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2014 Lexus LS 600h L Review

LS 600h L

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2014 Lexus LS 600h L Overview

Feeling green, but not willing to give up luxury and performance? Take a look at the 2014 Lexus LS 600h L. Few full-size, 5-passenger hybrid sedans offer the plush, the power or the gas-saving portfolio of this flagship Lexus limo, though it must be admitted that the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid and the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 are in the same ballpark. Alas, none of these premium gas/electric chariots are going to come cheap.

In any case, Lexus’ top-shelf 4-door gas/electric LS 600h L is delivered in a single self-described trim that sports an additional 5 inches of overall length over its standard-size LS siblings. And new for this year, this high-flying hybrid boasts Apple’s Siri Eyes Free steering-wheel-mounted controls that mate with the touted Enform-integrated smartphone apps for efficient and safe access to Pandora and iHeart radio, as well as hands-free audio adjustments and communications.

Of course, full-time all-wheel-drive (AWD) remains standard to allow a bit more cornering agility while standing by to divert torque from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip when things get slippery. Oh, and the well-wrought Adaptive Variable Air Suspension system with 3 driver-selectable settings assures everything from a comfy touring-style ride to a fuel-saving highway cruise to a sporty and adventurous commute, depending on your mood.

Unfortunately, trunk space is a mere 13 cubic feet, as the large-capacity battery pack remains stashed beneath and takes a good 5 cubic feet away from the standard LX’s 18-cubic-foot trunk space.

Anyhow, the 2014 LS 600h L packs a 5-liter variable-valve-timed (VVT) gas V8 that mates with a pair of electric motors to put out a total of 438 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque. The electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT) again boasts a 2-speed reduction feature and a Snow mode for overcoming challenging weather and traffic conditions, while mileage numbers remain an impressive 19 mpg city/23 highway.

Standard appearance features, meantime, include 19-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof and heated, reverse-tilt power-adjustable mirrors, while premium leather upholstery is bolstered by alloy and genuine wood cabin accents. Heated, power-adjustable front seats also come standard, as do heated rear seats, while the power sunshades keeps those in the back cool and comfy, with an assist from dual-zone climate control with rear fan-speed control.

Convenience-wise, look for standard cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering to return for the 2014 edition, along with a rear-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, memory for driver's and front-seat passenger settings, and a heated steering wheel.

Meanwhile, delivered techno-goodies include standard HDD navigation, complemented by an Enform/Bluetooth infotainment and communications package that counts a Mark Levinson 450-watt premium stereo system with a single-CD player, 19 speakers, satellite radio, a video monitor and rear audio controls among its notable attributes, along with the aforementioned Siri Eyes Free system.

One of the more intriguing options, indeed the only available add-on of note, is the pampering and posturing Executive Seating Package. Taking advantage of the stretched-out proportions of the 2014 LS 600h L, this posh package plunks a large console in the rear center seat slot, along with providing a power-operated leg-rest, side-mounted rear airbags, a wood-trimmed table/desk, cooled beverage bins and rear-seat DVD entertainment. Now that’s how to get from here to there in style.

Safety-wise, look for this luxury-laden Lexus hybrid to come with standard 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection. Daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights, LED adaptive and self-leveling headlights also come standard, as do turn-signal-integrated mirrors, blind-spot monitoring and a remote antitheft alarm, while Lexus’ Enform-interfaced Safety Connect system stands ready to provide emergency assistance and communications.

Optional safety features, meantime, include the Advanced Pre-Collision System Package with driver awareness monitor, pedestrian detection alert and radar-interfaced adaptive cruise control.

Updated

Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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