feature highlights include 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, heated and ventilated power front seats, leather upholstery, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, the Remote Touch infotainment interface, a navigation system, voice controls, smartphone app integration, a 12.3-inch display screen and a 12-speaker sound system. A variety of driver safety aids (blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and the Lexus Safety System+ suite of advanced active safety features) are also included.

Notable options include that 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system we recommend plus heated rear seats and the F Sport package, which includes 19-inch wheels, special exterior and interior styling, a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive dampers, enhanced steering (variable gear-ratio and rear-wheel steering) and sport front seats.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2014 Lexus GS 450h (3.5L V6; hybrid; CVT automatic).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

3.5 / 5.0

Acceleration3.0 / 5.0
Braking3.0 / 5.0
Steering3.0 / 5.0
Handling3.0 / 5.0
Drivability3.5 / 5.0

Comfort

4.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.5 / 5.0
Ride comfort4.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.5 / 5.0

Interior

4.5 / 5.0

Ease of use3.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.0 / 5.0
Roominess4.5 / 5.0
Visibility4.5 / 5.0
Quality4.0 / 5.0

Utility

3.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.5 / 5.0
Cargo space3.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
Lexus says the 2017 GS 450h is the quickest GS you can buy, but our tests show it's slightly slower than the standard car. Its handling is intuitive and well balanced, though it lacks the outright grip of F Sport-equipped cars. Still, this is a solid performer with rewarding driving character.

acceleration

edmunds rating
Acceleration is smooth and uninterrupted with 60 mph arriving in only 6.0 seconds, which is average for a midsize luxury sedan. The GS feels rapid and responsive thanks to abundant torque.

braking

edmunds rating
Overall braking composure is good, but very savvy drivers will notice that the brake pedal feels a bit inconsistent at low speeds. In our panic-brake test, the GS 450h stopped from 60 mph in 122 feet, which is average for the segment.

steering

edmunds rating
The Lexus GS 450h goes where you point it for most situations. The steering effort is adjustable, but the feedback is minimal. Overall, the sedan strikes a good balance between everyday usability and available performance in its steering tuning.

handling

edmunds rating
More capable than it needs to be, the GS 450h will hustle when it's asked but never feels uncomfortable as a result. It offers higher limits than most drivers will explore. Its limits are lower than those of non-hybrid cars in the segment, however.

drivability

edmunds rating
The GS 450h, because of its abundant torque, is responsive and easy to drive, which is unusual in a CVT-equipped car. It's also very quiet.

comfort

edmunds rating
A luxury hybrid with sporting intentions isn't a car we'd expect to sacrifice all else in the name of comfort, but the GS 450h does a nice job of splitting the difference. It's amply comfortable when that's what you want.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The heated and ventilated front leather seats are a highlight. Comfort is good even after extended driving. Adjustments are abundant but not always intuitive. There's excellent thigh support, though some drivers might find the seat bottoms a bit flat.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
An active, adaptive variable suspension (part of the optional F Sport package) helps this GS 450h split the difference between sport sedan and proper Lexus. The ride is generally smooth and controlled with little harshness on rough roads in Normal mode. Sport+ mode is stiff.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
There's precious little wind noise, even at high speed, just as you'd expect from Lexus. The powertrain is particularly quiet, and electric mode provides near noise-free motoring below about 25 mph.

interior

edmunds rating
A large, highly functional interior with very good materials and high assembly quality is slightly offset by a unique but awkward infotainment control setup.

ease of use

edmunds rating
The highlight and downfall of the GS' otherwise-logical interior is the Remote Touch infotainment interface. It's a novel approach, but it's confusing and inconsistent and demands too much attention.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
In traditional Lexus fashion, the GS is built for real people. The doors are wide, the sills are narrow, and the seats are relatively high. It's very easy to get in and out of.

roominess

edmunds rating
The GS is a big car, and the interior reflects that. Front passengers will enjoy lots of hip-, leg- and headroom as well as shoulder room. The story is the same in the back unless you are very tall.

visibility

edmunds rating
There's excellent forward visibility thanks to small pillars and minimal blind spots. Front and rear parking sensors and a rear camera take care of the rest. Fantastic high-beam headlights on the open road.

quality

edmunds rating
Lexus cars are built to a high standard, and the GS 450h is no exception. The interior materials are stunning, and the controls offer precise feel. Body panels are well matched, and gaps are consistent. It's what we expect at this price.

utility

edmunds rating
The sedan's useful variety of interior storage options is offset by a small trunk and a backseat that doesn't fold down.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
Has a useful glovebox, two cupholders ahead of the shifter and a medium-sized center console that opens wide. The front door pockets are decent-sized, but they won't hold a water bottle. The rear door pockets are small but will fit a bottle. The rear center armrest has a storage bin and cupholders.

cargo space

edmunds rating
Because of the hybrid battery pack, the trunk offers just 13.2 cubic feet of space, which isn't much more than what you get from a typical compact sedan. The rear seatbacks don't fold either.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
Has two pairs of LATCH anchors at the bottom and three top-tether anchors along the top. Bottom LATCH anchors are tightly recessed between the seat cushions, though. Rear legroom is generous enough for most rear-facing seats to fit, but tall front occupants might still have to scoot up some.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.