Standout Feature: Lexus RX 450h Head-Up Display
We're not fans of Lexus' Remote Touch multimedia system, but in the RX 450h, it's not as annoying. The joystick controller is better than the touchpad found in other Lexus models. The RX 450h does have one control system that impresses, however. Hit the "HUD" button to the left of the steering column and something delightful happens. There's a head-up display. And it provides useful information. And it doesn't disappear if the driver is wearing polarized sunglasses!
The available full-color head-up display is one of the more informative, intuitive and easily adjusted systems we've come across of late. It provides a host of useful information without requiring that the driver's eyes wander from the road. Most convenient are the directions from the available navigation system, which includes street names and upcoming turns. Driving in unfamiliar areas with the navigation on can turn into a bad impression of watching a tennis match, constantly looking to the right to see upcoming directions and then quickly back to the road.
Second most convenient is the inclusion of the lane departure warning system "lines" that light up if you stray too far out of your current lane of travel. It's a much better way to provide this information to the driver than the typical beeping that makes the car seem annoyed at you. Additional information includes current speed and a small meter that indicates how efficiently you're driving.
The kicker, though, is that the display can be seen even when wearing polarized sunglasses; it's not perfect while wearing them, and you'll probably have to increase the brightness, but it's there. Usually when driving a car with a head-up display you'll have to forego using it in favor of not being blinded by the sun.
Is it better than the Navdy system we recently reviewed? Probably not. The Navdy has more features and even includes gesture control. The color head-up display was a $600 option on this 450h while the Navdy is currently on sale for $499. Despite all that, the head-up display in the Lexus is still a standout feature in an otherwise nondescript vehicle.
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