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MSRP: $63,635 - 68,680

2018 Lexus GS Hybrid Review

The 2018 Lexus GS Hybrid sits in the middle of our luxury midsize car rankings. It has an energetic powertrain, a quality interior, and excellent safety and predicted reliability ratings. However, its infotainment controls are frustrating to use.

Pros & Cons

  • Refined, quiet cabin
  • Comfortable, spacious seats
  • Impressive list of standard safety and technology features
  • Lively, refined hybrid powertrain

 

  • Cumbersome, distracting infotainment controller
  • Mediocre fuel savings for a hybrid
  • Much pricier than other GS models

 

Is the Lexus GS Hybrid a Good Car?

Yes, the Lexus GS Hybrid is a good car. This luxury sedan makes a great family vehicle for several reasons. It boasts a smooth ride and two rows of comfortable, supportive seats. The hybrid powertrain eagerly responds when you hit the gas pedal, and the GS Hybrid's cabin features plenty of premium materials. One drawback is that the infotainment system can be distracting to use while on the move.

Should I Buy the Lexus GS Hybrid?

It makes plenty of sense for luxury midsize car shoppers to consider the GS 450h. As you might expect, it gets decent fuel economy. It also has a high predicted reliability rating and confidence-inspiring safety scores. However, for all its positives, this Lexus may not be the best value because of its high starting price. If you are worried about the impact on your wallet, you can get the rival BMW 530e plug-in hybrid for far less than this Lexus. You may also want to check out the Lexus GS 300, which is the GS 450h's nonhybrid counterpart.

Compare the GS Hybrid, GS and 530e »

Should I Buy a New or Used Lexus GS Hybrid?

Lexus launched the GS Hybrid's current generation for the 2013 model year and has since made few major changes. The 2016 model received updated exterior styling, and the 2017 model received new standard driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alerand forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking. 

You can potentially save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used car instead of a new one, though be aware that older models may not have as many features. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 Lexus GS Hybrid and 2017 Lexus GS Hybrid. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 GS Hybrid »
We Did the Research for You: 28 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about the Lexus GS 450h hybrid in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with 28 professional reviews. Our 2018 GS Hybrid review incorporates applicable data and research from the 2013 through 2018 model years, which are all the years since the car's debut.

Why You Can Trust Us

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Lexus GS Hybrid Cost?

Prices for the Lexus GS 450h hybrid start at $63,635. In comparison, the MSRP of the BMW 530e (the plug-in hybrid edition of the 5 Series) is listed as $52,650. The sticker price of the Volvo S90 with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain starts at $63,650. Lexus also offers a gas-only GS (which we review separately). Its starting prices range from $46,310 (for the GS 300) to $84,350 (for the GS F).

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

Lexus GS Hybrid Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Lexus GS Hybrid or BMW 5 Series?

The BMW 5 Series lineup includes a competitor for the GS Hybrid: the plug-in hybrid 530e. The BMW hybrid gets better gas mileage, and its base price is lower by more than $10,000. It also has more user-friendly technology than the Lexus.

Which Is Better: Lexus GS Hybrid or Volvo S90?

The Volvo S90 offers a plug-in hybrid option that is similar to the GS 450h in many ways. They both have similar prices, along with plenty of standard features and attractive, well-built interiors. Like many other rivals, the Volvo's infotainment system is unquestionably superior to the one in the Lexus. However, the Volvo S90 has a below-average predicted reliability rating, which is a major reason it trails the GS Hybrid in our rankings. Go with the GS 450h over the S90 plug-in hybrid.

Which Is Better: Lexus GS Hybrid or Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a great choice for those who don't want a hybrid powertrain. It delivers engaging performance, and the cabin stands above many competitors in terms of comfort and luxury. This isn't a good pick if you're seeking a fuel sipper, however, as the E-Class has below-average fuel economy.

Compare the GS Hybrid, 5 Series, and S90 »

GS Hybrid Interior

How Many People Does the GS Hybrid Seat?

The GS 450h has seating for five people. It pampers occupants with leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and a rear window sunshade – all standard. There are ample adjustments for the front seats and lots of legroom in both rows.

GS Hybrid and Car Seats

For child safety seats, the GS Hybrid has a tether anchor on every rear seat and two sets of lower anchors on the rear outboard seats.

GS Hybrid Interior Quality

The GS Hybrid has a sophisticated cabin built with the finest materials. Supple leather covers the seats and other surfaces, and standard trim choices include aluminum and open-pore walnut.

GS Hybrid Cargo Space

The battery pack takes up some of the GS Hybrid's cargo space. As a result, the GS 450h hybrid has a 15.9-cubic-foot trunk, while the nonhybrid GS 300 measures 18.4 cubic feet. Though the 450h's trunk is smaller many other luxury midsize cars, it provides more cargo space than you'll get in the back of a Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

GS Hybrid Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Heading up the base infotainment system is a sleek 12.3-inch display screen. Other highlights of this system include enhanced smartphone integration (linking you with apps like Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Yelp), a DVD player, advanced voice commands, and navigation. The downfall of the system is its main controller: a flat knob with mouselike movements used for most infotainment settings. The controller is awkward and requires an excessive amount of the driver's attention.

Read more about interior »

GS Hybrid Performance

GS Hybrid Engine: Quick on the Draw

The GS 450h powertrain includes a V6 engine, two electric motors, and a continuously variable automatic transmission. This is the same size engine that the gas-only GS 350 employs, but the 450h has more horsepower (338 versus 311), and its electric motors yield faster takeoffs. The powertrain is very smooth, even when transitioning between power sources.

GS Hybrid Gas Mileage: Mediocre for a Hybrid

The GS Hybrid gets 29 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. That's better fuel economy than the gas-only GS 300 (22/32 mpg), but not by much. You can get better gas mileage with a plug-in hybrid like the BMW 530e or Volvo S90 T8, which have mpg-equivalent ratings of 72 and 71, respectively.

GS Hybrid Ride and Handling: Smooth Cruiser

The GS Hybrid is rear-wheel drive only (Lexus doesn't offer all-wheel drive for this model). If you want to enhance performance, select the F Sport package, which adds sport-tuned brake, steering, and suspension components. The ride is predictable and smooth, and though the hybrid GS is heavier than nonhybrid editions, the 450h still retains a measure of agility.

Read more about performance »

GS Hybrid Reliability

Is the Lexus GS Hybrid Reliable?

The 2018 GS Hybrid has an above-average predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Lexus GS Hybrid Warranty

Lexus covers the GS Hybrid with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty, and an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty for hybrid-related components.

Read more about reliability »

GS Hybrid Safety

GS Hybrid Crash Test Results

Although the 2018 Lexus GS Hybrid has not undergone crash evaluations, the nonhybrid GS has been sparingly tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The GS earned the top grade of Good in all three crash tests conducted, and its pre-collision system with pedestrian braking (a standard safety feature) received a score of Basic for front crash prevention.

GS Hybrid Safety Features

Every GS Hybrid comes with forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, automatic high beams, rain-sensing windshield wipers, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. Safety options include parking sensors and a head-up display.

Read more about safety »

Which Lexus GS Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

The GS Hybrid comes in one main trim. You can also add the performance-oriented F Sport package ($5,045) and goodies such as a 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system. Almost every amenity comes standard, including an impressive suite of safety features and a feature-rich infotainment system. Shoppers looking for a sporty sedan will likely want to check the box for the GS Hybrid F Sport, but most others should be content with the well-equipped base model.

Lexus GS Hybrid

The GS Hybrid ($63,635) comes standard with leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a rear window sunshade, dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, a proximity key, and push-button start. Accompanying its infotainment system is a 12.3-inch display screen, navigation, smartphone integration via the Enform App Suite, a 12-speaker audio system, a DVD entertainment system, Bluetooth, a USB port, Siri Eyes Free, satellite radio, and HD Radio. Standard safety features include forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, a rearview camera, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, automatic high beams, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Lexus GS Hybrid F Sport

The performance-oriented F Sport package upgrades the brake, steering, and suspension systems. Other added features in the $68,680 GS Hybrid F Sport include aluminum trim, a 16-way power-adjustable driver's seat with power bolsters, and unique styling elements.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

See 2018 Lexus GS Hybrid specs and trims »

The Final Call

Set the 2018 GS 450h side by side with gas-only models like the GS 300 and GS 350, and the hybrid version pulls ahead with brisker acceleration and better fuel economy. You'll have to decide if these gains are worth its higher sticker price, though. The good news is that you'll find most other GS 450h traits (such as its sumptuous interior and solid reputation for reliability) in less expensive GS trim levels.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "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." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2017 Lexus GS midsize luxury sedan has evolved into a resounding success. This generation launched in 2013 and it has improved step by step with each model year. The suspension feels like something straight out of Germany, conveying substance and control in equal measure. Steering response is just as impressive, particularly with the F Sport model's active rear steering system. Even the interior suggests a German influence, reminding us of the previous-generation BMW 5 Series with its top-quality materials and restrained design. … the overall package of the GS, including its strong resale values, makes a compelling argument." -- Autotrader
  • "Proving a car can be both eco-friendly and still fun to drive, the 2016 Lexus GS 450h hybrid elevates fuel economy without undermining acceleration or performance. When stacked up against the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series or Cadillac CTS, the GS proves a worthy competitor, offering similar levels of performance and technology plus superior long-term reliability and resale figures." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
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