2009 Lexus LS Hybrid Interior
The 2009 Lexus LS 600h, in the collective opinion of the automotive press, offers one of the finest sedan interiors in the world. Supple leathers, fine woods and advanced electronics make it just one step short of hand-built exotic cars. An epic sound system is singled out for particular praise by nearly every reviewer. Most also take the time to point out that the self-parking feature is overrated.
- "As the most expensive model in the Lexus lineup, this flagship is as fully loaded as anything you'll find. It has everything you'd ever want, and some things you didn't even know you wanted...The cabin of the Lexus LS 600h L is at the top of its class." -- Edmunds
- "The room inside is cavernous, the rear seating almost limousine-like, with the leather-wrapped dash, hourglass-shaped center-stack fascia and luminous gauges similar to - yet slightly evolved from - the previous LS." -- Road and Track
- "Has an exceedingly quiet ride, and it offers a lushly comfortable interior." -- San Jose Mercury News
- "As regal as you'd expect in a car of this category, and then some." -- Forbes
The 600h L seats four in exemplary comfort, though five is a tight fit. The front seats are 16-way power adjustable, heated and cooled, with memory functions for both driver and passenger. Optional heated and cooled reclining rear seats, each with their own climate control zone, are available.
- "The LS460 impresses with its all-day-comfortable 16-way power driver's seat, which is now quite supportive."-- Car and Driver
- "Offers almost five inches more legroom than the standard LS. This permits especially generous passenger seating options." -- New Car Test Drive
- "Spoils rear-seat occupants with its spacious accommodations." -- Cars.com
- "Although three people can sit back there, it's much more comfortable with just two, and there is a pull-down center armrest that takes up the space where the third person would sit." - Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The LS 600h's interior includes nearly every imaginable piece of cabin electronics. Everything from power door closers to a voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic reports and an internal hard drive that can store thousands of songs is standard equipment. Reviewers praise the Optitron gauges for their beauty and ease of use. The LS 600h lacks the type of driver interface device that has become trendy in premium sedans, such as BMW's iDrive or the Mercedes-Benz COMAND system. Many reviewers, however, say the 600h's controls are more intuitive than such interfaces, which often involve a heavy learning curve.
- "Controls for climate, audio and navigation are extraordinarily intuitive, operated by buttons and via the touchscreen display. As with other Lexus instrument panels, the electroluminescent gauges are strikingly sharp and legible. Occupants are ensconced in a lush environment of rich leather and exquisite wood trim." -- Edmunds
- "Interior details stand up to close inspection, even down to the stitching in the seats and uniform action of panel covers." -- New Car Test Drive
- "While the dash isn't as clean as a BMW's, the Lexus' learning curve is much shorter." -- Cars.com
- "Has one of the most easy-to-use Bluetooth hands-free phone systems. It was a snap to pair my BlackBerry with the system, although I was a bit disappointed that it doesn't also import the phone book. But as with the navigation system, it was easy enough to use voice commands to dial a phone number." -- MSN
The Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound Audio System, an option on the conventional LS, is standard equipment on the LS hybrid. The system, reviewers say, is phenomenal. It uses an incredible 19 speakers, produces 450 watts of sound and has a six-disc CD/DVD auto-changer and DVD audio and video playback.
- "19 speakers. Yes, 19. We're not sure if that sets a record for a factory-installed system, but it must come close. That's six sets of two-way tweeter/midrange speakers placed along the sides of the car, one two-way in the dash for center fill, big woofers in each door, and a subwoofer in back. These speakers get 450 watts from 15 channels pumped through them. The result is near-perfect audio quality." -- CNET
- The sound system "revealed its sophistication to me in a surprising way: as a middle-aged hearing-aid wearer, even the best in-car audio systems are ordinary-sounding, but the Levinson unit made me think I had the ears of an 18-year-old again." -- Forbes
- "Easily one of the best [sound systems] I've ever heard." -- About.com
A big buzz surrounds the LS hybrid's Advanced Parking Guidance System, an innovative optional feature that assists the driver with parallel parking or backing into a parking spot. Advertised as a car that can park itself, most find this feature a bit complicated, a hassle to use, and more of a gimmick than a usable feature. A few reviewers liked it, but most found it more time-consuming than simply parking the car without it.
- "Early buzz focused on the self-parking feature, but the truth is, it was so cumbersome to operate that few tried it. ‘The amount of time it takes to line up with a spot with the diagram is too long,' one editor said. ‘Oh, it did parallel-park me, but I was also really far from the curb and probably would have gotten a ticket if I'd left it there.' After the first couple of months, most of us forgot about the system completely." -- AutoWeek
- "We got the feeling that someone could nab your spot by the time you get everything dialed in. As with most new technologies, expect faster-acting versions in the future." -- Car and Driver
- The system is "a marvel for parallel parking, and works as advertised."-- Consumer Guide
The trunk of the 2009 LS 600h is a rare low point for the car. It offers just 11.65 cubic feet of cargo space. That would be considered small for a midsize sedan today. The hybrid's batteries are the culprit - they are mounted in space that would otherwise be used for the trunk in order to distribute the weight well to improve handling.
- "Unfortunately, the Achilles' heel of the LS 600h L's design is its utter lack of trunk space. With the hybrid and rear climate control components eating into the cargo hold, trunk capacity drops to a paltry 11.7 cubic feet -- smaller than some econobox trunks." -- Edmunds
- "You will give up considerable luggage capacity, as the NiMH battery pack reduces trunk volume to 11.7 cu. ft., roughly two-thirds the size of its competitors'." -- Road and Track