I want to be perfectly honest with you guys — this is The Truth About Cars, after all — I didn’t like driving the 2022 Lexus RX450h AWD F Sport. It’s not that the Lexus is a bad car, it’s that it’s not the right fit for me … and I mean that both figuratively and literally.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Lexus’ NX compact crossover. I’ve found it to be fairly sporty – in general, and not just by staid Lexus standards – and overall more engaging to drive than the larger (and highly popular) RX, but also a bit cramped inside. Not to mention that the NX, like most Toyota and Lexus products, just seemed a step behind when it came to infotainment.
Lexus addressed two of those criticisms with the current model and did so quite nicely.
While Honda was the first Japanese car company to have a North American showroom hit with a new luxury brand, the Legend lacked the imposing bulk to really threaten the flagship sedans of competitors based in Michigan and Europe (and, on top of that, it had Accord running gear and Rover DNA). Nissan and Toyota got into the luxury-sedan game here in the 1990 model year, when the Infiniti and Lexus brands had their debuts here with the Q45 and LS 400, respectively.
Today’s Rare Ride was randomly mentioned among some other Lexus discussion on Twitter, and your author knew it immediately needed coverage here. This very special RX was conceived at a time when McCartney and Lexus were particularly chummy and financially interested in one another. Lexus worked up a bespoke special edition car as an homage to the legendary star. And though the resulting homage was even more cringe-inducing than its title might suggest, it was at least created for a good cause. You might say this particular Lexus RoX.
Lexus’ first EV, the RZ 450e, will reportedly be debuting with a yoke-style steering wheel that will be coming to the United States as an optional feature. While we’ve seen yokes on dedicated racing vehicles, their adoption by companies producing mass-market automobiles is fairly novel, and global firms have been generally hesitant to use them inside North America.
Lexus won’t be following suit and has already confirmed that its yoke will be available to RZ shoppers living in the U.S.
On Tuesday, Toyota Motor Corp. announced a commitment of 8 trillion yen ($70 billion USD) toward the goal of achieving carbon neutrality someday. Though the concept of any multinational manufacturing entity totally nullifying their carbon footprint seems kind of laughable, so we’ll be referencing this as another electrification strategy — which is still a big deal considering how EV averse Toyota has been thus far.
Despite being an environmental trendsetter with the Prius Hybrid, Toyota has been hesitant to formally commit itself to transition its lineup toward being reliant on battery power. However, President Akio Toyoda has just proudly confirmed that the Japanese automaker would be earmarking the funds for exactly that purpose, noting that the brand (along with Lexus) would be spending the money through 2030 to make sure its global sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) reach 3.5 million vehicles annually. Though the most enjoyable aspect of the release was the direct manner it was presented, with Toyoda-san being impressively honest about modern automotive trends.
We are constantly making decisions as we all hurtle through this life toward a destination unknown.
Sometimes these decisions turn out to be the “correct” decision, however “correct” is defined within the relevant context. Sometimes it’s the opposite.
The problem is that while the outcome of our decisions is sometimes obvious – I know when I order that one more beer that I’m kicking a payment of minor pain down the road to tomorrow – sometimes, the outcome isn’t foreseeable. Especially when you’re making a decision that feels correct at the moment (and defensible in hindsight), and yet a nasty surprise is just seconds away from smacking you in the face.
In other words, sometimes you make a decision that seems correct, seems low risk, one that others would agree with – and it still all goes to hell.
When Toyota announced that the Land Cruiser wouldn’t be coming back to the United States, off-road people shrugged and got back into their clapped-out 4Runners. Despite being incredibly capable wherever pavement is in short supply and having a pedigree that rivals Jeep’s Wrangler, the Land Cruiser is a prohibitively expensive vehicle. Toyota’s penchant for overbuilding vehicles merged with the model’s luxurious bent, resulting in a product that retailed at $87,030 before adding a single option, and sales volumes reflected this.
It was just too rich for most Americans and sales suffered as a result. But Lexus has confirmed the Cruiser-based LX will be returning and recently teased the new model’s next-generation online. While the manufacturer hasn’t confirmed that the 2022 Lexus LX 600 will be a rebadged version of Toyota’s off-road emperor, literally every generation of the LX series has been.
Today’s Rare Ride was the only other car accompanying Lexus’ LS 400 at dealerships in 1990 and 1991. The fanciest Camry offered in the US, it was a badge conversion from a Camry sold in the Japanese market.
But consumers saw through the charade, so while the high-effort LS 400 flew off the showroom floor, the minimal effort ES just sat there.
I’m back with more boring used car content, a topic some of you apparently despise with a passion. Caution: More used-car discussion ahead, get out while you still can if this is the case! For the rest of you, let’s review the impractical car suggestions you’ve made that earned a spot on the Yes, I Like list.
Believe it or not, two full years have passed since I took the very long and fairly rushed journey from Cincinnati to Austin to purchase the 2015 Lexus GS 350. After the fly-then-drive non-holiday trip, it was time to settle into some routine ownership and driving. Routine might be the wrong word though, as within a year the scope of “routine” changed considerably. Want to guess how many miles it’s accumulated over the past couple of years?
Last week, Lexus launched a viral marketing campaign — that also makes for an excellent public service announcement — about how stupid it is to check your phone while driving. But it has only just started getting the kind of attention it deserves, now that some of the contentious regulatory news has subsided.
The automaker modified a Lexus NX crossover with an electrochromic film that can totally obfuscate the glass for 4.6 seconds — which is the average length of time a person looks at their phone while driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It then invited people to take the car for a “test drive” while it made a point about distracted driving. While an overt publicity stunt, it was rather effective and addresses one of our biggest concerns in terms of automotive safety. Lexus simply showcased a bunch of morons with phones in an interesting way, highlighted the danger, and then got off its podium.
It’s no secret the Lexus RC F is fast. That’s what tends to happen when you drop a honkin’ V8 in a two-door luxury coupe.
That said, the RC F, and the RC coupe it’s based on, feel almost like mysteries, giving how they seem to be afterthoughts in a class that itself has become a bit of an afterthought in today’s crossover-crazed marketplace.
I’m trying to imagine the buyer who walks into a Lexus dealership, ready to buy an SUV. The options can be overwhelming. No fewer than five distinct models with a bit of ground clearance dot the clean, modern showroom and perfectly aligned aisles of fresh deliveries.
The RX is the gold standard of luxury crossovers, of course – and it’s now available with a third-row great for small children, small dogs, or golf clubs. The NX and UX lean toward the more affordable scale, for upwardly mobile folks who don’t need to be mobile with a ton of stuff.
The 2020 Lexus GX460, however, is in a weird spot. It really doesn’t give the passengers much additional space over the RX, but it’s a much bigger vehicle overall. It’s a rugged, body-on-frame beast that can tame many an off-road trail. It doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the Lexus lineup – bigger LX notwithstanding. But it clearly meets the needs of many, many drivers.
There’s no doubt the Lexus RC F is one of the better-performing luxury sports cars out there. Now the brand is cooking up a special edition for just 60 buyers.
Dubbed the Fuji Speedway Edition, this car will boast 472 horsepower and 395 lb-feet of torque from its 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8.
Hey there, Mr. or Mrs. CEO who just got charged with making your company more “green”. Lexus has a car for you.
It carries a hybrid powertrain and boasts features meant to coddle.
You just have to get past the styling. This LS is curvy and bears a large “spindle” grille that has become a hallmark of Lexus of late — and that grille is quite polarizing.
Sedans continue to take up a significant chunk of the marketplace, but with the ever-evolving and more functional crossover SUV becoming less compromised in terms of efficiency and safety, the crossover sales takeover continues. That said, lighter-weight sedans, especially hybrids, can still net you some fuel savings.
To wit – the 2020 Lexus ES300h.
As expected, the traditionally front-drive Lexus ES will enliven its rear axle for the 2021 model year.
Like its sister sedan, the Toyota Avalon, the ES range will see the addition of an all-wheel drive model motivated by the automaker’s stalwart 2.5-liter four-cylinder. A powerhouse it is not, but come winter, the ES 250 AWD could be a respectable motorist’s best friend.
The study of user experience, often shortened to UX (since everything needs to fit in a neat 140-character limit), looks at how humans interact with a particular system. Often applied to computers, cell phones, and the like, UX looks at usability, ergonomics, and human feelings as they pertain to whatever system is being studied.
Lexus has a different definition for UX. The brand’s UX is this 2020 Lexus UX 250h, an “Urban Crossover.” While budget constraints have affected city infrastructure maintenance nationwide, leaving many roads a pockmarked hellscape, I’m not completely certain I buy the crossover story. So I grabbed the keyfob, prepared to thrash this pretender in the old TTAC tradition.
The days of the stately, sedate, and silent luxury provided by the Lexus LS are over.
As it’s done with virtually every vehicle in its lineup, Lexus has made an F Sport trim available. Whether this is done to combat the stereotype of Lexus as staid or to give well-heeled buyers a chance to have their cake and eat it too, or both, I don’t know. I do know that whatever spring the F Sport puts in the LS’s step, it’s still more of a luxury cruiser than an all-out flagship sports sedan. And that’s not a bad thing.
Electric concept cars are often a snoozefest, nothing but vaporware bait aimed at the techie crowd, but a vehicle coming to Tokyo’s annual auto show in October will likely herald a production vehicle. Specifically, the Lexus brand’s first EV.
Both Toyota and its premium division plan to field a total of 10 electric models by the middle of next decade. If a report detailing the Lexus concept is anything to go on, the brand’s first electric offering might be boxy, modestly sized, and — if Lexus designers really do plan on emulating an older concept — possibly pretty ugly.
Automotive journalists have long labeled the Lexus ES, and especially the hybrid version, as “boring.”
Count me among that number.
To its credit, Lexus has worked to remedy that reputation. The current-gen ES is still no sex machine or thrilling sports ride, but it’s more engaging than before without sacrificing the isolating comfort Lexus is known for. A new F Sport model does provide a bit more pizzazz, but even the fuel-saving hybrid is less of a snooze-fest than before.
I got my hands on one in North Carolina earlier this year, just to get a sense of how much less yawn-inducing it is than before.
Earlier in the month, Lexus brought a convertible LC to the United Kingdom’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. While the car came clad in silvery camouflage and was officially referred to as a “prototype,” we didn’t take it all that seriously. Drop-top cars haven’t been in vogue for quite some time and — if we’re being honest — the LC hasn’t been super popular either.
A lot of that has to do with the coupe boasting an entry point of nearly six-figures. Sleek and sexy, the LC makes a wonderful grand tourer for those seeking something a bit more plush than a Porsche 911 and are willing to sacrifice a bit of performance for said luxury. However most people with the means to pick between the two will still select the more-expensive, and hardcore, German.
For holdover convertible enthusiasts, there wasn’t even a choice to be made. Porsche was offering an open-air experience while Toyota’s luxury arm was not — and had not since 2015. But that’s about to change, because Lexus has confirmed that the LC convertible will eventually enter production.
In the beginning, Willys created the sports-utility vehicle. Now, the sports was negligible and the utility was strictly for the military-industrial complex, and darkness was over two continents at war. And when the war ended, Willys said “let there be civilians who want to drink cheap beer and go rock crawling,” and there were knobby tires and lift kits.
Then the off-roaders began to multiply, each taking their own form. And it was good. But then one saw that the fruit of a tree in the garden looked like a half-used bar of soap — this tree, known as the crossover, represents all that is evil.
Lexus has embraced everything within the realm of the sports-utility spectrum. From tiny crossovers to this massive 2019 Lexus LX570, nearly all needs can be covered. But is this biggest Lexus good or evil?
You needn’t be an automotive writer to know that when a key is tossed in your direction, you catch it. If it’s the key to a winter-garaged, low-mileage, 2005 Lexus LS430, you grab the key and run.
I rode to a work two weeks ago on the new Suzuki DR-Z400SM with which I replaced my 2013 Scion FR-S. It’s something I do a few times per week. The bike’s fun. It’s a riot. It’s a rip-roaring good time. But it is a process. Want to meet the fam for a hastily arranged early lunch? Once I’m all geared up, I head outside and wait for the carbureted Suzuki to rediscover a happy idle. Gloves on. Cuffs straightened. Helmet cinched. Leg heaved over the lofty supermoto. Many minutes later, I’m finally on my way.
So much for the early lunch.
Two Tuesdays past, however, my good friend Jeff heard me heading out and said, “Hey, take the Lexus.” His dad’s Lexus, that is, and formerly his grandfather’s Lexus. In this moment, I not only entered deeper into the vehicular recesses of an infamous Island clan, I set up an impromptu comparison test the likes of which may never again occur.
Just because the Lexus GX 460 rarely goes off-road, doesn’t mean it can’t. Despite the fact that most GXs prowl suburban malls, Lexus is still working to bolster its boulder-bashing bonafides.
The 2020 Lexus GX 460 will be available with an Off-Road Package with Multi-Terrain Select. Available on the top-level Luxury Grade model, this package should help with all that off-roading that Lexus owners are apparently known to do. This system combines surface-selectable traction- and stability-control modes with the Panoramic View and Multi-Terrain Monitors, all but negating the need for a spotter when doing some hardcore rock crawling.
Lexus is taking existing developed systems and technologies and incorporating them into the GX platform.
Car manufacturers don’t always strike a chord with consumers, and even studious brand Lexus is not immune from model flops. Back in 2012, the company offered three compact vehicles nobody wanted.
Today you’ll select one to take home for keeps, whether you like it or not.
The past couple of Wednesday editions of Question of the Day have been full-on Nineties design in their subject matter. First, we considered American marques, before moving on last week to the European set. This week we’ll do it once more, talking about Asian car designs from the Nineties that still hold up today.
Break out your soap bar memories.
“Ask the man who owns one,” Packard once implored readers from the glossy depths of various Depression-era magazines. While clearly not interested in courting the female buyer (I hope they’re dragged on Twitter for this insensitive tagline), Packard’s core message still holds up today.
No one loves poo-pooing other people’s buying decisions quite like auto journos, but each and every buyer has their own reasons for choosing the way they did. Shocking though it may be to some, buyers often walk (okay, drive) away quite pleased with their purchase — even with crossovers plucked from a homogenous pool of now limitless depth.
And, barring quality headaches down the road, their feelings might stay that way, too.
While I never held any deep dislike for Lexus’ compact NX, aside from the fact that its nose is undoubtedly the most prominent — and unprotected — in the industry, desire or even “interest” were never needles that budged off the baseline. What could change this perception? Driving one.
A big luxury sedan is sedate, ponderous, and numb. Insulation from everything outside the cockpit is paramount. Arriving refreshed and relaxed is the order of the day in this class of car.
The little F-Sport badge on the tail of this 2019 Lexus LS 500 changes everything. While one can still chauffeur grandma to church in class and comfort, after she’s been dropped off that drive can quickly change from refreshing to invigoration with a turn of a knob. The idea of a LS F-Sport is nearly as absurd as that of a Miata Brougham with a padded vinyl roof and opera windows. It’s a Brooks Brothers suit with a pair of Brooks running shoes.
It’s unexpected – but it works.
The luxury crossover realm is a weird one. The market has been built on the age-old plan of taking a more basic model and adding profitable flash. The problem lies when the base model is good enough for most buyers.
Indeed, starting out with the best-selling non-truck in America means building something distinctive atop the platform is a challenge. Distinctive most certainly describes this Lexus NX 300h, in more ways than one. But beneath the surface lies a solid performer.
Recently, I’ve shared musings about selling my old Infiniti, as well as the coupe or sedan options pegged to replace it. You readers had your helpful hearts in the right place, with funny suggestions of Challenger, Charger, and Mustang. A couple of weeks have elapsed since then, and there have been developments. Let’s chat.
In an introductory post last week, I detailed a couple of cars I was considering as a replacement to my decade-old Infiniti M. The comments (some filled with unusual anger) prodded me to add another car to the list.
A week later, I can tell you that two of those former options are absolutely out of the question.
When the good folks who bring me cars for review each week mentioned that a Lexus GX460 would be coming to my door, I honestly forgot what the GX was. That’s the curse of a alphanumeric model naming scheme — unless the car itself is iconic, with decades of enthusiast love behind it, it’s hard to develop a connection to a few letters and numbers.
It’s not exactly invisible in the showroom, however — it’s big, and it’s been selling for years with little change. It’s hard to miss, though it lives in the shadow of both the ubiquitous RX and the iconic big-brother LX.
While not perfect, the Lexus GX460 has the versatility to haul the family and a boat either across the country or through the woods in total comfort.
Toyota’s Lexus Division made 2018 all about the sedan, hoping to remind the buying public that forgoing cargo space is still possible in this day and age. This year, or at least at this Detroit show, Lexus is all about the two-doors, with a drop-top LC “concept” available for perusal, as well as a brace of production RC coupes — now mildly made over for the 2020 model year.
The fact the brand still offers two models featuring a trunk and two side doors is worthy of note in this crossover-and-truck-hungry era. With the new RC and long-awaited Toyota Supra both appearing at the North American International Auto Show, the automaker is striking flint against a heap of steel, hoping to rekindle a dying flame.
Late last year, Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz suggested the automaker, after taking stock of its inventory, might cut some struggling product from its store shelves. It now seems on the verge of adding a new one.
Bound for a Detroit debut, the company’s Lexus LC Convertible Concept is not a way-out pipe dream unveiled by an automaker hoping to generate buzz with an inch-deep piece of vaporware. Instead, it is simply the division’s high-zoot LC coupe, sans roof. And all of the wording surrounding the car screams that production is nearly inevitable — so long as the public responds favorably.
Twenty years ago, Lexus created a new segment: the luxury crossover. That 1998 RX 300 was a revelation — buyers with means who wanted something with a higher seating position were previously relegated to traditional, truck-based SUVs. Those old-school machines generally had poor on-road behavior due to their trucky roots.
Not the RX. In eight short years, Lexus had ascended from nothing to the pinnacle of plush. The division eyed customers buying high-trim Ford Explorers and never exploring, and from this the RX was born. Two decades on, the RX still leads the segment it created.
With the Lexus RX 350L — the “L” means long, I assume — that class-dominating RX should be able to coddle a driver and up to six passengers in quiet, leather-wrapped style. Will this three-row, extended-line extension stretch the customer base?
While Lexus has cranked out a few impressive sporting models over its lifetime, “performance” is not a term that’s synonymous with the brand. Instead, Lexus seems to evoke words like “reliability,” “luxury,” and “high resale values” from the collective consumer mindscape. However, the brand does do dynamics. You can log onto its website right now and discover that most of its fleet offers enough horsepower to make getting a ticket easy enough. It also has performance F variants of the GS, LC, and RC for customers of discerning tastes and the need for a 5.0-liter V8 powerplant.
Interested in going the extra mile to prove itself, Lexus plans to unveil a refreshed RC at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, along with a special Track Edition of the already high-performance RC F.
Toyota isn’t immune from the light truck epidemic sweeping the globe; certainly not in North America. In October, the automaker saw light truck sales across both of its divisions rise 6.8 percent, year over year, in the United States, offsetting an 7.2 percent drop in passenger car sales. Tally that volume up over the first 10 months of 2018 and the picture’s even more stark. Year to date, trucks are up 7.7 percent, cars are down 11.1 percent.
The automaker’s North American CEO admits it’s looking at passenger car candidates for execution.
Lexus has announced the 2019 ES sedan for Japan, saying the model will further enhance ride comfort and driving dynamics in its seventh generation while also raising consumer expectations of the tech that goes into making a premium vehicle. Don’t start groaning yet; this doesn’t have anything to do with overblown self-driving capabilities. Toyota’s luxury arm wouldn’t do that to you.
Instead, the ES will become the first production vehicle to replace conventional side mirrors with optional cameras. Dubbed “Digital Side-View Monitors,” the system use exterior cameras mounted on the front doors to transmit images to two 5-inch monitors inside the cabin at the base of each A-pillar.
Reading Matt Posky’s review of the new Edge ST got me thinking about CUVs of the expensive variety. Though Ford argues that the Edge ST is in a “white space” of its own because of the serious performance it achieves, I’m not so sure. I’m not so sure that outright performance makes that much of a difference in this segment.
Let’s put it to the people and find out if I’m wrong.
Unless your surname is Porsche and your given name 911, the sales volumes generated by premium two-doors are frighteningly small. Lexus nevertheless brought to market the two-pronged Lexus LC range, as an indirect successor to the SC, with lofty expectations.
Moreover, Lexus was public with its goals, going so far as to respond directly to TTAC to defend the company’s reasoning.
If early figures were all we had to go by, the initial hype surrounding the $90K+, V8-engined LC500 and its hybrid LC500h sibling indisputably produced goal-besting results. More than a year into its tenure, however, it’s now clear that the LC has fallen wildly short of fulfilling Lexus’ hopes.
No doubt courting Millennials who’ve grown used to bundled costs, Lexus plans to offer its new subcompact crossover — hey, something else Millennials seem to like! — for an all-in-one monthly payment. The vehicle, the insurance, and the maintenance are all covered by a no-haggle price over a two-year term.
Lexus hasn’t listed what the monthly prices might look like, but its UX crossover isn’t the first vehicle to see a subscription-style lease treatment. Volvo popularized the idea with its recent XC40 crossover, also targeted at young, urban professional types with stable incomes and an aversion to dealership salespeople.
I’ll admit it — my brow furrowed after first glimpsing the digital side mirrors adorning the Japanese-market 2019 Lexus ES. Strange, foreign, and unnecessary, the automaker’s new “Digital Outer Mirrors” seem like an answer to a question no one asked, but obviously someone did.
My next thought was how this would meld well with automakers’ infuriating tendency to outfit their concept vehicles with narrow, useless blades jutting from the leading edge of the side glass. Thinking it over, I realized Toyota’s little mirror-scrapping experiment has too many upsides to ignore.
After deliberating eight hours, a Texas jury ordered Toyota to pay $242.1 million to compensate a Dallas family involved in a 2016 rear-end collision that seriously injured two children.
The children, aged 3 and 5, were rear-seat occupants in a 2002 Lexus ES300 driven by parents Benjamin and Kristi Reavis on Dallas’ North Central Expressway. While stopped in traffic, a Honda Pilot collided with the rear of the car at a high rate of speed, causing the front seatbacks to collapse.
One of our trio is on its last legs, another is brand new, and the third option is near the middle of its life. They all share V8 power up front, driven wheels at the rear, and midsections full of luxury equipment. Most people avoided them when new, so it should be no problem finding one to burn.
The Lexus LC 500 is a phenomenal automobile, mainly because it has one of the best interiors I’ve ever plopped myself into, but you don’t see very many on the road. Lexus in on course to sell about 2,000 LCs this year in the United States, which isn’t bad for a vehicle that can be easily optioned into the six-figure range, but that doesn’t make it a high-volume automobile. In fact, it’s actually less common in Europe than a Ferrari 488.
Rarer still will be the LC 500’s new limited variant — the not-so-cleverly named LC Limited Edition. Why Toyota’s luxury arm didn’t decide to dub it the Yellow Edition is beyond us, as that’s the main aspect setting it apart from the rest of its ilk. Doubly confusing is that the model seems to be limited to Europe.
However, based on other colorized LC models cropping up elsewhere, we could be in store for a North American special edition eventually.
Last week, a Lexus ES300 caught my eye. Glimmering two-tone Multiple Taupe Metallic paint called out to me, and frameless windows over thin pillars promised stylish and understated luxury. The 300 lettering on the back guaranteed V6 power and pleasant NVH characteristics.And the low miles guaranteed a final sale price that was ultimately insane. Is there a method to the madness?