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Lexus Navigation and Smartphone Integration

2013 Lexus LS600h L: Plenty of Tech, but Short on Value
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Lexus' navigation system benefits from an easy-to-use interface. There aren’t many submenus to cycle through as you enter directions or search for points of interest. However, the maps are lacking compared to the company's German competition. They're good-looking and punctuated by clear colors, but 2D is something you'd expect from a more affordable vehicle. Stepping up to a car with a base price around $72,000, I want to see 3D maps with building details. Shoot, Audi goes even further and includes Google Earth overlays. That's available across the company's line-up, starting with the A3.

2014 Lexus LS 600h L: Navigation

If you like the ability to search for directions while the vehicle is moving, you're going to be disappointed. Lexus' navigation system employs a movement lock-out that keeps you from entering destination while the LS600h is in motion.

Fortunately, the voice controls work well and are quite accurate, even if it's somewhat arduous to navigate menu screens that way. Lexus does have a better alternative for customers subscribing to Enform in its 24-hour concierge service.

2014 Lexus LS 600h L: Destination Assist

Destination Assist connects you to a live operator that will search for any location or address on your behalf. This operator has the power of Google at their fingertips, and we found them to be very friendly. In my experience, Destination Assist is easier and faster than trying to navigate menus via voice command. And because the Lexus has telematics services, the operator simply sends the address to your car and you're on your way.

Phone Integration

Bluetooth phone integration through the Lexus navigation system is fairly typical. Android and iOS are officially supported with familiar hands-free functionality, contact list transfer, and call history. Text messaging is enabled on phones with Bluetooth MAP (message access profile) support. The system won't display messages while the LS600h is moving, but it does facilitate text-to-speech. And you can select a quick reply while you're driving. Replies are pre-programmed, though you can create your own presets as well, so long as the car is stopped.

2014 Lexus LS600hL auto

Drivers who use Siri on a daily basis will be happy to learn that Lexus' navigation system supports Eyes Free. This opens up access to instant messaging, e-mail, random question searches, and turn-by-turn navigation with Apple Maps. I'm not sure why anyone would use Apple Maps instead of the integrated navigation system, but those other Eyes Free capabilities are quite nice. Simply hold down the off-hook phone button, wait for a beep, state your Siri request, and it plays through the vehicle speakers.

There was some audio popping that happened when we tested through Siri Eyes Free. However, those same issues plagued the Chevy Sonic as well, suggesting the issue might be with iOS. Everything else came through clearly.

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  • 0 Hide
    blackmagnum , July 18, 2014 2:37 AM
    It doesn't look stately and serious like the LS400 of old. Have they hired a new designer?
  • 1 Hide
    cyb34 , July 18, 2014 3:30 AM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , July 18, 2014 5:29 AM
    Quote:
    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.

    Quote:
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    edlivian , July 18, 2014 7:33 AM
    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.
  • 2 Hide
    iknowhowtofixit , July 18, 2014 9:01 AM
    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!
  • 0 Hide
    edlivian , July 18, 2014 9:06 AM
    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
  • 1 Hide
    2Be_or_Not2Be , July 18, 2014 9:41 AM
    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. ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    danwat1234 , July 18, 2014 2:07 PM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , July 18, 2014 4:05 PM
    Quote:
    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.

    Quote:
    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.

    Quote:
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , July 19, 2014 12:10 AM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , July 19, 2014 8:21 AM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    dj christian , July 19, 2014 8:12 PM
    This model is old, came 2007. Next year it's time for a new one.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , July 19, 2014 8:25 PM
    Quote:
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    kiniku , July 19, 2014 10:03 PM
    BMW has provided multi band presets for several years.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , July 20, 2014 7:51 PM
    Quote:
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    sportfreak23 , July 20, 2014 11:54 PM
    I'll buy a Lexus LX560 or any SUV, why waste money on a sedan.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , July 21, 2014 7:07 AM
    Quote:
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    anthony8989 , July 22, 2014 2:57 PM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , July 22, 2014 10:43 PM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    sportfreak23 , July 23, 2014 7:59 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    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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