Lexus LS LS500H

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Hello all,
Currently driving an Avalon hybrid and I am content with this car. But I am looking into a (CPO) LS500H. Unfortunately on CR the car received a subpar rating. Moreover, several car magazines were not too positive about the "over-engineered" CVT transmission. Can anyone who has the LS500H share experience about this car? I understand Lexus has addressed the run-flat tires issue, but has anyone experienced technical issues and stuff like that? Also, the stock sound system on the new ES is abysmal (I heard it and I was not impressed), but how about the stock sound system on the LS? I would like to have the ML system, but that might be financially out of reach for me. Recently I have looked into EV's as well, in particular Tesla model S and Jaguar i-pace, but the problems owners have had with these cars have made me leery, so back to LS. If you purchased an LS hybrid, would you do it again? What are the good things, what are the bad? What are some pointers for me to look into that car magazines haven't mentioned (for whatever reason). Is the transmission really that bad in terms of "whining" etc? Due to Corona I haven't stepped into a dealership as yet so I have not test driven yet. Thanks for your sincere input
 
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I wouldn't bother with a hybrid due to the complexitivity & expensive battery components. Why not just jump up to the 19 es 350h or 19 avalon Hybrid?
 
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Thanks for the input, OK, I currently drive an '18 Avalon hybrid so I am well familiar with the hybrid concept. I like the car (fenominal gas mileage!) except that it is a bit slow (though I can live with it) and ride comfort of the 13-18 Avalon isn't really what I was expecting from an Avalon. I drove a newer '19 Avalon as well as Lexus ES and their ride is much better. But the "jump" from my '18 Avalon to those cars does not justify the financial loss if I trade in a 2 year old car. Now if I come across a nicely priced ES hybrid with the ML sound system, I might pause for a moment, otherwise no. HIFIMAN: Do you think the hybrid system in the LS is unreliable, as opposed to other Toyota/Lexus hybrids that have proven themselves to be quite reliable? Or are you hesitant about the transmission of the LS hybrid, which is complex?
 

CRSKTN

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Thanks for the input, OK, I currently drive an '18 Avalon hybrid so I am well familiar with the hybrid concept. I like the car (fenominal gas mileage!) except that it is a bit slow (though I can live with it) and ride comfort of the 13-18 Avalon isn't really what I was expecting from an Avalon. I drove a newer '19 Avalon as well as Lexus ES and their ride is much better. But the "jump" from my '18 Avalon to those cars does not justify the financial loss if I trade in a 2 year old car. Now if I come across a nicely priced ES hybrid with the ML sound system, I might pause for a moment, otherwise no. HIFIMAN: Do you think the hybrid system in the LS is unreliable, as opposed to other Toyota/Lexus hybrids that have proven themselves to be quite reliable? Or are you hesitant about the transmission of the LS hybrid, which is complex?
Ask Ssun30, not that dude.

People always complain about Lexus. A big part of it is the same reason stuff like this doesnt get pointed out until someone does a statistical analysis to get through the plausible deniability.


German cars are "rock solid and well engineered" (no, they are not), while somehow Japanese cars are "reliable and boring".

European vehicles are "advanced and cutting edge" while a masterpiece like the system you're describing is "overcomplicated".

I've been dealing w this exact thing for my entire life as a minority, and it gives apathetic people (of a certain group) a way to sleep at night without having to face systemic issues.
 

Sulu

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...Unfortunately on CR the car received a subpar rating. Moreover, several car magazines were not too positive about the "over-engineered" CVT transmission...
I have not driven the LS 500h myself so what I am about to say is what I have read (I do, however, own a 2015 ES 300h Hybrid).

The Multi-Stage Hybrid System transmission in the LS 500h is much more complicated than any other hybrid vehicle transmission available from any automaker. It marries the Power-Split Device (PSD) hybrid transmission used in all Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles with a traditional 4-speed automatic transmission to create a 10-speed transmission -- 9 speeds plus an overdrive gear (3-speed virtual gears in the PSD multiplied by 3-speed real gears in the traditional automatic transmission gives 9 speeds, plus overdrive in the automatic transmission gives 10 speeds).

The software to create and control the 10-speed transmission is very complicated. But does this make the LS 500h less reliable? I doubt it but I really do not know.

The early LS 500h models, understandably, were rough around the edges. I believe that the tuning of the transmission has been improved in later models.

In my experience, auto reviewers and the auto magazines they write for do not fully understand Lexus' hybrid vehicles and how the PSD hybrid transmission works. Some believe that Toyota and Lexus hybrids have a (belt-and-pulley) CVT, which is not true. Some have laughed outright at the use of an "archaic" 4-speed automatic transmission in the LS 500h.

Skeptical auto reviewers then drive Lexus hybrids looking for problems to prove to themselves that such complicated vehicles are not worth the extra money.

I would have no problem with the large traction battery in any Toyota or Lexus hybrid. But I do not know enough about the LS 500h to give a recommendation. I would, however, highly recommend the ES or Avalon Hybrids; I find the ES to be powerful enough for my use.
 
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SULU. Your ES hybrid is technically the same as my Avalon hybrid; 200 hp, 40 mpg ratings. I average after 24K miles about 42 mpg with conservative driving. The power it gives, is sufficient but nothing more. It is a great car otherwise. The LS500H is stunning after I sat in it (pre-Corona) and the youtube videos I have seen. look promising. I think (I hope) that Lexus engineers have thought well about this transmission in terms of durability. I have no doubt about the Avalon-ES set up, but the LS set up is way more advanced. I am looking at a used 2018 model (CPO from a dealer, 2 years extra warranty) but I have not test driven it yet (again Corona). I am not in a hurry, but any input/advice, especially from someone who has one, is always welcome. It's still a lot of money (at least for me)
 
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I wouldn't touch a new model for a few years. They always make improvements that transform the car and make it better every model year. Plus the unknown if it will be reliable or a money pit. That's why I always wait for a model refresh and buy that instead.

My current car was introduced in 2011 & I bought the redesign in 2014. My next car is from 2014 and refreshed for 2021.
 

Sulu

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SULU. Your ES hybrid is technically the same as my Avalon hybrid; 200 hp, 40 mpg ratings. I average after 24K miles about 42 mpg with conservative driving. The power it gives, is sufficient but nothing more. It is a great car otherwise. The LS500H is stunning after I sat in it (pre-Corona) and the youtube videos I have seen. look promising. I think (I hope) that Lexus engineers have thought well about this transmission in terms of durability. I have no doubt about the Avalon-ES set up, but the LS set up is way more advanced. I am looking at a used 2018 model (CPO from a dealer, 2 years extra warranty) but I have not test driven it yet (again Corona). I am not in a hurry, but any input/advice, especially from someone who has one, is always welcome. It's still a lot of money (at least for me)
Yes, the LS 500h is much more advanced than the Avalon or ES Hybrids. As I said above, it is the most advanced hybrid vehicle available right now, from any automaker.

The roughness of the hybrid transmission is likely due to software tuning issues (as I said above, the software control for the 10-speed transmission is incredibly complex); I doubt that durability and reliability of the hardware is affected. Test drive it and drive it in a manner that you would normally drive it and see if any roughness or other issues are bothersome to you.

Good luck!

I wouldn't touch a new model for a few years. They always make improvements that transform the car and make it better every model year. Plus the unknown if it will be reliable or a money pit. That's why I always wait for a model refresh and buy that instead.

My current car was introduced in 2011 & I bought the redesign in 2014. My next car is from 2014 and refreshed for 2021.
The LS 500h is no longer a new model; it was introduced in 2017 as a 2018 model (3 years on the market now) and a refresh is expected imminently. See the following discussion:
 

Ian Schmidt

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I've heard of no reliability problems with the multi-stage hybrid on either the LS500h or the LC500h, and my understanding is that the software's gotten better since launch. I've driven a non-hybrid LS500 for nearly as long as they've been available in the U.S., but mine's got the luxury package and the Mark Levinson so I can't talk about the base stereo. Anything else you'd like to know about daily driving an LS500, ask.
 
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