2018 Lexus LS 500h Review: Because There Has To Be A Hybrid

– San Francisco, California

Fuel economy still matters to buyers who can afford a car approaching six-figure territory, but that doesn’t mean hybrid variants of luxury sedans are especially popular. Lexus expects this hybrid version will account for only about 10 percent of all 2018 Lexus LS sales; when we’re talking about a car projected to sell 1,000 units per month in the U.S., that’s not much. But spending some time behind the wheel reveals that the LS hybrid ably manages to blend its virtues of thriftiness and stateliness.

Its powertrain is borrowed from the LC 500h coupe: there’s a port- and direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to two electric motor/generators, along with a complicated transmission that combines both a CVT and a four-speed automatic. Otherwise, though, you’ll find all the same luxury touches and features as in the regular Lexus LS 500, meaning this hybrid is a pretty pleasant way to save fuel behind the wheel.




Drives like a non-hybrid. Aside from the powertrain (more on that below), the LS 500h feels just like the non-h models. The brake-blending is flawless, with almost no discernible difference in pedal feel or travel between the regenerative and friction brakes; that makes smooth, predictable stops easy. The steering and suspension, too, closely mimic those of the non-hybrid. If you take away the engine, then, the hybrid drives just as well as the standard LS: smooth, competent, and easy to use.

The subtle hybrid. There are no glaring i...