This is a luxury car that happens to have a hybrid powertrain. Acceleration is slightly slower than the (non-hybrid) LS 600L, and fuel economy is only 1 mpg better, so Lexus justifies the hybrid powertrain by marketing the car as an alternative to other luxury models with a V12 engine. Since luxury car buyers generally aren’t concerned about fuel prices, think of the LS 600h as a way to reduce your carbon footprint without sacrificing luxury.
And the level of luxury in this car is beyond the average car-buyer’s imagination. Lexus has always been good at swaddling the car’s occupants, but this one has been compared with Rolls-Royce and Maybach. So maybe their marketing position is accurate.
Two electric motor/generators inside the transmission and a 5.0-liter V8 engine can generate 438 horsepower, and torque is delivered to all four wheels. The transmission has three driver-selectable modes – Normal, Power and Snow – and while the car weights 5,200 pounds, the powertrain should be adequate for any situation.
Being a Lexus, reliability is at or near the top of the heap, but like any other vehicle loaded with luxury features, some of them tend to ‘require attention’ as the vehicle ages. Repairs can be expensive at a Lexus dealership, but it can be hard to find an aftermarket shop willing to work on this one. Still, replacing normal wear items like fluids, brakes, etc. is no different from other vehicles, and any shop that advertises hybrid service should have no trouble.
There have been two safety recalls, one to replace a fuel pressure sensor gasket that can leak gasoline and one to replace the steering control unit. There was also a factory service bulletin about a faulty gas cap causing the Check Engine light to turn on.
Don’t buy this car because it’s a hybrid; buy it because it’s a super luxury car with a Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV).
To find a hybrid vehicle service shop near you, go to shop finder on this web site.