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LS500 Driving Impressions

 
Old 06-19-19, 10:01 PM
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Default LS500 Driving Impressions

My '07 LS460 was in the shop for the dreaded and expected control arm replacement - and I was pleasantly surprised that I was provided a 2019 LS500 as a loaner.

The service spanned a weekend, so that I was able to drive the LS500 for over 600 miles with a lot of limited-access highway driving, providing me ample time to experience the two features that I was most excited to try: Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Lane Tracing Assist (LTA).

This was the first time I have driven the LS500 - my initial impression when sitting down was that the seats seemed much smaller than the LS460, lacking the width and side bolsters of the LS460. The size (and comfort) of the seats was so disappointing that I actually got out of the car and walked to the trunk to double check that I was actually in an LS and not a ES! After 600 miles of driving - the seat comfort alone would be ample reason for not purchasing a LS500.

The electronic displays are beautiful - except for the track-pad interface. It is impossible (and potentially unsafe) to make most changes while driving. Next to the center display, there is a plastic panel with back-lit pattern - I can not fathom on what the Lexus designers were thinking when they added this very cheap-looking and tacky ornamentation to the dashboard (I assume it was the same group that designed the gaping grill)! But there is probably a good reason for the "distinctive" grill - otherwise from the outside the LS500 doesn't look much different than a Toyota Camry.

Dynamic Radar Cruise Control - one word: it works great! Tried it in both stop-and-go traffic as well as freeway driving. It worked very well. The only major downside that I found was that Lexus moved from the traditional cruise control stalk located under the windshield wiper stalk to button on the front of the steering wheel which you can activate with your thumb. The big problem is that the buttons are smooth so there is no way to determine which button you are pressing without taking your eyes off of the road.

LTA - one word: HORRIBLE! My expectations for LTA was not for a "self-driving" capability but more for a capability to make driving, especially on the highway, more relaxing by minimizing the amount of effort required to keep the car centered in the driving lane. Sometimes is seems LTA is working well, but then there will be an unexpected correction which will cause the vehicle to approach the edge which will then cause a greater steering correction in the other direction - and you end up bouncing between the lane-markers. This occurs on very straight sections of road and usually all the time even on slight Interstate curves. I also noticed that sometimes when passing a large vehicle with LTA, the vehicle move toward (closer) to that vehicle which is kind of scary when you first notice it. The vast majority of roads that I were driving on were very well marked and the weather was clear. My initial thought that maybe the wheel alignment was off, but turning off LTA they vehicle drove as expected. If you are at all susceptible to motion sickness, you do NOT want to use LTA. I found that when driving with LTA turned on, I found myself fighting to keep the vehicle from bouncing between the lane markers - it was much more enjoyable to turn LTA off. LTA was a major disappointment to say the least!

I started with a '95 LS400 and switched to the '07 LS460 (in addition to an RX and LX). I can definitely state that I will not be switching to a LS500 anytime soon, if ever. It appears that Lexus has lost their way with this vehicle!

Last edited by stkgator; 06-21-19 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 06-21-19, 03:26 AM
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Interesting review, I do agree that some of seats doesn't feel as good as the outgoing LS, I also don't like the luxury/standard grill. The car is a hit or miss with some people Lexus tried to catch the younger buyers and disregarded certain comforts expected with an LS. I really don't know what that picture is for, every time a friend gets in my car they ask what is that, I honestly never have a good explanation for why I have it. Now if they had a display for speed or something else that would have been nice. I won't say they have lost their way as they created are with more power and better features. My only issue is they overpriced this in my opinion for what your getting. Lexus used to have more features for the price you paid. Nice review though.
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Old 06-27-19, 11:52 AM
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Agreed. I would take a 2017 LS600h over a LS500
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Old 06-27-19, 12:40 PM
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I have a 13' LS460L and my uncle has the 500. I am in a place where I may upgrade and the 500 just doesnt call me. I had a 2003 LS430UL and the LS-L and I truly felt they were S Class competition. I dont feel that way about the 500. Lexus abandoned the "luxo barge" world. My next one will be an A8-L or a S-Class. I hate to say that too because we are a die hard toyo/lexus family. If I decide to stay I will get the new LX as its the only current Lexus that has real Heft.
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Old 06-27-19, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Searosis View Post
I have a 13' LS460L and my uncle has the 500. I am in a place where I may upgrade and the 500 just doesnt call me. I had a 2003 LS430UL and the LS-L and I truly felt they were S Class competition. I dont feel that way about the 500. Lexus abandoned the "luxo barge" world. My next one will be an A8-L or a S-Class. I hate to say that too because we are a die hard toyo/lexus family. If I decide to stay I will get the new LX as its the only current Lexus that has real Heft.
Go for the S-Class way better than the A8L in my opinion.
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Old 06-27-19, 06:46 PM
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I heard the build quality is lacking with the A8 interior. Like the B-Pillar being hard plastic instead on soft material.
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Old 06-30-19, 07:19 PM
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I agree that unfortunately the LS 500 is a disappointment for me too. I was really looking forward to the LS 500 but after a number of test rides I feel there is too much of the car not to like so I won't be getting one.

Little things add up to the car being a disappointment, the first is that despite the car being larger on the outside the interior is a MAJOR disappointment. I am 5'10" and when I sit in the back seat my hair touches the roof line. I agree with your assessment that the interior seems snug. Not sure what they were thinking when they made the bottom of the front seats where you can;t get your feet under them unless the seat bottoms are raised. The way the front windshield is sloped the rear view mirror and the black box for the auto stop (I think) really blocks my vision. then small things like no pass through and the trunk floor being much higher than the older models.

I hope to be getting a 1 year old BMW 7 series which hopefully will be about the same price as a new LS 500 mid loaded. Yes I know I am buying a used car and the maintenance will be much higher than the Lexus. My plan is to get the extended warranty and sell the car when that is up. Hopefully Lexus will come to their senses and fix the LS500 by then
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Old 07-09-19, 06:36 PM
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it's funny how these reviews rate the Lexus Flagship.. I had to put a k40 radar & laser system in one a few weeks ago.. an disappointed doesn't come close to describing my findings.. I managed to disassemble the entire dash WITH MY LEFT HAND (I'm right handed an used my right hand to hold my phone to shoot the video) & no tools save a plastic pry (to save my fingernails) there are 2 screws for the under dash panel with the footwell lights.. an 4 screws holding the instrument cluster.. but the ENTIRE dash an surrounding panels including the central a/c vents & a/c controls simple "snap out"..... I'll have to upload my vids to YouTube so they can be viewed... I'd never buy an Ls500... #camrywithbadges
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Old 07-09-19, 06:46 PM
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Old 07-09-19, 06:47 PM
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Old 07-09-19, 06:47 PM
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Old 07-10-19, 03:13 AM
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Maybe its just me but I like the fact that it is easy to take these pieces apart easily, makes installing stuff a lot easier.
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Old 07-10-19, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by bigblack06 View Post
Maybe its just me but I like the fact that it is easy to take these pieces apart easily, makes installing stuff a lot easier.
I'd normally agree.. but in this case its feels "cheap" , flimsy etc. not what u expect from any manufacturers FLAGSHIP... this is the best Lexus has too offer.. An what mods are Ls500 owners really doing to justify this "snap tight" construction. Trust me I work on a TON OF EXOTICS.. So I see the full spectrum of build quality.. I'd expect this in Civic or Corolla but this car is supposed to comparable to S class Merc's, 7 series Bimmers, A8 an such.. but now it's really just a fully loaded Camry...
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Old 07-10-19, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Shibumi1 View Post
I'd normally agree.. but in this case its feels "cheap" , flimsy etc. not what u expect from any manufacturers FLAGSHIP... this is the best Lexus has too offer.. An what mods are Ls500 owners really doing to justify this "snap tight" construction. Trust me I work on a TON OF EXOTICS.. So I see the full spectrum of build quality.. I'd expect this in Civic or Corolla but this car is supposed to comparable to S class Merc's, 7 series Bimmers, A8 an such.. but now it's really just a fully loaded Camry...
Oh ok, from the vids thought you were talking about the quickness to take apart. Yeah that's not good.
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Old 07-10-19, 05:33 PM
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I took the majority of the dash apart in 5 mins with no tools... it took longer to set up for the 1 hand video shots than the actual disassembly.... **** poor build quality
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