2010 Lexus LS Hybrid Interior
This interior review was written when the 2010 Lexus LS Hybrid was new.
The passenger cabin of the standard Lexus LS is opulent. The passenger cabin of the LS Hybrid is a step up from there -- much of the equipment that is optional on other LS models is standard equipment here. The LS 600h is also based on the long-wheelbase version of the LS, making it exceptionally spacious in most directions -- though some taller test drivers have complained of little headroom. All Super Luxury Cars boast exceptional interiors, but the LS Hybrid stands out with its unusually soft grain of leather, and what many consider the finest sound system available in the class.
Still, shoppers would do well to spend time in the cabin of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid before making a commitment. The cabin of the Lexus features a contemporary design theme, while the Mercedes’ quilted leather and burl walnut exude an old-world ambiance. Choosing between the two can be a simple matter of taste -- though that stereo would alter the balance for some of us.
- "One of the quietest cars on the market…Top-quality materials with numerous soft-touch surfaces highlight the understated design.” -- Consumer Guide
- "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 LS 600h shares its platform with that of the long-wheelbase LS 460 L -- which makes it one of the more spacious Super Luxury Cars, with outstanding legroom in front and rear. Reviewers are impressed with the standard power adjustable, heated and cooled seats for front seat passengers, and comfortable fixed-position rear seats. But those are fairly typical for this class. Optional “Executive Class Seating” adds heated and cool rear seats with footrests, four-zone climate control and a shiatsu massage setting -- a considerably more luxurious seating package.
Still, buyers concerned mostly with front-seat comfort will want to experience the extraordinary Drive Dynamic multi-contour front seats of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid before making a decision -- built of 11 air chambers, they are among the most adjustable and comfortable seats available today.
- "Offers almost five inches more legroom than the standard LS. This permits especially generous passenger seating options." -- New Car Test Drive
- "The front is spacious for adults, though taller drivers may need more headroom. A power tilt and telescopic steering wheel and wide, supportive seats with multiple power adjustments make it easy to find a comfortable driving position." -- Consumer Guide
- "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 cabin of the LS 600h includes virtually every electronic device Lexus has ever designed. Reviewers praise the Optitron gauges for their beauty and ease of use, and the voice-activated HDD navigation system, which responds faster than those in other super-luxury sedans. It offers live traffic and weather reports as well.
New for 2010, Lexus offers its own telematics concierge service, Lexus Enform, much like GM’s OnStar. Among Super-Luxury Sedans, only the BMW 7-Series has a similar service. A one-year subscription is included in the purchase price, but service beyond the first year requires a monthly subscription fee.
Reviewers also note the absence of one feature -- the LS Hybrid does not offer a single user-interface device that controls all climate and entertainment functions. All other Super Luxury sedans offer one, from BMW’s iDrive to Mercedes-Benz’ COMAND unit and Audi’s MMI. These devices control climate and entertainment functions through a single knob or joystick and a series of menus on the navigation screen, but reviewers often find them cumbersome and time-consuming. The Lexus LS Hybrid, instead, has a more conventional layout, with separate controls for each climate and entertainment system. Most reviewers prefer this approach. We should note, however, that some 2010 Lexus products have an iDrive like interface, and the next edition of this car may carry one as well.
- "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
- For 2010, "The cabin gets a mild refresh as well to integrate a night vision system into the instrument cluster, right in the middle of the speedo.” -- Autoblog
- "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 LS 600h comes with an extraordinary Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound Audio System, which reviewers say is one of the best audio systems available anywhere. It’s an optional upgrade on the conventional LS, but standard here. We’ve never read a complaint or even a neutral comment about the exceptional, 19-speaker, 450 watt system -- though a few reviewers have said it sounds best from the rear seats. New for 2010, a USB input and auxiliary audio jack are standard, and Bluetooth-enabled audio devices can be controlled wirelessly through the vehicle’s audio controls.
- "Easily one of the best [sound systems] I've ever heard." -- About.com
- The sound system has "enough speakers for heavenly sound" with "near-perfect audio quality...Bass came through strong, while the highest notes still stood out. With the digital signal processor placing the sweet spot for the music dead center in the cabin, the audio actually sounded best in the back seat." -- CNET
When the current Lexus LS first appeared in 2007, advertising focused heavily on the car’s unique self-parking feature. It’s still there, but not heavily advertised anymore. As impressive as it sounds on paper, reviewers say the feature is somewhat disappointing in practice. It’s time-consuming to program, and works as advertised, but operates slowly. Most drivers will probably prefer to park the car themselves most of the time, but unlike with the conventional LS, we can’t advise you to skip buying it -- it’s standard on the hybrid edition.
- "Advanced Parking Guidance System is a marvel for parallel parking and works as advertised. It will also back the car into a parking-lot space, but that function takes too long to program." -- Consumer Guide
- "In the case of parallel parking, I first must find a spot. Then I position the vehicle just so. A box will show up on the in-dash camera, in between the front and rear car, right smack where I want my car to go. I can use arrows on the touch-screen to adjust the box if necessary. Then I put the car in reverse, let go of the wheel (uh-huh), the steering wheel turns, the car accelerates and brakes to put itself smack dab in the designated spot. All I have to do to finish the job is straighten out the wheel, put the car in Park and turn the vehicle off. If that makes no sense, just trust me and be astonished." -- Mother Proof
- · -"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
Trunk space has long been a complaint about hybrid cars. Engineers tend to locate a hybrid’s batteries in part of a vehicle’s trunk, which usually means the hybrid version of a sedan has a significantly smaller trunk than its gasoline-engine counterpart. For 2010, Lexus has redesigned and re-positioned the battery of the LS hybrid, giving this year’s models more trunk space than previous editions of the car -- but the LS 600h still offers just 10.1 cubic feet of space, compared to 18 cubic-feet for the conventional LS. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid uses a new form of battery, a Lithium-ion cell, which is so small that Mercedes engineers fit it beneath the hood of the car with the engine, meaning that the S-Class Hybrid offers a full 16.4 cubic-feet of trunk space -- as much as the conventional S-Class. Reviewers say the interior storage inside the LS Hybrid is adequate, which is a point in the car’s favor. Auto writers tend to complain of too little interior storage in the car’s major German rivals.
- "Owners of the current LS hybrid will be delighted to know that there are 2 more cubic feet of trunk space than before, thanks to improved placement and packaging of the hybrid battery." -- Motor Trend
- “In-cabin small-item storage is good." -- Consumer Guide