2020 Lexus LS 500h AWD
Class: Premium Large Car
Miles driven: 560
Fuel used: 22.7 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 24.6 mpg
Driving mix: 40% city, 60% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 23/31/26 (city/highway combined)
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B-|
|Power and Performance||B|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||354-hp 3.5-liter|
|Engine Type||V6 hybrid|
Fuel type: Premium Gas
Base price: $83,180 (not including $1025 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Lexus Safety System + A ($3000), adaptive variable air suspension with rapid height ($1500), 20-inch split 10-spoke alloy wheels with Vapor Chrome finish ($1200), 24-inch head-up display ($1200), LED headlamps with adaptive front lighting system ($300), Luxury Package ($12,250), Mark Levinson audio system ($1940), Panoramic View Monitor ($800), premium wood trim ($800), heated wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel ($410)
Price as tested: $107,605
The great: Sumptuous, high-quality interior; good selection of comfort and convenience features
The good: Dramatic styling inside and out; capable handling for a large car; respectable fuel economy
The not so good: Some infotainment controls are tricky to use; occupant space isn’t outstanding for a flagship large car; ride quality isn’t as comfy as most class rivals
Lexus’s big sedan plays a stealthier role in the brand’s showroom than it once did. These days, the LS takes a back seat to a cadre of crossovers and SUVs, all but one of which outsells this would-be flagship passenger car.
Redesigned for the 2018 model year, the LS 500, LS 500 F Sport, and hybrid LS 500h have changed little since. The big news for 2020 is the LS 500 Inspiration Series. Limited to 300 examples, the Inspiration comes only with Deep Garnet paint and 20-inch Vapor Chrome wheels. As of this writing, most of the available Inspiration Series LSs seem to have been spoken for, though a few may still be available.
All 2020 LS models come standard with Lexus’s Safety System + 2.0, a suite of safety features that includes all-speed adaptive cruise control, pre-collision system with daytime bicycle detection and low-light pedestrian detection, road-sign assist, and lane-keep assist. Also available is the Lexus Safety System+ A, a $3000 package that builds on the Safety System + 2.0 by adding more advanced features, such as lane-change assist, front cross-traffic alert, and a front lateral side pre-collision system.
Consumer Guide’s test LS 500h AWD—the h is for hybrid–came equipped with Lexus Safety System+ A along with a number of noteworthy options, lifting the $83,180 starting price to $107,605.
Accounting for most of the sizable gap between the base price and the bottom line is the $12,250 Luxury Package, which includes a host of coddling features such as adaptive LED headlamps, quilt-stitched perforated premium leather upholstery, 28-way power-adjustable front seats with multi-function massage, Ultrasuede headliner, power-reclining rear seats, four-zone climate control, power rear side-window sunshades, and a rear 7-inch touchscreen that’s contained in the fold-down center armrest.
Our test LS was also equipped with 20-inch alloy wheels, upgraded wood cabin trim, a heated wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel, 24-inch head-up display, and a 23-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system.
Conventional LS 500 models are powered by a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 rated at 416 horsepower. The 500h comes with a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 augmented by electric motors, for a total output of 354 horsepower. Both engines are offered with rear- or all-wheel drive.
On the road, the hybrid powertrain feels very much like a conventional-engine setup, with little in the way of regenerative braking or engine stop/start operation compromising the overall smoothness.
Power is strong from a stop, and the transmission—which combines a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a stepped 4-speed-automatic gear set—responds crisply to demands for downshifts.
Overall ride quality is good, but not quite flagship exceptional, with larger road imperfections registering with the occasional rough-edged thud. Opinions were mixed among our editors regarding the LS 500h’s handling; some thought it offered laudably crisp moves for its size and heft, others thought it felt somewhat isolated from the road and didn’t handle with the same precision of a BMW 7-Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
The LS cabin is finished in a Lexus-typical restrained manner, with high-grade materials applied in a tasteful manner. What impresses most is the apparent workmanship and attention to detail. The cabin—and indeed the entire car—feel as if they were hand assembled by craftsmen hellbent on building a car to last for decades, a thing for which Lexus has a reputation.
The cabin disappoints in terms of roominess, however, providing less interior space than the car’s overall size suggests it would. Big and tall occupants might find the accommodations a bit cozier than they’d like. The cabin is quiet, however, and can be a pleasant place for passengers to spend time while covering long distances.
Our test car returned 24.6 mpg over 560 miles with a slight majority of highway driving. That number is respectable, given the power on tap and the size and heft of this car, and right in line with the previous LS 500h we tested.
Unlike the German cars in this class, LS prices have not climbed significantly in recent years. Additionally, Lexus resale values help to defray this large sedan’s hefty retail price. Still, the LS just isn’t the class standout that most Lexus products are, especially the RX midsize crossover and the ES midsize sedan.
2020 Lexus LS 500h Gallery
2020 Lexus LS 500h