2009 Lexus LS600hL

Comfort without compromise

2009 Lexus LS600hL


1. The LS 600hL utilizes the Lexus Hybrid Drive system for performance claimed to equal that of a 6.0L V12, but offers the fuel efficiency and emissions of a 3.5L V6.

2. Even in gas mode, the LS 600h L is able to achieve fuel economy of 20 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway.

3. Optional items include reclining rear seats with fold-out ottomans and a massage function.

4. The LS Hybrid is sold only as an extended wheelbase model, with three more inches between the axles, meaning plenty more room in the luxurious back seat.

While the drastic spike in fuel prices last summer may have driven some people to downsize to gas-sipping econo-boxes or scooters, some were less eager to jump on the Al Gore bandwagon. Those who have managed to keep a little extra change jingling around in their pockets despite the impending recession were fortunate enough to forgo such knee-jerk reactions. That being said, there are places most of us would rather spend our money than at the pumps. Whether you shudder at the thought of forking over your hard-earned dineros to oil companies, or just want to reduce your personal impact on the environment, there are several vehicle options out there that will allow you to continue a lavish existence while being able to sleep with a clear conscience.

Lexus has been leading the pack in the premium hybrid market by offering hybrid powerplants in existing models that offer improved fuel mileage without compromising style, comfort or performance. In addition to saving money on fuel, which offsets the increased initial purchase price, comes the peace of mind associated with reducing your carbon footprint. Reducing fuel consumption without having to endure an econobox should be reason enough to check out one of the three luxury hybrids Lexus is currently producing, based on the LS, GS and RX platforms.


Of those three, the LS 600hL stands as the unrivaled flagship of the Lexus lineup (hybrid or otherwise). The hybrid LS uses the Lexus Hybrid Drive system for performance claimed to equal to that of a 6.0L V12, but offers the fuel efficiency and emissions of a 3.5-liter V6. Power delivery is silky smooth, handling is supple but precise and braking is surprisingly efficient considering the car weighs a robust 5,049 lbs.

Thanks to its diplomatic road manners, the 600hL never feels as large or heavy as its specification sheet suggests. The driver can also choose among three driving modes including power, hybrid and snow. The standard Adaptive Variable Suspension also offers three choices; Comfort, Normal and Sport, that regulate the dampening of the air shocks. This system also allows the 600’s height to be adjusted by a “Height Switch” if you happen to be driving over speed bumps or large pot holes.


In addition to the technology required to efficiently propel the largest LS, this two tonne sedan’s weight is comprised of many features that are the epitome of opulence. While the driver has such convenient features as a hard drive based navigation system, heated steering wheel, auto-park with Obstacle Detection System and a back up camera at their fingers tips, rear passengers are able to enjoy a 19-speaker Mark Levinson 450-watt sound system, a DVD entertainment system with a 9-inch LCD monitor with remote control and wireless headphones. Comfort is advanced by the aid of heated, massaging reclining rear seats with retractable ottomans, a four-zone climate control system that utilizes a dust, pollen and deodorizing air filter, as well as rear and side sunshades. This is no ordinary hybrid.

Until recently, the fuel savings enjoyed by hybrid vehicles was simply not enough to offset the increased purchase price of a vehicle that looked as though it should be owned by the Jetsons. (Yes, I’m talking to you Prius and first generation Insight!)

Aside from the discreet badges, the 600hL provides few hints of its hybrid alter ego. The only real compromise is the reduction in trunk space in order to house the added technology. Transition between gas engine and electric motor would be undetectable by driver and passengers alike were it not for the dash mounted monitor keeping you up to speed on what mode the car is in.


Another element working against hybrid vehicles is that the technology is largely misunderstood by the general population. In the automotive sense, the term hybrid refers to the mating of electric motors and large storage batteries to an internal combustion engine. This technology has been created to reduce the inefficient use of the gasoline engine during conditions where the vehicle is decelerating or idling. Far from a solution to our society’s reliance on fossil fuel, hybrids simply create an opportunity for efficiency meant to bridge the gap between fuel consumption and driving pleasure. Hybrid systems themselves differ among companies and tend to vary between what are called partial hybrid or full hybrid systems. Partial hybrids use batteries and electric motors to run things like lighting, air conditioning, heat or the radio while the engine is in shut off mode. Full hybrids, such as the one in the 600hL, work in a similar fashion but are also capable of propelling the vehicle. EV (Electric Vehicle) mode allows the LS to run with only electric power under certain conditions.


While many hybrids use anaemic four-cylinder powerplants as the basis for their propulsion, the LS boasts a 5.0-liter V8 putting out a total of 438 net power and up to 385 ft-lbs of torque. Even in gas mode, the LS 600hL is able to achieve fuel economy of 20 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway. Under everyday, real-world driving conditions, the fuel savings will range from minimal to significant, depending on a number of variables. This can include everything from extreme grade changes, weather conditions, proper tire inflation, traffic impediments, driving conditions and your right foot. The truth of the matter is that how you drive affects fuel mileage just as much as what you drive.


While the Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu and Toyota Camry are all available in hybrid form and excellent family sedans in their own right, they still leave much to be desired for the affluent. The 600hL allows its owner decent gas mileage while experiencing the ultimate in driving decadence. Whether you are planting your right foot while piloting the LS from the driver’s seat or are being chauffeured around town while you enjoy the heated reclining and massaging rear seats, you won’t be disappointed by the performance, comfort and refinement that this lavish luxury sedan provides. The fact that you won’t have to cash in your portfolio at the gas pumps is just an added bonus. As it turns out, going green doesn’t have to make you blue.

While the automotive market is currently being bombarded by new and less visually offensive hybrid models than ever before, they still account for a very insignificant percentage of vehicles sold. Even fewer still appeal to the luxury market since those who buy premium cars traditionally don’t hold fuel economy as top priority. This will slowly begin to change as manufacturers have invested in modern technology and broadened their hybrid model ranges to include vehicles that don’t actually drive, (or more importantly look), like hybrids.

The LS600hL received a lot of bad publicity when it first came out, with critics saying that it was really just a farce and that anyone concerned with the environment wouldn’t own such a vehicle. And yet, the LS600hL, like so many Lexus models before it, has started a trend as we now see BMW and Mercedes set to offer hybrid versions of the 7 Series and S-Class. To some it may just be a token offering to mother earth, but it’s a pretty big deal when you consider the alternative vehicle might be a gas-sucking twin-turbo V12.


Luxurious comfort
Agility despite large proportions
Silky smooth road manners


Huge dimensions
Questionable efficiency under spirited driving conditions
Price tag

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked