Sunday, October 08, 2006

Road Trip: Lexus Hybrid

In my role as a real Radio host, I am sometimes sought out to try out various products and services for the greater good. I realize this is a sacrifice on my part, but I am willing to shoulder this additional burden, and share with you the experiences and outcomes of my occasional exploration.

So when the folks at Lexus asked if I would mind driving a 2007 450h Hybrid sedan for a week, I demurred…but for only a moment.

There are many adjectives used to describe fine automobiles. When I first pushed the envelope on the new Lexus Hybrid, the only word that approached an accurate description was “magnificent.”
This car is truly a magnificent machine.

If you’ve been under the delusion that hybrid cars are stodgy, somewhat goofy-looking contraptions, short on pep, and long on fuel efficiency, Lexus will change your mind.
It's already beefy with a 3.5-litre V-6 producing 350-hp, but the 450h drivetrain is also coupled with a 197-hp electric motor through a continuously-variable transmission.

That one-two punch delivers an impressive zero-to-60mph velocity in 5.2-seconds. It’s definitely not a wimp on the highway, and it does turn heads when you pull up, with its classic, Lexus lines that are unmistakable anywhere.

Still, how many cars do you know that have a power meter where the tachometer usually is?

We took this car on a real road-trip to attend the wedding of a daughter of one of the principals in our company…who for some unknown reason, chose to build a home and raise a family in the middle of no-where, Texas.

Karnes City, Texas, to be more precise, which is about an hour south of San Antonio.

You really can’t get there from here without a fairly good knowledge of Texas geography and the layout of the state Farm-to-Market road system…or the 5th generation Lexus navigation system, which not only accurately guided us through every nook-and-cranny turn, but also calculated to the minute our exact arrival times.

We thought we were going to be late, too. No one likes to arrive late at a wedding, even if you’re driving a cool, new Lexus.

But as we set out, the estimated arrival time kept shrinking as the GPS system re-calculated our location, speed, and distance to travel. If you’ve ever wondered what a time machine might look like, Lexus has a sneak peek.

Lexus prices the new 450h at just under $60,000.
For a luxury automobile with neck-snapping acceleration and a miserly appetite for fuel, this just might be the last car you’d ever have to buy.

Of course, there's always next year...

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