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Luxury sedans seem like they are a dying breed. Many of their more modestly-priced competitors are being phased out in favor of larger SUVs and trucks, which certainly reflects a shift in consumer demands. So, what is a luxury automobile manufacturer to do? Make the best luxury sedan that they can. And that is exactly what Lexus has done with the 2019 Lexus LS.
This year, Lexus has made quite a few important additions and alterations to the LS line-up despite only being two years into its fifth generation. Alexa and Apple CarPlay now come standard, and you can get a 24-inch head-up display as an add-on option. Lexus has also added a semi-autonomous lane changing feature to its optional safety package.
The Lexus LS technically has just one trim level, but it comes in six different styles: the LS 500 RWD and AWD, the LS 500h RWD and AWD, and the LS 500 F Sport RWD and AWD. So, as you can imagine, these styles are all fairly similar with a few glaringly obvious differences. However, there are some nitty-gritty details that deserve the customer's attention since they differentiate one style to the next.
For that reason, before you decide on which style of Lexus LX to buy, it is important to know what you're getting into. Read on through to the end of this review, and by the time you get there, you should have a clearer idea of which 2019 Lexus LS is the right one for you.
Compare the 2019 Lexus LS 500 vs 500h - What is the difference?
First up, we have the LS 500 and its hybrid variant, the 500 h, both of which come in two variants - a rear-wheel drive and an all-wheel drive. Both trim levels are equipped with the same 3.5-L V6 engine. On the LS 500, this engine is able to generate an impressive 416 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. On the 500h, it gets 295 hp and 257 lb-ft of torque since this variant is a hybrid. Of course, the 23 combined mpg that you get on the regular 500 gets upped quite a bit (to 28 mpg combined) on the 500h. While the 500 comes with a standard 10-speed automatic transmission, the 500h gets a variable automatic transmission. While a driver selectable suspension is optional on the 500, it does come standard on the 500h.
On the outside, the two trim levels have quite a lot in common. They both ride atop 19-inch alloy wheels and come with the same all-season tires. The headlights on both are automatic on-off, and the Smart Key system allows you lock and unlock the LS while you have the key fob in your pocket or purse. The windows come with tinted glass, and the LS models all have an in glass antenna. The only differences you might notice on the outside are a few minor trim changes, but, other than that, these two trim levels look a lot alike on the exterior.
On the interior, the 500 and 500h also share quite a few of the same standard features. Both vehicles come with heated front seats, a power moonroof/sunroof, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel that has numerous controls mounted onto it for the driver's convenience. Also, the steering column in both vehicles is tilt-and-telescopic. Both the driver and front passenger seats are power adjustable. The cabin is cooled by a dual zone front climate control, and there are climate control vents placed in the rear as well. An interior air filter is included in order to help keep airborne allergens like pollen at bay. There are sun shades available for the rear if you wish to equip those.
On the technological front, it is important to know that both vehicles come with standard voice activated controls. You also get real-time traffic information displayed for you in both vehicles. If you are not satisfied by the standard audio system, both the LS 500 and 500h can be upgraded to a stellar Mark Levinson audio system. An auxiliary input jack, satellite radio, and telematic system all come standard on both vehicles.
As you can probably imagine, both the LS 500 and 500h have most of the same standard safety features. The list of standard safety features available on both trims includes electronic traction control, stability control, front and rear disc brakes, a brake assist system, a tire pressure monitoring system, and anti-theft protection with an engine immobilizer. Also, both vehicles come with a panic alarm button on a key fob that you can press when you are unable to find your LS.
Of course, we have to address the price tag difference. Since the 500h is a hybrid model, it is going to be more expensive. But how much more expensive is it? The base LS 500 with rear-wheel drive has a starting MSRP of around $75,300. Meanwhile, the 500h trim level has a starting MSRP of just about $79,800. $4,500 is a pretty significant difference in price when the only upgrade you get is to the hybrid powertrain. Then again, the fact that it will save you some money at the gas pump can balance this out in the long-run.
Compare the 2019 LS 500 vs 500 F Sport Trims. What is the difference?
For just about $2,000 more than the cost of the LS 500h, there is the line-topping LS 500 F Sport. Like the two lower trim levels, the LS 500 F Sport is available with either rear- or all-wheel drive. Since it is powered by the same powertrain as the LS 500, it also gets 416 hp. It has the same rapid acceleration speed too, going from 0 to 60 mph in roughly 4.6 seconds. The rear-wheel drive variant gets a combined 23 mpg while the all-wheel version gets just 21 mpg combined, just like what you get on the base LS 500 models. Also, the brakes on the F Sport are larger and the suspension is sport-tuned, as you might expect from a performance-based sport sedan.
On the outside, there are some pretty obvious differences between the LS 500 and the 500 F Sport. The F Sport, for example, gets upgraded to 20-inch alloy wheels instead of the 19-inch ones found on the 500. The tires that come with it are also different, as they are performance tires. The overall design is also slightly sportier with its black mesh grille and unique trims. However, to the average passerby, the vehicles will be difficult to distinguish from each other.
On the inside, the 500 and 500 F Sport share quite a few of the same features. The biggest change that you might notice is that the seats on the 500 F Sport are clad in some seriously chic and upscale leather upholstery. Up front, the driver seat is power adjustable 12 ways, which means that there is a lot of room for configuring the most comfortable driving position. Other standard equipment on the inside of the LS 500 F Sport includes map lights for the front and rear of the cabin, illuminated vanity mirrors up front, a full floor console, carpeted floor mats, sport seats for the front, and a bench seat in the rear. Both the driver and front passenger seats are heated, ventilated, and have memory functions.
Infotainment features tend to carry over as well. The LS 500 F Sport has an AM/FM radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, an in-dash mounted single CD player, MP3 capability, voice recognition, and an auxiliary jack input. A navigation system comes built-in and has a voice activation feature that allows for hands-free accessibility. The audio system comes with 12 Pioneer speakers, and an amplifier and equalizer come standard as well.
The F Sport also has quite a few of the same safety features and driver aids. Included on the F Sport are advanced cruise control, an in-vehicle assistance service, parking assist, a lane departure warning, a blind-spot monitoring system, and a low tire pressure warning. All of these can be found on the base LS 500 model, so your decision to upgrade most likely will not be based on trying to get more advanced safety features.
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Which One Should You Choose?
Picking a version of the 2019 Lexus LS probably will not be a grueling decision for most buyers. The three different variants are all pretty straightforward in terms of what each one has to offer. The base LS 500 will suit most buyers since it is jam-packed with a lot of luxurious features. That's why it is the trim that we recommend.
Of course, if fuel efficiency is going to be a deciding factor in why you buy a new vehicle, you might want to consider opting for the LS 500h. It is more expensive of a vehicle to buy, but it will not cost you as much to fill up the gas tank.
The line-topping LS 500 F Sport is nice, for certain, but it isn't so drastically different from the regular 500 that the price tag can easily be justified.