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Our Long-Term 2020 Lexus LS500 Hauls Human Cargo More Than Capably

Spending some time around town with the family in tow.

Mike FloydWriterBrandon LimPhotographer

When you evaluate a high-end luxury sedan designed to haul several people in comfort like the 2020 Lexus LS500 is meant to do, it's important to, you know, haul several people in it at some point. Recently I had a chance to do just that when my parents came to town for an extended stay.

They're getting up there in years, so ingress and egress can sometimes be a problem. But that wasn't so when they hopped (OK, slowly clambered is more like it) into and out of the LS500. No complaints there. But the real winners of the week were the back seats. My wife and mother had a ball using the seat-massaging functions and otherwise playing with the keypad in the center armrest (it also can control functions like the radio). They scrolled between massages, warmed up the seats, and reclined them as well. We used crowbars to pry them out when we got home.

Passenger room is as you'd expect in a car like the 2020 Lexus LS500—copious. My stepdad is a tall lad, about 6-feet, 5-inches or so, and he had all the legroom and more he needed without impinging on my mom's space behind him. To be fair, my mom's not exactly tall, so I jumped behind for a second to see how I'd fit behind him, and I had more than enough legroom as well.

Getting around Los Angeles is always a challenge, and it's important to hit some gaps in traffic whenever they briefly present themselves. Though my mom and wife weren't exactly thrilled when I did, I got on the throttle a couple of times to get us up to speed or into the carpool lane. Toyota's new 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6, which pushes out 416 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque in the LS500, proved to be a trooper and had no problem handling the extra weight of a car full of passengers. The engine note is muffled and rightfully so; this is a car that uses its power as a motivational cruising tool—a super sports sedan it is not. That said, there has been some carping about the loss of the V-8 option for the LS, especially given the German competition, which continues to offer eights for its flagship sedans.

Yes, the boosted V-6 is down on power compared to its rivals, and no, its acceleration doesn't blow you away. But with Sport and Sport+ modes available, there are some ways to have fun playing with the 2020 LS500 when you want to. But most of the time, you'll want to dial it back to Comfort mode and roll over imperfections, smooth out the bumpy stuff, and let the 10-speed automatic transmission glide through its gears instead of paddling them. There were no complaints from anyone about the ride quality; my wife in particular has become an expert backseat driver, and has no problems ripping a car if it jostles her in the slightest. I specifically asked her about the Lexus while undertaking one of our longer drives, and she offered up nothing but pleasantries about the comfort. As it should be.

The LS500's interior itself drew several compliments as well. Although the adornments are a bit busy in spots (case in point, the graphics trim in the passenger dash area), the mainly white seating really pops, and the dark Kiriko-glass trim in the door and the brown trim add some impressive contrast.

We also recently took the LS500 in for its first 5,000-mile service, which consists of a tire rotation and inspection only (oil change comes at 10,000 miles), and all went well. Service is covered as part of the Lexus experience so we didn't have to pull out any cash. One issue we noticed just after the service, however, is that the brake pedal can make a clunking noise when pressed hard. It's a repeatable glitch, so we'll take it back in to have the Lexus service team diagnose it and will let you know what they discover.

There are some areas where others in this automotive segment are setting the pace, most notably in the center stack, infotainment, and instrument panel departments, though there are some high points (the head-up display, for example, is excellent). But one thing's for sure: The 2020 Lexus LS500 duly impressed a skeptical wife and a couple of seniors—not to mention the editor hauling them around.

Our 2020 Lexus LS500 Specifications
Overview
PRICE $76,475/$106,645 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 3.5-liter twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6/416 @ 6,000 rpm, 442 lb-ft @ 1,600-4,800 rpm
TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, RWD sedan
Chassis
CONSTRUCTION Unibody
STEERING Electric speed-sensing power assisted
TURNING CIRCLE 37.4 ft
SUSPENSION, F/R Multilink/multilink
BRAKES, F/R Vented disc/vented disc
WHEELS, F/R 20-inch/20-inch
TIRES Bridgestone Turanza EL450, 245/45RF20 99V
Measurements
L X W X H 206.1 x 74.8 x 57.1 in
WHEELBASE 123.0 in
TRACK, F/R 64.2/64.4 in
HEADROOM, F/R 36.8/36.4 in
LEGROOM, F/R 41.0/38.9 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 58.8/56/4 in
CARGO CAPACITY 17.0 cu ft
WEIGHT 4,949 lb
WEIGHT DIST F/R 53%/47%
EPA MILEAGE 19/30/23 (city/hwy/combined)
FUEL CAPACITY 22.2 gal
FUEL RANGE 666 miles (est)
FUEL GRADE Premium
0-60 MPH 5.1 sec (mfr)
TOP SPEED 136 mph (mfr)
Equipment
STANDARD EQUIPMENT
Lexus Safety System + 2.0 (Automatic collision braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert and assistance, road sigh recognition, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams)
Blind-spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert
Parking assistance with automatic braking
Proximity key
LED headlights, taillights and DRLs
16-way power front seats with heating and ventilation
Heated leather-trimmed steering wheel
Power moonroof
Power rear sunshade
Hands-free power trunklid
Rain-sensing windshield wipers
Dual-zone climate control
12-speaker premium audio with 12.3" display, navigation and Apple CarPlay
Lexus Enform Remote with Alexa Skill integration, WiFi, and Destination Assist
First aid kit
Luggage net
OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT
Lexus Safety System + A (Active steering assistance, lane-change assist, front cross traffic alert, pedestrian detection in HUD, expanded forward collision detection), $3,000
Adaptive variable air suspension, $1,500
20-inch wheels with Vapor Chrome finish, $1,200
24-inch head-up display, $1,200
Adaptive front headlights, $300
Executive Package (Quilted perforated semi-aniline leather interior trim, 28-way power front seats with massage, power-reclining, heated and cooled, massaging outer rear seats, four-zone climate control, power side sunshades, rear-seat touch-screen controller), $17,100
23-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, $1,940
Panoramic glass sunroof, $1,000
Panoramic parking camera, $800
Premium wood trim, $800
Heated wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel, $410
Door edge film, $90
Rear bumper applique, $95
Illuminated door sills, $450
Trunk mat, cargo net, wheel locks, and key gloves, $285