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2009 Lexus LS600h Review
Luxury sedan performance with hybrid benefits.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The LS600H is an attempt by Lexus to make a luxury hybrid. Unlike typical hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, it offers a V-8 power train and a sleek, stylish body. With its modern profile, the LS600H is not immediately recognizable as a hybrid; it will fit right in among its traditional siblings. Its performance is also on par with other high-end sedans. The 2009 LS600H achieves its goal of greatly reducing emissions while still offering a 12-cylinder performance. However, it falls short of most other hybrids in terms of fuel efficiency; the LS600H only gets two more miles to the gallon than the gas-powered Lexus LS460 L sedan on which it’s based.
Despite its shortcomings, the Lexus LS600H takes an impressive step in combining hybrid benefits with all the luxury of a powerful European machine. For green-minded buyers who still insist on a high-end driving experience, the LS600H is worth considering. However, if your main interest is in luxury performance, you might do better to stick with the much more affordable, yet very similar, Lexus LS460.
Engine: 5.0-liter V-8 hybrid with two electric motors
Transmission: continuously variable transmission
Models: LS600H sedan
The 2009 Lexus LS600H remains unchanged from last year’s model. The only new offering is the limited Pebble Beach Edition, which is limited to 50 copies. The Pebble Beach Edition allows owners to customize their vehicle with one of three exclusive packages: the Callaway Golf Experience, Travel Package, or Epicurean Encounter. Different interior and exterior color schemes are available with the Pebble Beach Edition, which also comes equipped with the Advanced Parking Guidance System, Rear Seat Entertainment System, rear-seat side airbags, and power rear-door sunshades. Other exclusive safety features include the Advanced Pre-Collision System and the Driver Monitor System.
The 2009 Lexus LS600H boasts a stylishly classic four-door body that is virtually indistinguishable from the LS460 L. This sedan’s sleek silhouette sets it apart from other hybrid vehicles, making it an attractive option for buyers interested in the benefits of a hybrid vehicle without sacrificing the status of driving a luxury sedan.
The 2009 Lexus LS600H may come with a lofty ticket price, but this hybrid sedan’s decadent interior is guaranteed to give you your money’s worth in terms of luxury and convenience. This fully-loaded flagship vehicle provides full climate control, sublime leather upholstery, wood trim and detailing, sunroof, dual zone automatic air-conditioning, cooled and heated front seats, and a loaded entertainment system with DVD and digital media. Like the Lexus LS460, the LS600H’s gauges and instrument control panels are sharp and easy to use. There’s ample room for both drivers and passengers to enjoy a comfortable ride, although cargo space is a bit limited due to the batteries taking up trunk space.
Performance & Handling
When the LS600H’s V-8 engine and both electric motors are running at peak output, this car packs a staggering 438 horsepower. The LS600H is also capable of running solely by electric propulsion for short distances and at low speed, just as Toyota’s hybrid vehicles. Also like other hybrid systems, the LS600H can generate additional power through regenerative braking. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) with manual shift control directs power to all four wheels. The transmission also features three driving modes for optimal control and efficiency under various road conditions: normal, power, and snow.
The 2009 LS600H tested at zero to 60 mph in a modest 6.0 seconds. Fuel efficiency is also less than impressive for this hybrid; its combined 21 mpg isn’t a huge improvement from the gas-powered LS460 L’s average of 19 mpg. However, the LS600H does earn points for its lower emissions with its designation as a Super Ultralow-Emission Vehicle.
Lexus sedans are already known for an ultra-quiet, comfortable driving experience, and the LS600H takes things a step further. With its electric motors providing the initial power, acceleration becomes nearly silent. All-around sound insulation and cozy suspension provide even more escape from the noise of the outside world. Steering and overall control aren’t super precise, but athletic performance has never been the main attraction for Lexus sedans.
Safety is a priority in all Lexus vehicles, and the LS600H is no exception. This hybrid sedan comes standard with both traction and stability control. The base model also includes front-seat airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and front-seat knee airbags, while rear-seat airbags are also offered. Additional safety options include adaptive cruise control, with a pre-collision system that will automatically boost seatbelt tension and braking power when an impending frontal impact is sensed.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Luxurious interior
- Outstanding sound insulation
- Super Ultralow-Emission Vehicle (SULEV) rating
- Environmentally friendly
You Won't Like
- Poor fuel economy
- Performs equally to the less pricey LS640 L
- Limited performance on battery-only driving
- Limited trunk space
Luxury sedan performance with hybrid benefits.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Lexus LS640
- Lexus LS640 L
- Audi A8 W12
- BMW 760 Li
- Mercedes-Benz S600
See the New 2014 LS600h.
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