Lexus RX 450h
As the price of a barrel of oil fell from last year’s high of $150 to about $40 earlier this year, the demand for hybrids dropped. But the supply of hybrid vehicles is stronger than ever, and one of the finest examples is the family-friendly Lexus RX 450h (www.lexususa.com). The RX 450h combines a 3.5-liter V-6 engine with either two (front-wheel-drive version) or three (all-wheel-drive version) electric motors to offer 32 mpg or 30 mpg, respectively, in city driving. The engine system produces 295 hp, a 27 hp improvement over the RX 400h, which the 450h replaced. The new model seats two adults and three children comfortably and has room in the rear for gear or groceries. Features include a voice-activated navigation system and an optional head-up display. Among the other options are LED headlights, a Mark Levinson surround-sound system, and radar-based adaptive cruise control.