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QUALITY | 6 out of 10
the GS 450h excels in small details
Car and Driver
bulky rear wheel arches intrude
trunk space is much tighter than other GS models
taller riders may not find enough backseat legroom
For a luxury car, the 2009 Lexus GS 450h could offer a lot more in terms of trunk space—not to mention peace and quiet.
Noise levels aboard the 2009 Lexus 450h are unacceptable for a luxury car in this price range. ConsumerGuide says that while this Lexus 2009 model "equals most any class rival for hushed refinement," it notes "coarse-surface tire thrum." Car and Driver reports that "with the waxing and waning of the power system, the [CV transmission] created a sonorous racket described by another chronicler as 'somewhere between a gas turbine and a vacuum cleaner.'"
Despite these noisy shortcomings, the 2009 450h retains the upscale interior materials of its siblings. Car and Driver acknowledges "the GS 450h excels in small details." Edmunds notes "a luxurious and well-crafted cabin" but adds "the control-oriented drop-down dash panel to the left of the steering wheel can get in the way of the driver's exit if left open."
Sacrifices to storage and space are necessary due to the battery placement in the 2009 Lexus GS 450h. Cars.com warns "due to intrusion from the hybrid system's two battery packs, trunk volume shrinks from 12.7 cubic feet in non-hybrid GS models to 7.5 cubic feet in the GS 450h." In addition, "bulky rear wheel arches intrude," and the "small opening makes for awkward loading," according to ConsumerGuide. This 2009 Lexus's harshest critic, Car and Driver, nonetheless concedes that "damped lids ease open to reveal small nooks, [and] hinged panels enhance the usefulness of door pockets."
ConsumerGuide notes that "six-footers get ample leg room, but only average head clearance...taller-still drivers will feel cramped." This source attests, however, that "seats are all-day comfortable." ForbesAutos confirms this impression: "seating is comfortable, though taller riders may not find enough backseat legroom or front-seat headroom." According to Edmunds, this Lexus 2009 model is "spacious enough for five passengers," but "accommodates four more comfortably as the elevated rear center cushion makes for a tighter fit in the middle position."
The 2009 Lexus GS 450h pays a price for its sexy styling and hybrid powertrain—namely, a cramped trunk and rear seat.