Lexus LS 600h 2008 – 2013

 

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.

ACDC’s Rating:

2-thumbs-up

Lexus ES 300h 2013

This car is an entry-level luxury sedan that gets great gas mileage (40 mpg), has plenty of room inside and has lots of luxury features. Lots of them. Many features were offered as individual options, so there can be a lot of differences between different vehicles.

It shares the same platform as the gasoline-powered ES 350 and Toyota Camry. The 2.5-liter engine and electric motors generate a maximum of 200 horsepower. Packaged in a front-wheel-drive car that weighs almost 3,700 pounds, that much power is merely adequate by today’s standards, but due to the torque characteristics of an electric motor, it gets off the line quite nicely.

A long list of safety features includes Lexus Safety Connect, a telematics system with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location and an emergency assist button. Options include parking assist, lane departure and blind-spot warnings, adaptive cruise control (which maintains a specific distance behind the vehicle in front), and much more.

Lexus quality has been ranked Number One in the J. D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study for the past five years in a row, and this car is no exception. We found a Technical Service Bulletin that calls for reprogramming the engine control unit to correct a camshaft timing problem, but that’s the most serious issue with this car so far. The dealership is best equipped to handle repairs to most of the options and luxury features, but any repair shop that’s properly equipped to service a Toyota Prius can easily perform normal maintenance on this Lexus.

To find a hybrid vehicle service shop near you, go to shop finder on this web site.

ACDC’s Rating:

2-thumbs-up