3.20.2010

Lexus LS600h Hybrid Review


The truth, although a lot of people don't know it, is that hybrids aren't really about saving money. Yes, gas mileage is usually better than a conventionally-powered version of the same vehicle, but on gas price alone, you'd have to drive that hybrid for about nine years in most cases to make up the price difference in gas savings.

No, hybrids are about saving the environment and making statements.

The Lexus LS600h Hybrid certainly aces that last part.

                     

Making statements is about getting noticed....and the big Lexus does that for you. The re-design of a couple of seasons ago turned the LS from the anonymous luxury car into a head-turner. It's not the shape...there's still a lot of "large Toyota Camry" in there...rather, it's in details that just scream "money". And the LS600h turns them up several notches.

Really, it has to. You see, you can buy the "base" LS,  the LS460, for $65,380.

The LS600h starts at $108,800.

Nope. Not a typo. $108,800...$42,620 more than the LS460.

Find the right dealer on a good day and you might be able to take two LS460s home for the price of one LS600h.

Now, you get the long-wheelbase, which would cost you five grand extra on a gas-powered LS....and the hybrid engine here packs 438 horsepower, compared to a mere 380 in the LS460.

That means 0-60 in 5.5 seconds....but wait! The lighter LS460 gets there in 5.4.

And here's the kicker: Buy the gas-powered model...and you'll get better gas mileage. At least on the highway. An LS460 is EPA rated at 16 city/24 highway. The LS600h is 20 city/22 highway. 

With that small a mileage difference and that big a cost difference, you won't live long enough to recover the extra money spent on gas savings.


                     

So why buy one? Because it's the ultimate Lexus LS. If that's what you're after....this is where you get it all, the finest materials, most-cutting edge options, extra engine power  (quiet about that 1/10th of a second slower to 60 part, okay?) and green status to boot (as long as no one thinks about it too carefully).

And that means you'll probably pop for the few available options as well. What's an extra $5280 for the rear power seat package and $2850 for the Lexus Pre-Collison System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control?

Put that together with $875 for a delivery fee and you have, equipped like our tester, a grand total of:

$117,805. 

Plus tax and license, of course.

Greenpeace members with a Platinum card, your ride is ready.

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