2013 Lexus LS600h L: Plenty of Tech, but Short on Value

Apps and Telematics Services

Lexus calls its suite of telematics and apps Enform. The package includes Bing search, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Pandora, Yelp, and Facebook Places. Accessing the software requires an Android or iOS device connected to the LS600h through Bluetooth, with a companion app installed on the device. While some vehicles simply exploit an accessory mode that requires each app to be installed on your smartphone or tablet, Enform works independently of the standalone apps.

Instead, it requires you to register for an Enform account, and then link the various apps accounts separately. From there, you simply sign into Enform in the companion app. That's it. The vehicle merely uses your mobile device for its data connection. Of course, this has its advantages and drawbacks. As a pro, you don’t need all of the software composing Enform installed on your phone. But that also means you can't just park your car, take your device with you, and continue listening to the same song.

Even still, the apps work as advertised, albeit at varying performance levels, depending on your data connection. I’m on T-Mobile and noticed slower-than-expected loading/connecting. But once the music starts, I didn't run into any drops or buffering issues.

2014 Lexus LS 600h L: Apps

The Enform suite does require occasional updates though, which can become bothersome since the process is slow. Lexus relies on the Tweddle Connect API. Unfortunately, the process isn’t particularly elegant; it downloads packages over the air, rendering the app suite inaccessible in the meantime. I'd prefer to see updates bundled with the Enform companion app and transferred from there instead of relying on the varying speeds of 3G and LTE, all the while burning through your data allowance.

I consider the app suite to be interesting. I like using Pandora in the car, but the other titles aren't as vital to me. Sure, it’s nice to have access to Yelp reviews, purchase movie tickets, make dinner reservations, or search for points of interest through Bing. But the vehicle can’t be in motion. It's far easier to have my wife perform those duties as I drive. At least Lexus doesn't charge for the ability to essentially tether your phone to the car, so we have to appreciate its fortitude in resisting the temptation to nickel and dime us.

Data Services And Safety Connect

Enform includes telematics and safety assurance services for those of you willing to pay almost $265 annually (the first year is free when you buy the car new). Paying that fee opens up a useful destination assistance service to you, which we'll cover in greater detail on the next page, along with eDestination services that let you plan trips online and then send them to the car. Most important, the Safety Connect adds roadside assistance, emergency assistance through an SOS button mounted between the sunroof controls, a stolen vehicle tracker, and automatic collision notification.

If you only want Safety Connect, you can purchase those peace-of-mind services for just under $140 a year. Of course, that leaves us wondering what the extra $125 pays for. The answer isn't particularly savory: you get the aforementioned eDestination service and access to the destination assistance line, which is ridiculous. Previously, the costlier package was required in order to use the data-sucking Enform app suite. But Lexus subsequently made it free to use without any subscription. So, unless you use eDestination or the destination assistance service regularly, there’s little reason to pay $265 per year instead of buying the $140 package.

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26 comments
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  • It doesn't look stately and serious like the LS400 of old. Have they hired a new designer?
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  • This car, on the outside, looks like your average Mazda or Honda. So -1 there.
    I'm sorry for Lexus for Mercedes is years ahead with its new S class.

    This LS600 does not look premium enough and the inside is closer to an Audi A6.
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  • 749236 said:
    It doesn't look stately and serious like the LS400 of old. Have they hired a new designer?


    I'd assume so since the LS400 was a Toyota Celsior and badge engineered with premium only content for the US whereas the LS600h L and LS460 was designed solely to be a Lexus from the get go with its own styling.

    168843 said:
    This car, on the outside, looks like your average Mazda or Honda. So -1 there. I'm sorry for Lexus for Mercedes is years ahead with its new S class. This LS600 does not look premium enough and the inside is closer to an Audi A6.


    Yea, the Mercedes S class is stunning inside and out. The Lexus looks bland and when you step inside, it doesn't give the same wow factor. Sure its functional, but its not what I'd expect from a luxury vehicle.
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  • if I had 100+k to spend on a luxury sedan car, i would never get this car, it would either be a A8/A7, S550 or 760i.

    And its not because I dont like Japanese cars, I used to have an Acura RL, but they too have dropped the ball. Their design looks bland, they drive is similar to mid class series high end cars, if you want high end you do not think Lexus anymore.
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  • These expensive luxury hybrids offer little in compensation for the extremely high price. Unless you are like Harvey Specter from suits, most people drive themselves and could care less about reclining rear seats. There are so many better, less expensive, better performing options than this. Not to mention, you could always install an aftermarket infotainment system that would likely function more intuitively than the factory unit.

    Honestly, there is too much segmentation in the automotive market with regard to infotainment. The controls and look of these system seem dated, even when brand new. Plus, who on Earth needs composite plugs for an infotainment system?! It is 2014!
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  • Quote:
    who on Earth needs composite plugs for an infotainment system?! It is 2014!


    you are right, that is completely absurb, I think I threw all my composite cables away, its either HDMI or Displayport
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  • Why would you review a 2013 model in 2014 when the 2015 cars are almost out??

    Or are we just recycling? I'm also for recycling - just not in my "News" section. ;)
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  • I think 1 of the main reasons why this Lexus doesn't get much better fuel economy, and no better fuel economy than a regular Lexus is because the engine is not Atkinson cycle, but rather regular OTTO cycle.
    In most hybrid cars, the engine is Atkinson cycle, where the intake valves stay open part way up the compression stroke to increase thermal efficiency. Thus it is more efficient not only in the city where the electric motors aid efficiency, but on steady state highway driving too.

    But with this Lexus it is probably just plain OTTO cycle. If they were smart, they have camshaft behavior where it could change from OTTO to Atkinson and back on the fly, in millieseconds, so you can have more fuel economy and also the power when you get into it. But they don't.
    Part time HCCI (Sparkless diesel cycle ignition) is even more efficient, with OTTO cycle when you want power.

    Also if this car had a higher capacity battery pack with a more powerful electric motor, there'd be less need for engine displacement.
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  • 315048 said:
    Quote:
    who on Earth needs composite plugs for an infotainment system?! It is 2014!
    you are right, that is completely absurb, I think I threw all my composite cables away, its either HDMI or Displayport


    Yea its a bit odd. Even the Honda Fit and Civic have HDMI inputs now for the front infotainment system.

    1396902 said:
    Why would you review a 2013 model in 2014 when the 2015 cars are almost out?? Or are we just recycling? I'm also for recycling - just not in my "News" section. ;)


    Because the higher end luxury vehicles are harder to come by. We got ahold of it towards the end of 2013. 2014 was mostly carryover minus one package change that added the driver assists to make it $135k, which doesn't really change our opinion of the vehicle at all. I assume 2015 will be another carryover year as well since the flagships run on 10 year product cycles.

    137290 said:
    I think 1 of the main reasons why this Lexus doesn't get much better fuel economy, and no better fuel economy than a regular Lexus is because the engine is not Atkinson cycle, but rather regular OTTO cycle. In most hybrid cars, the engine is Atkinson cycle, where the intake valves stay open part way up the compression stroke to increase thermal efficiency. Thus it is more efficient not only in the city where the electric motors aid efficiency, but on steady state highway driving too. But with this Lexus it is probably just plain OTTO cycle. If they were smart, they have camshaft behavior where it could change from OTTO to Atkinson and back on the fly, in millieseconds, so you can have more fuel economy and also the power when you get into it. But they don't. Part time HCCI (Sparkless diesel cycle ignition) is even more efficient, with OTTO cycle when you want power. Also if this car had a higher capacity battery pack with a more powerful electric motor, there'd be less need for engine displacement.


    I think at the end of the day, its because its still a very heavy boat and they are trying to replicate a V12 with good fuel economy but ultimately end up with something that doesn't do much better than a turbo V8 that has more power and much more entertaining to drive.
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  • I don't know but they probably have something here. I believe their hybrid implementation is well suited for this niche since buyers of this class won't be able to use all the power of a V12.
    With the hybrid though, max torque would be available even at low RPMs which results in a more relaxed driving and that performance would not need an expert driver.
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  • Yes, that's ideally what they're going for. But it doesn't offer much more smoothness than the V8. Buyers in that class won't necessarily use all of that power, but they buy it to know they have all of that power. It doesn't give you the "I just dropped $130k on a car and its awesome" type of feel.
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  • This model is old, came 2007. Next year it's time for a new one.
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  • 521854 said:
    This model is old, came 2007. Next year it's time for a new one.


    It was just refreshed for MY2013, which means its going to be around for another 5 years or so. High end luxury vehicles tend to have longer 10-year product cycles.
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  • BMW has provided multi band presets for several years.
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  • 229774 said:
    BMW has provided multi band presets for several years.


    Audi does as well but they're presets are clunkier and not as elegant / easy to assign.
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  • I'll buy a Lexus LX560 or any SUV, why waste money on a sedan.
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  • 1503431 said:
    I'll buy a Lexus LX560 or any SUV, why waste money on a sedan.


    I love sport sedans. The LS is not one of those. However, I would love an LX560. Huge, unnecessary, but I'm a sucker for a luxified Land Cruiser. Hell, I'd love to build an off-road beast from the first gen LX450.
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  • I like the IS-F and the LFA - the new GS is nice but there's better out there.. Nothing else from Lexus is appealing to me personally.
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  • The new IS350 is a decent looking car and I love the LFA-inspired F-Sport gauge cluster. The suspension is tuned well, but that 3.5-liter Camry V6 is too damn smooth no matter how hard you want to drive it. It doesn't throw you back in the seat and gives you that sense of urgency that makes you want to romp on it, which is disappointing from a sporty vehicle. The GS460h is my favorite hybrid, smooth power, comfortable, throws you back in the seat, and gets ~30MPG while putting a grin on your face.

    I have a picture story on the new NX series coming, but they managed to make a 2.0-turbo 4 boring as hell to drive.
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  • 396755 said:
    1503431 said:
    I'll buy a Lexus LX560 or any SUV, why waste money on a sedan.
    I love sport sedans. The LS is not one of those. However, I would love an LX560. Huge, unnecessary, but I'm a sucker for a luxified Land Cruiser. Hell, I'd love to build an off-road beast from the first gen LX450.


    Should have said Large Sedans, I don't see the point in them anymore, beside leg room but then I think they trimmed it down a bit like what toyota did to the avalon.

    I wouldn't mind a sport sedan as well for those nice days, but looking at the IS, did they fix that AWD drive tunnel shaft thing sticking into the foot well? I found that quite a turn off ;p
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