EDITORS NOTEBOOK: 2008 Lexus LS600hL, Day 1

Read Phil Floraday’s comments on driving the 2008 Lexus LS600hL.

I know the people who buy this sedan want to think they are saving the world, but why does the display always revert to showing you fuel consumption and how much energy has been recaptured during braking? I don’t care if I’m saving the earth or not while I’m sitting in traffic, but I would love to be able to keep the satellite radio information on the screen indefinitely. Sometimes the display would revert to eco-weenie mode before I even found a song I liked on the radio. Why force the green issue? Maybe I don’t want to advertize that I’m driving a hybrid to all my passengers all the time.

I was disappointed with the EV mode operation. I could not keep up with traffic from a stoplight without the gas engine kicking in. I had to drive like there was an egg under the accelerator to stay in EV mode when starting from a stop. Yeah, the car is big and heavy, but with all that trunk room devoted to storing batteries, I’d like to get a little more EV mode acceleration. It seems like too much compromise for not much actual benefits. Maybe it would be different if I were driving in the city all the time, but my miles are almost strictly highway.

Aside from the complaints about how unimpressive EV mode is, the LS600h is a nice ride. It’s very quiet, super luxurious, and even when the gas engine is active all the time on the highway, it turns some impressive fuel economy. Of course, all those positives apply to the far cheaper LS460L. I really like the LS cars, but I can’t say I understand why people would choose the 600h over a 460.