Kristin Shaw is an automotive journalist at Edmunds.
November 22nd, 2022
Lexus announced the flagship 2023 LS 500 and LS 500h sedan will now use a touchscreen instead of a touchpad controller.
The touchpad has been a pain point for the Japanese luxury brand, and the 2022 NX was the first model to receive the new touchscreen.
A 12.3-inch touchscreen display is standard for the 2023 LS 500 and 500h models.
Lexus launched the original LS 400 in 1989, and the flagship sedan soon garnered gushing reviews for its sumptuous interior and refined engine quality. Lexus has revised it several times over the last 30-plus years and kept it appealing to those looking for an executive car.
There has been just one little detail that has plagued the modern LS, and that’s the much-maligned touchpad controller for the infotainment system. Get ready to celebrate because the LS 500 and LS 500h are finally ditching the awkward technology for the 2023 model year, and we couldn’t be happier.
Finally giving up the battle
It has been a long road to this point — for years, Japan resisted replacing the touchpad in favor of a more modern touchscreen. The battle to swap out the clumsy previous interface started back in 2017 with a resolute team from Toyota Motor North America’s Connected Technologies group, and they didn’t let up until a new plan was in place. The 2022 Lexus NX was the first model to receive the next-generation infotainment system with a standard 9.8-inch touchscreen display and an optional 14-inch touchscreen as an upgrade.
According to The Drive, Toyota’s Connected Technologies Vice President Steve Basra and global chief UX designer Daniel Hall headed up the project to switch out the touchpad.
The Drive reports, "It has a lot to do with kanji, the symbols used in the Japanese writing system. In Japan, Lexus drivers have been attached to the Remote Touch feature because it makes sense for them.”
Basra went on to say that Japanese drivers are more patient and did not experience the frustrations with the touchpad that users in other markets did. In fact, when Basra and Hall approached Lexus Japan executives with their plan, at first they got permission to adapt the tech for the North American market only. After extensive customer research, then-TMNA CEO Jim Lantz brought the results to the global executive team, who finally relented and green-lighted a full replacement of the dated touchpad system.
Once the newest infotainment system debuted on the NX, it then made its way into the new RX. The 2023 LS will be next and will also feature more USB ports, updated voice control technology, and enhanced noise cancellation among other upgrades. The 2023 Lexus LS 500 starts at $77,535, with the top-of-the-line LS 500h starting at $113,435.
Huzzah! Finally replacing the touchpad and updating the technology inside the LS is a much-needed step toward making this executive luxury sedan competitive again.