Site of the Week:

For any old-school LS 400 owners handy with a torque wrench and a willingness to get their hands dirty, there is no site better than

Screenshot of

This site is jampacked with a range of useful information, with everything from changing your oil to replacing your timing belt/water pump. Each tutorial is extremely well written and features photos of every step along the way.

This site gets my highest recommendation, it’s a labor of love for the author, and it shows on every page.

(Owning a first-gen LS, I’ve used the tutorials for a few small things, like cleaning the air filter, but because of time and space constraints, I leave most of the other stuff to my trusty mechanic.)

Hyundai’s Veracruz vs. RX 350 Commercial

Hyundai has taken Motor Trend’s rather irksome comparison of the new Veracruz and the Lexus RX350 and ran with it, producing this cute but flawed commercial:

Now, Hyundai can’t be faulted for wanting to draw attention to the Motor Trend results, but is it really a smart idea to celebrate the copycat styling of the Veracruz?

Lexus Exploiting Hybrid Hype?

The Lexus LS 600h L

The NY Times article panning the LS 600h L has created quite a negative stir, with numerous claims that Toyota’s “green movement” is nothing but a farce.

This is perhaps addressed most vehemently by The Auto Extremist, one of my favorite automotive opinion sites:

It’s clear that the mainstream media is finally – finally – beginning to see through the green hype being foisted off on the American public by the “Master Manipulators” at Toyota. The Lexus LS 600h L is a nothing more than an overweight (700 pounds heavier than its non-hybrid counterpart), overwrought rolling monument to Toyota self-aggrandizement, its unfettered hubris and delusional thinking. The fact that you can buy a non-hybrid version of the same car and get basically the same mileage is a flat-out indictment of Toyota’s “greener-than-thou” persona … Fissures are showing in Toyota’s “Teflon kimono,” and it’s about damn time.

It’s impossible to ignore the central fact that the LS 600h L has very little over the LS 460, save for some fancy headlights and All-Wheel Drive, but there seems to a larger issue at hand. Is Toyota exploiting the success of the Prius and attempting to cash in on hybrid hype?

Lexus must have known there was going to be some hard questions asked of its decision to release the LS 600h L in its current state, with its gas mileage no better than a conventional engine. What was the rush, why did they not wait until the technology had improved?

My only guess, and perhaps the only justification, would be to offset the development costs, and to establish a car in the rarified $100,000+ range. In this price range, MPG is not a prime consideration, but with the new Lexus slogan ““Gives more to the driver, takes less from the world”, there’s definitely an air of false pretense.

Still, my central defense of the LS 600h L remains the same, this is a brand new application of an emerging technology, and it can’t all be smooth sailing. This early criticism may stand, but there’s no reason to doubt that the LS 600h L will improve considerably in the near future.

Nonsensical Criticism of West Coast Lexus Dealerships

The Truth About Cars has posted up a delusional article today badmouthing the buildings of Lexus dealerships in Newport and Bellevue, then making this grand-sweeping statement about all Lexus dealerships:

While Lexus’ “L-Finesse” design language is moving their cars away from cod-Mercedes shapes, the Japanese automaker’s dealership architecture remains heavily influenced by parking garages, government buildings and maximum security prisons.

I say delusional because this photo was used as proof of bland architecture:

Lexus of Newport

Does this in any way resemble a parking garage? How about a government building? What about this dealership? Remind you of a maximum security prison?

The commenters take the author to task, and rightfully so — How did this even pass TTAC quality control? My only hope is that there’s some sort of punchline yet to be revealed.

Lexus LF-A Promo Video?

I’m unable to say for sure, but this three-minute video clip of the Lexus LF-A has a very authentic air to it:

It’s similar in look to the video shown during the LF-A unveiling at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show, and could very well be direct from the source. Still, there’s enough of a rough edge to cast a shadow of doubt, so I’ve sent an email to the Youtube poster, and hope to have a definitive answer soon…that is, unless someone out there already knows?

Update: TPP Reader Jarrett has identified this video as the Japanese commercial introducing Lexus’ L-Finesse styling, released at the same time as the first LF-A concept. Thanks, Jarrett!