2020 Lexus LS 500: luxury sedans still matter

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The transportation saturation of SUVs and pickup trucks is ever-increasing. But the 2020 Lexus LS 500, the showcase vehicle in Toyota’s upscale division, is a fine reason why consumers should still consider sedans.

Completely redesigned two years ago with a fifth generation, the 2020 LS 500 retains the full-size luxury sedan’s finer attributes. It combines an uber-quiet, comfortable ride, an interior designer’s finest skill and top-line technology.

The 2020 Lexus LS 500 is a great example of why consumers should still consider sedans.
The 2020 Lexus LS 500 is a great example of why consumers should still consider sedans.

There’s plenty of competition. German brands Audi, BMW Mercedes-Benz and Swedish rival Volvo all attract high praise for their handsome, forward-thinking exteriors designs.

But with the South Korean-made Genesis, Lexus has infiltrated the former monopoly of European manufacturers’ often touted in absolutes.

The powerful sedan has angular, sleek lines and is near stealth. Occupants have much else to praise, but the LS 500’s commanding presence quickly attracts attention.

2020 Lexus LS 500: Smooth, Swift

The five-passenger cruiser is available in one trim level. It’s equipped with a 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 with 416 horsepower a 10-speed automatic transmission. Five drive modes are offered. Rear-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. A hybrid version is also available.

Acceleration is swift and smooth. The 0-60 miles per hour standard is achieved in 4.9 seconds. Gas mileage averages are 19 miles per gallon in city driving, 30 miles per gallon on the freeway. The LS 500 is equipped with 10 airbags.

Manufacturers can’t slack when determining the equipment lists of their luxury vehicles. Lexus understands as much as any competitor.

The 2019 Lexus LS 500 among TheWeeklyDriver.com's 2019 Best Cars. Trucks.
The 2019 Lexus LS 500 is the flagship of the upscale division.

The standard features list is comprehensive: 19-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, LED headlights, a sunroof, a hands-free trunk and power-closing doors.

Leather upholstery, power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, 16-way power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, and a power rear sunshade are also included.

Standard driver aids include: front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and automatic wipers.

With its vast 2018 redo, only a handful of changes arrived last year. Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa joined the technology features stable. A 24-inch head-up display and an upscale wheel design became stand-alone options.

The 2020 Lexus LS 500 is satisfactory without options. Its base price is $75,450. The Executive Package ($17,100), one of the priciest available among mainstream manufacturers, offers worthy items. Power front seat belts and reclining and heated rear seats? Perfect. Power side-window sunshades? Of course.

The Mark Levinson audio system with 23 speakers ($1,940), a panoramic glass roof ($1,000), a panoramic view monitor ($800) and 20-inch split forged alloy wheels ($2,450) are justifiable extravagances. And with a few other odds and ends, the sedan’s top price is $108,490.

The Lexus LS 500 has few downsides and only one major miscue. Adjusting settings, audio source to heated seats, should be easy. But the Lexus infotainment center, with settings from radio sources to heated seats. But the touchpad isn’t intuitive; it’s sensitive and more distractive than convenient.

For years, Lexus has defended its futuristic-looking trapezoid grille as something different in an industry of blandness. But the grille defines ugly and it’s upside down.

The Lexus Enform Safety Connect is nifty. It’s complimentary for the first 10 years of ownership and includes an Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), roadside assistance, automatic collision notification, and stolen vehicle notification. Drivers have access to the Lexus Enform response center 24/7.

The 2020 Lexus LS 500 no doubt defines flagship. It’s a modern automotive homage to big sedans of bygone eras. It’s a perfect solution to and potential burdens of long-distance driving.

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