Used 2013 Lexus LS 600h L Sedan
- Serene, whisper-quiet interior
- impeccable construction
- unrivaled backseat with Executive-Class package
- strong reputation for reliability.
- Negligible fuel economy savings over standard LS
- significantly more expensive than the standard LS
- limited trunk space
- Remote Touch interface is not for everyone.
Edmunds' Expert Review
There is no doubt that the2013 Lexus LS 600h L delivers world-class luxury, but if you're lured in by the idea of a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain, you will be disappointed.
Most hybrid vehicles deliver on the promise of highly efficient propulsion and savings at the gas pump. In an effort to save weight and keep costs reasonable, these hybrids are generally limited to economy or entry-level luxury classes. The 2013 Lexus LS 600h L is not one of these hybrids. This luxury flagship takes a decidedly different approach to the hybrid formula.
With a 5.0-liter V8 gasoline engine as the main source of propulsion, the LS 600h L is a far cry from the typically petite engines used in hybrids. Yes, it does have electric motor/generators too, but these are intended more as enhancements to the car's already powerful output.
Compared to a similarly equipped and conventionally powered LS 460L, the LS 600h L will set you back an additional $25,000 when new. With a mere 1-mpg advantage over the gasoline-only LS, the hybrid model would take 156 years to recoup the additional expense (at $4 per gallon at 15,000 miles per year). The LS 600h L is more powerful, but only beats the LS 460 to 60 mph by only half a second. From a purely financial sense, the LS 600h L makes as much sense as investing in a bed and breakfast in Kabul.
Granted, there's more to the 2013 Lexus LS 600h L than just mpg numbers. This year's car has been restyled and enhanced with subtle improvements. While the overall shape of the new LS is evolutionary, the face is indeed bolder, stylish and confident in appearance. Inside, the design is more contemporary and the materials quality has been enhanced with additional stitched leather trim and padded surfaces. Part of the streamlined design is the result of the old touchscreen being replaced by Lexus' latest version of its Remote Touch electronics interface.
As before, occupants will enjoy almost decadent levels of opulence, particularly if you spring for the Executive Seating package that turns the right rear seat into a throne worthy of any royal court. Technological features and world-class materials are in abundance, too, and are on par with other sedans costing much more. Then again, you can get all of these features in the aforementioned Lexus LS 460 L, too.
If low emissions and high efficiency are indeed a priority for your luxury sedan, the alternatives are few and not without potential pitfalls of their own. The all-electric Tesla Model S is a high-tech wonder with praiseworthy levels of luxury, but without any meaningful reliability data and the obvious (though still quite generous) range limitations, some may still feel some anxiety.
Meanwhile, other flagship luxury sedans have their own hybrid models and follow the Lexus' power-over-efficiency hybrid philosophy. The BMW ActiveHybrid 7, Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid and Porsche Panamera Hybrid will certainly not disappoint if you are indeed considering a 2013 Lexus LS 600h L. Whether any of these make financial sense is up to you.
Trim levels & features
The 2013 Lexus LS 600h L is a five-passenger luxury sedan that is offered in a single, very well-appointed trim level. Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, adaptive LED headlights, running lights, foglights, automatic high beams, headlamp washers, heated mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a power trunk lid, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, auto-dimming mirrors and a blind-spot monitoring system with cross-traffic alert.
On the inside, you also get four-zone automatic climate control, ambient interior lighting, leather upholstery, a 16-way power-adjustable driver seat (12-way front passenger seat), heated and ventilated front and rear seats with memory functions, power-reclining rear seats with massage functions, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with power tilt-and-telescoping adjustments, wood interior trim, power rear sunshades, a rear-seat refrigerator, a navigation system with voice activation, Lexus Enform telematics, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a 19-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system with six-disc changer, HD and satellite radio, iPod integration and rear-seat audio controls.
Optionally you can add the Executive package, which reduces seating capacity to four and adds infrared cabin temperature sensors, additional leather interior trim, a rear-seat entertainment system with Blu-ray player, a right rear seat with a power ottoman and additional massage functions and added rear airbags. Also available is adaptive cruise control, which is paired with a pre-collision system. To this, you can add a driver monitor system, a lane departure warning and prevention system and a low-speed collision avoidance system.
Performance & mpg
Powering the 2013 Lexus LS 600h L is a hybrid powertrain comprising a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 389 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque mated to two electric motor/generators; one acts a primary generator and engine starter while the other drives the rear wheels and produces power through regenerative braking. Combined, the entire system has an output of 438 hp. All of this power is routed to an all-wheel-drive system via a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
With such power on tap, the LS 600h L can be thought of as a luxury sedan with a hybrid system to boost performance, rather than the typical hybrid with an emphasis on ultimate efficiency. As such, acceleration is brisk, the LS reaching 60 mph in only 5.5 seconds, according to Lexus. Fuel economy is better than the regular LS, but not by much, at an estimated 19 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 20 mpg in combined driving.
Standard safety features are plentiful with the 2013 Lexus LS 600h L, including antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, driver knee airbags, a blind-spot monitoring system with cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, a rearview camera and Lexus' Safety Connect emergency telematics.
Additionally, a pre-collision system (tightens belts and primes the brakes when a collision in imminent), a low-speed collision avoidance system (engages the brakes automatically), driver monitor system (detects a drowsy or distracted driver behind the wheel) and a lane departure warning and prevention system are available as options. Adding the right-rear executive seating package also adds a knee airbag with the power ottoman.
Although most of the exterior and interior are all new for 2013, the Lexus LS 600h L still utilizes the same hybrid powertrain from its predecessor. Initial propulsion from a stop is supplied by the electric motors, resulting in eerily silent acceleration. Even when the gasoline motor springs to life, the cabin remains blissfully quiet on a variety of road surfaces and at highway speeds.
A stiffer chassis should improve the LS's driving dynamics this time around, but it should certainly not be thought of as sporty by any stretch of the imagination. The main reason for its existence is to isolate passengers from the outside world, and in this regard, it should give any large luxury sedan a run for its considerable money.
Luxury, of course, is the operative word when it comes to any Lexus flagship, and the 2013 Lexus LS 600h L does not disappoint. Supple leather surfaces are abundant throughout the cabin, and even more so if you spring for the optional Executive package. Rich wood trim is also plentiful, giving the interior a traditional luxury car feel.
There are, however, a wealth of cutting-edge electronics to plant the LS firmly in the 21st century. The Remote Touch electronics interface is a part of this formula, as it controls most cabin functions through a mouselike device via the centrally located video screen. We've found it to be a competent control interface for the numerous systems, but it can still draw too much attention away from the road, and you may find other interfaces in competing sedans easier to use. This is definitely something to test thoroughly at a car dealership.
All of this opulence does come with some sacrifice, though, most notably in terms of cargo space. Features like the separate rear climate control, refrigerator and hybrid system components drop trunk capacity to a mere 13 cubic feet, compared to the standard LS 460's 18 cubes.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
As hybrids go, the 2013 Lexus LS 600h L doesn't make much sense. It's six-figure expensive, doesn't get particularly great mileage and has few exterior clues to the fact that it's even a hybrid.
Then again, no $100,000 luxury sedans actually make any sense. They're all leather-lined gas hogs that exist mainly as rolling gauges of wealth. It's a fun game to play if you can afford to be on the field.
So what does the newly revamped Lexus flagship bring to the table? Well, its standard bamboo-trimmed interior warrants a spread in Architectural Digest. And there are optional Shiatsu massage chairs in back that could serve double-duty in a day spa. The electronics are now as modern as anything on the road, and the ride can be adjusted to pillow soft if you just want to relax. Try that in a BMW.
Its First Update
Lexus completely refreshed the 600h along with the rest of the LS lineup for the 2013 model year. It includes an exterior design update, revised suspension tuning and a complete redesign of the interior.
Does it look better on the road? A little. The 2013 Lexus LS still isn't a striking sedan, but the new front end helps add some distinction without looking tacked-on. Of course it now features plenty of LED lights up front to signal its modern guts, so it generates a light signature similar to other sedans in this segment.
Lexus still prefers a low-key approach when it comes to promoting the LS 600's hybrid drivetrain, so the "hybrid" badges on each side are small and the blue accents in the headlights are barely noticeable. If you want to make a statement, a Prius still works better.
This Is Why You Get an LS
Sit inside the big Lexus and you see where much of the upgrade efforts went. The overall look is less cluttered, with far fewer buttons sprawled across the dash. In their place is a giant display screen controlled by a console-mounted mouse that Lexus calls Remote Touch. Pointing and clicking while driving isn't always intuitive, but the sizable screen helps to keep it manageable.
Fewer buttons means more leather and wood in between. That's a good thing, as this Lexus features lavish bamboo trim, supple leather and an optional Alcantara headliner. Together the high-end materials give the cabin a rich, luxurious feel that rivals any sedan from Germany.
The new LS is no bigger than before when it comes to interior dimensions. Not that it matters, as there's more than enough room for the driver and front passenger. Same goes for the rear seats, as all LS 600s are long-wheelbase "L" models. Order up the Executive Seating package and the rear quarters get even more luxurious with reclining seats, dual DVD screens and a fold-out table, among other things. Again, it all falls into line with anything you can order up from Audi or Mercedes-Benz, so Lexus gives up nothing in this area.
More Performance Than You Might Expect
There's no getting around the fact that the 2013 Lexus LS 600h L is a big, heavy sedan. It tipped our scales at 5,424 pounds and measures roughly 17 feet long. It will never approach anything that could be considered sporty.
Handling has been improved to the point where it will satisfy owners who want a ride somewhere between isolated and responsive. Lexus stiffened the body of the LS, which gave the engineers more leeway to change the shock tuning and steering. The whole setup is still adjustable to four different settings varying between Comfort and Sport+, all of which feel more precise than before.
What you get is a sedan that will handle any type of road with admirable grace. In Comfort mode the ride is notably soft, yet it doesn't feel like it's one big dip away from floating right off the road. Dial up the Sport modes and you get palpable changes that move the LS closer to the Germanic feel that sells well in this segment. Additional sportiness can be had in the LS 460 F Sport if that's your preferred setup.
The drivetrain remains unchanged, so there's still a 5.0-liter V8 under the hood along with an electric motor that combine for a total of 438 horsepower. It's enough to get the big LS from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds of silence (5.9 seconds with 1 foot of rollout as on a drag strip).
All the Luxury It Needs
Even with its retuned chassis, the Lexus LS doesn't forget what counts in a luxury sedan. On the highway, the cabin is virtually untouched by road and wind noise. The front seats have so much adjustability that the only problem is the inclination to needlessly fiddle with them.
Simple things like easy-to-use climate controls and a simple gated shifter add to the LS's focused layout. There are very few features that you need to learn how to use, and those that require familiarization become second nature quickly.
Passing power is plentiful thanks to the additional torque of the electric motor, and the brakes are able to stop the big sedan from 60 mph in just 126 feet with no fade or squirming. If there's anything wrong with its over-the-road performance, it's the fact that everything works so seamlessly it's often hard to gauge just how fast you're really going.
As improved as this 2013 Lexus LS 600h looks and feels, it still faces the same problem as its predecessor. It's a hybrid that doesn't offer any significant advantages over its non-hybrid counterparts despite its $120,805 base price.
We saw a combined fuel economy average of 19.4 mpg over the course of a couple weeks. Not bad for a car of its size and weight, but there are non-hybrid competitors that can do better. Add to that the compromised trunk space in the LS due to its sizable battery pack and the equation makes even less sense.
The LS 600h L does make more sense if you simply look at it as an over-the-top luxury sedan with all the trimmings. Every inch of it feels expensive, and nothing changes when you're on the road. It's smooth, solid and reassuringly composed. If you're not relaxed when you get in, you will be when you get out. Is that worth $120K to you?
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2013 Lexus LS 600h L Sedan Overview
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Should I lease or buy a 2013 Lexus LS 600h L?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.