A Lexus hybrid meets The Moat

I had the chance to drive another hybrid a few weeks ago, and it was a nice one. But as fancy as it was, I was highly impressed with its off-road capabilities.

The Lexus RX 450h is not targeted toward hard-core off-roaders. It’s a luxury crossover made for people who like to be comfortable when they’re behind the wheel, and who don’t spend a lot of time off the pavement.

But that’s not to say it can’t get off the road. It’s a hybrid, so it rides great and gets about 30 miles to the gallon in the city and 28 on the highway, which is better than most other large crossovers. But it does pretty well on the dirt, too. When I had it, as usual, my driveway was a mess. We’d had several rain storms, and they left the road the consistency of cake batter. The RX 450h was outfitted with highway tires, which is no surprise, but those electric motors on the front and rear axles gave it all the torque it needed to get through that sloppy soup. I’d love to see how it would do with some gnarly mud and snow tires.

I realize most people who want a vehicle for hunting and fishing probably haven’t given much thought to a Lexus. At least, not a Lexus crossover. The Lexus GX and LX are built more with off-roading in mind. But most of us can’t run right out and spend $64,000 on a luxury vehicle, and then drop another $30 or $40 K on a separate ride to get to the hills. That’s why I test these vehicles to see if they have what it takes to get you to work during the week and up to the hills on your days off.

And the RX 450h has what it takes. I think the folks from Lexus were a little unhappy with me for how much mud was still crammed up underneath it when I returned it, but it didn’t seem to affect how it drove. It’s a rig that would get you around town efficiently and comfortably, but still get you down all but the worst forest roads.