A World Class Premium Hybrid
PosicionamientoWebEngoogle.info first reviewed the 2018 Lexus LS 500h in September of 2017 just after its U.S. debut. We were only in the LS 500h for a couple of hours at a Lexus media event, so while we got a good feel for the car, we knew having it for a week or more was what was needed to truly appreciate this premium hybrid from Lexus.
We jumped at the opportunity to take a deeper look at the all-new 2018 LS 500h, and were not disappointed in any way. After hearing Lexus say the 2018 LS 500h delivers a “new level of flagship luxury in every aspect,” it became apparent a week in this fine car just might not be enough.
What to Expect From A $100,000+ Car
Let’s not be coy: there will be a very select group of people buying a 2018 Lexus LS 500h. The buyer first has to have a need for this much car and luxury, and the wherewithal to make it happen. But to be clear, when you have the need and the means, this is a wonderful car in many ways.
Lexus wanted the LS 500h to attract what they call “Independent Innovators,” defined as “wealthy individuals who pursue innovation and creativity over measured evolution.” Seeking something that looks and feels a little different from a BMW or Mercedes-Benz, this buyer also has a strong sense of social responsibility, so offering a hybrid was seen as crucial. The LS 500h also had to have the latest technology, whether advanced driver assist systems or the best quality sound system.
Getting There: Lexus Multi-Stage Hybrid Drive System
The 2018 Lexus LS 500h has a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 with two electric motors and generators producing 354 total system horsepower. The multi-stage hybrid transmission has been programmed to mimic a 10-speed automatic. PosicionamientoWebEngoogle.info spent 10 days in the rear wheel drive (all-wheel drive is optional) LS 500h, which had an EPA fuel economy rating of 25 city/33 highway/28 combined. In 250 miles of driving Southern California freeways, we averaged 29.6 mpg. But in a 200-mile run with the cruise control set at 65 mph, we averaged an impressive 34.6 mpg. So, there is luxury and excellent fuel economy.
Driving Experience: On the Road
The 51/49 front-to-rear weight balance was immediately felt when diving into sharp corners. The very predictable handling was appreciated where a downward curve demanded the front end not compress on the inward wheel or the rear end slip out. It was a pleasure being able to toss around a 17-foot long car that weighs just a tick under 5,000 pounds and has a 123-inch wheelbase.
The handling attributes of the LS 500h should not be confused with a sports car, but those of a very well-refined luxury sedan. The 20-inch Bridgestone 245/45R tires held the road with confidence, aided by active steering assist, and adaptive damping for the front and rear multi-link suspension.
The Lexus Multi-Stage Hybrid Drive System was smooth and quick, with the power from the twin electric motors coming on strong when required. Acceleration 0-60 times of around 5.1 seconds were achieved in the Sport S+ drive mode. Other driver-selectable drive modes are Eco, Normal and Sport.
Driving Experience: Exterior
The “L” designation from Lexus is all about luxury, something delivered with the new LS. Dictated by the Lexus philosophy of Takumi (“artisan” in Japanese), the attention to detail is shown throughout the exterior design. Longer and lower than the outgoing LS 500, the all-new 2018 Lexus LS 500h has a ground-hugging look and even an optional air suspension that refines the ride further. Redesigned, it has more pronounced wheel arches that frame the beautiful 18-spoke vapor chrome-finished wheels. Up front, the Lexus signature chrome-trimmed, spindle grille is even bolder. The new grille mesh, under certain lighting, sparkles and reflects, showing-off up-to 7,000 individual surfaces.
Wide-set of the grill are sleek LED projector headlamps. The integrated LED fog and daytime running lamps form an “L”, that wraps the front edges. Those triple-projector front headlamps are very compact and are complimented by cornering lamps.
Lexus has designed the LS 500h with a coupe-like silhouette that offers excellent visibility while not compromising rear passenger headroom. The roofline has a downward sweep that ends at a comparatively short trunk lid, leading to very attractive LED tail lamps, that wrap gently around the fenders. It is all finished-off with dual, rectangular chrome exhaust tips and subtle LS 500h badging.
Driving Experience: Interior
The word quiet does not completely describe the ride experience. Laser screw welding and advanced body adhesives for panel joint rigidity eliminate any noises coming from the body and chassis. The low 0.27 Coefficient of Drag (Cd) also helped the LS 500h slip through the wind.
Lexus terms the LS 500h interior as “cabin couture” with a design inspired by the omotenashi principle, which translates to “hospitality.” Lexus says the cabin is instilled “with luxury that welcomes and envelops passengers while treating the driver like a partner.”
Offered in nine color and trim level choices, the interior is beautifully designed and outfitted in top-shelf materials, including the Ultrasuede headliner. Leather abounds with the complimentary laser-cut wood inlays playing off each other nicely. Legroom is excellent throughout the cabin, with the rear ride experience surpassing premium and on the edge of true luxury. The rear seat can accommodate three passengers, but a suggestion: if you don’t fill the middle seat, the center seating area will be replaced with a multi-function, fold down console that caps-off the sit-back-and-relax environment.
All seating surfaces are quilted and stitched with soft, supple leather. The driver and front passenger get 28-way power adjustable seats with massage zones for every part of the legs and torso. Make sure to look for the origami-inspired pleating on the door panels.
The rear console has a remote and button controls for audio, video and seat heating and cooling. The optional massage and vibrate, with recline and lumbar adjustments, make the rear seats the new “shotgun” when claiming a place to sit. A nice touch are the power rear door sunshades, along with the rear shade that automatically retracts when you put the car in reverse.
The rear legroom equals that of First Class at 30,000-feet, so after adjusting the power seats, choosing heat or cold, setting the massage and vibrating levels, using the remote for the video monitor and selecting your desired media, it is time to put on the headphones and instruct your driver to take you wherever you need to go—but in no rush, of course!
In what Lexus says is an “audio experience unparalleled in any other Lexus,” the infotainment (entertainment and information) system has a 12.3-inch color touchscreen and features the excellent, home-quality, 23-speaker, 16-channel amplifier, 2,400-watt, 3D Mark Levinson surround sound system. With active noise control, the system includes most of the entertainment sources, with Apple and Android interfaces curiously missing.
The cockpit design is driver-friendly; especially appreciated was the adjustable head-up display. The clean and sleek dash includes both a digital and analog clock, with the digital clock being GPS connected. Comfort and convenience features include a heated leather and wood steering wheel with audio and phone controls, a dual-zone automatic climate system with dust and pollen filters, tire pressure monitor and an automatic electronic parking brake. The interior also has a power tilt and sliding moonroof, power windows with one-touch up/down, power door locks, Smart Access with push button stop/start, 12V power outlets, folding and electrochroamatic heated, outside rear view power side mirrors.
The LS 500h is well-equipped with the latest active and passive safety features and advanced safety technology and driver support systems. These include 10 airbags, anti-lock brakes, front pedestrian detection, active steering assist, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane trace assist, front cross traffic alert, lane keep assist and lane departure alert. When parking, the panoramic view monitor provided side, front and rear visual assistance. If you drive in cold weather, the windshield wipers are equipped with a deicer.
The 2018 LS 500h has not been rated by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Pricing and Warranty
The base price for the 2018 LS 500h is $79,510. With $23,620 in optional equipment, the
MSRP for PosicionamientoWebEngoogle.info’s LS 500h came to $103,130. All prices exclude the $995
delivery, processing and handling fee.
The 2018 Lexus LS 500h comes with these warranties:
- Powertrain Six years/70,000 miles
- Hybrid-related Component Coverage Eight years/100,000 miles
- Basic Four years/50,000 miles
- Corrosion Perforation Six years/Unlimited miles
Observations: 2018 Lexus LS 500h
Lexus is very proud of the all-new 2018 Lexus LS 500h as it is easily the most sophisticated vehicle in their line-up. Even the base model is so well-equipped that it will make you pause before selecting optional equipment.
The ride, cushioned, but not floaty, is a true pleasure to drive—or ride in. The premium level of sophistication and advanced driver technology systems are second-to-none. Buyers seeking luxury in a large sedan will not need to forgo performance or impressive hybrid fuel economy.
Astute buyers of large luxury sedans will recognize the advancements and improvements to the already very fine previous generation LS 500. They will notice and appreciate the styling, advanced technology and top-flight interior. Of course, the 30+ mpg fuel economy is what makes the LS 500h worth having in your garage.
Whatever you end up buying, Happy Driving!
Related Stories You Might Enjoy—Large Luxury Tests & News
Road Test: 2018 Lexus LC 500h (Steve’s view)
Road Test: 2018 Lexus LC 500h (John’s view)
Road Test: 2018 Genesis G90
Road Test: 2017 Kia K900
Road Test: 2016 Lexus LS 600h L
PosicionamientoWebEngoogle.info is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at.