8. Lexus RX450h: Hybrid Mileage, Hyperdrive looks
Base-price range: $53,185-$57,995
EPA fuel-economy rating: 31/30/30 mpg city/highway/combined 2wd, 30/28/30 awd
Luxury? Check. Refinement, reliability, and resale value? Check. Styling? Um… The all-new 2016 RX is the fourth-generation of the midsize five-passenger wagon that spawned the luxury-crossover class back in 1998. It retains the attributes made this the world’s best-selling premium crossover, now in slightly larger, roomier package. The cabin’s upscale look and feel were always selling points and they’re elevated further for ’16. Two powertrains return, both with more muscle.
Most buyers choose the gas V-6, but the hybrid’s earned a loyal following for its polished manner and earth-friend image. It’s again the most powerful RX, too, now with a net 308 horsepower from its V-6 and electric-motor combo; the gas-only RX350 has 295. And while it costs some $10,000 more than the RX350, it’s significantly more fuel efficient, by a margin of 36 percent in combined city-highway ratings. The RX450h comes with front-wheel drive or with a second electric drive motor to power the rears for all-wheel drive. You can get it in jazzy F Sport
guise, with 20-inch wheels, extra-bolstered front buckets, unique trim, and a firmer suspension that sharpens the comfort-oriented crossover’s road manners. Standard features include leather upholstery, wood interior accents, navigation, moonroof, heated and cooled front seats, and a power liftgate that opens automatically when you gesture toward its Lexus badge. As for the styling: Toyota
’s premium brand wants to be edgy and this conglomeration of gapes and slants is its idea of how to get there. You along for the ride?