When it comes to luxury, Lexus’ big daddy sedan, the LS 500, is king of the line-up. Recently, we were given the opportunity to test drive the LS 500H (hybrid) and we were quite impressed with the experience.
Setting benchmarks for nearly three decades, Lexus’ new LS model continues to improve for its fifth generation model. This time around, it debuted with a 10-speed automatic transmission — the first-ever in its class… and it gives the luxury sedan a noticeable boost in power and acceleration. For being such a large sedan, it drives as though its a sports car. It has immediate power when you step on the gas… and if you switch to Sport+ Mode, you can feel the horses under the hood. As for specifics, the LS has an all-new 3.5-liter twin turbocharged V6, delivering 416 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. Though the previous generation had a V8, you’re not stepping down in power.
In addition to performance, you’re also gaining ample mileage gains with the 500h. You’re getting 25/33 miles per gallon in city and highway, respectively, up from the (still-solid) 19/29 mpg for the standard LS500. In our test drive, we drove from North of Los Angeles to San Diego and back… and still had nearly a quarter tank left. Not bad at all.
Also, if you noticed, the exterior got a full makeover. The trademark spindle grille is there. Though some aren’t fans of it, we love the look it gives from a front-facing angle. It looks stylish from the curb… especially in person. Photos just do not do it justice. You have to see it for yourself. Everywhere we drove, people offered positive comments about its look.
The interior matches the exterior. Why wouldn’t it? It’s a luxury vehicle carrying a hefty price tag, so we’d expect this. It’s got all the bells and whistles and luxury detailing, from hand-stitched leather to glossy wood grain accenting. Our favorite detail, however, is the interior illumination, which Lexus says is inspired by traditional Japanese Andon lanterns. It offers soft low-level illumination that looks awesome during nighttime driving.
Overall, the interior is very roomy and quiet while in motion. There’s height-adjusting air suspension, plush leather, a large center dash display with everything you need, and a very comfy steering wheel for the driver.
One downside to the LS 500, however, is the trunk space. It’s not tiny, but it’s not huge either. It’s in-between. If you’re looking for a family vehicle with lots of trunk space for luggage or anything else, the LS 500 doesn’t really have it. There’s enough space there, but we wish there was a bit more.
In conclusion, the Lexus LS 500h is an impressive vehicle. It’s luxury all the way around, with a shot of performance in there for good measure. You’re paying for all that though. The 500h starts at nearly $80,000, with our specific model carrying a price tag of nearly $90,000. If you’re in the market and enjoy the Lexus brand, the LS 500h is definitely something you should take a look it. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience.
Special thanks to Lexus for providing us the vehicle, insurance and tank of gas for this review.