2020 Lexus LC 500h - Life Is Good

Sometimes the gods are good. Other times not so much. The good? I got a Lexus LC 500h for a week. The not so much? It's been raining for most of the week. 

I'm not a fan of the styling of the LC but seeing as I spent my time behind the wheel I could ignore the outside. I may be in the minority because a lot of people thought it looked "cool" or "fast". 

The LC 500h is a hybrid; that's what the "h" stands for. It may seem strange that an expensive GT is a hybrid but there is a market. There is a non-hybrid LC with a 471 hp, 5.0-liter V8. The 500h is equipped with a 295 hp, 3.5-liter V6, coupled with an electric motor that brings the total power up to 354 hp. 

I don't do timed acceleration or top speed tests. Lexus says the LC 500h gets to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and tops out at 155 mph. In contrast the V8 gas engine does it in 4.4 seconds and will hit 168 mph. 

The instrument cluster can be simple (like this) or busier. 

But the hybrid wins in fuel economy with a rating of 27-mpg city and 35-mpg highway as opposed to the V8's 16-mpg city and 25-mpg highway. I did not check the mileage or performance but I have no reason to doubt Lexus' figures.

I did get my foot into the accelerator a couple of times. Outside of some darn sweet sounds from the V6, and the rear tires (the optional 275/35RF21) trying their best to break loose despite the traction control, the LC was very composed up until I hit 60 mph and had to slow down.

The idea behind a GT (Gran Turismo or Grand Touring) car is a high performance car designed for rapid, luxurious transportation. Here the LC shines.

Despite those low profile tires (the fronts are 245/45RF21) and a suspension designed for handling instead of a boulevard ride once ensconced in the beautiful, comfortable seats the LC 500h was almost the perfect cockpit. 

Every thing in the interior was beautifully finished. There is leather, suede, and brushed stainless. 

I say almost because no matter how I try I can not get used to Lexus' touch pad. There are some things that just beg for a switch. Like the seat heaters. To turn them on you have to access the climate control. To access the climate control you have to use the touch pad. It is nigh on impossible to use the touch pad when you're driving. And my fingers do not always work on touch pads.

The evil touch pad! My fingers don't always work on touch pads.

Now maybe you can do all of that with voice control but I have almost zero luck with voice control. I said, "Turn off the seat heaters." The readout showed that was what I said but the sound system changed from SiriusXM to AM. Not exactly what I was hoping for. Maybe with more time I could have mastered the voice control but I'm doubtful.

The shifter, a lever on the console, is a bit unconventional. To engage reverse you pull it back into drive then pull it a bit to the left and push it up. I did master that. You can put the transmission into "Manual" mode and use the paddle shifters but I never did. I suppose if I was really pushing it on a twisty road I might have but around town or on the highway there was no need.

The button just behind the lever is to engage Park.

The transmission itself is a combination of a CVT and 4-speed automatic.

I thought I'd have trouble getting in and out of the LC. It sits kind of low - heck it's only 53" high and has just 5.5" of ground clearance. But it wasn't too bad. The doors, if you have the room, open really wide. So I could ease my butt down into the seat. Getting out was a little more difficult but I found that if I swung both legs out, planted my feet squarely on the ground I could stand up fairly easily. 

There is a rear seat but ... Lexus says there is 32.5" of legroom in the back but I think that is with the front seats all the way forward. I'm just a tad less than 6' and there was scant space for legs behind my seat.

Luggage space is only 4.7 cubic feet; the non-hybrid ups that to 5.4 cubic feet. I expected Lexus to offer custom luggage that would fit perfectly but I didn't see any in the options section of the Lexus public site.

And now we come to the bottom line - the price. In the world of luxury, high performance GTs it is reasonable. The LC 500h has a base price of $97,460. The test car hit $104,540 with options and delivery. 

And that's the rub isn't it? The majority of purchasers will probably never drive the LC, either LC, to its full potential. The people who can afford it, and this is a generalization, are older and less inclined to break the law. The LC is made for fast driving down the coast but most will see more sedate driving to the country club for 18 holes with friends. 

I'm old but I'd love to own an LC. I'd probably opt for the V8 because that's the kind of guy I am. But if I owned an LC I probably wouldn't have my license much longer.


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