From The LS600h's Cockpit
Sit down in the driver’s seat and you’re treated to a smartly laid-out interior boasting excellent ergonomics. Lexus offers various trim options on the LS600h L, from ash burl to walnut wood. Our test vehicle came with bamboo, though. As much as I like the material for its sustainability, it doesn't look particularly elegant in a high-end car, and ends up coming across cheap. Then again, since the LS600h L is a hybrid, it makes a little more sense to highlight the eco motif.
The 16-way adjustable driver’s seat is both comfortable and plush. Front seat passengers are limited to 12-way adjustments, though at least they still get lumbar support. Both seats are heated and ventilated. I didn't use the seat coolers because it was still too chilly outside during my week with the car; however, the warmers worked well. They just don't toast your rear like Audi's (this sounds like a good thing, but sometimes, when it's cold out, you really want to crank the seat heat).
Wrap your hands around the steering wheel and you’re treated to leather and bamboo. The leather portions are heated for an extra bit of luxurious comfort on cold winter days.
Lexus doesn’t get too crazy with the LS600h L gauge cluster. When the car is in Sport or Sport+ mode, the left gauge functions as a tachometer. In Normal and Eco, it displays the power delivery status of Lexus' hybrid system. If you prefer one or the other, you can have the gauge always operate as a tachometer or an eco indicator, too. There is a small screen sandwiched between the left and right gauges that serves as a fancy trip meter. Regrettably, it doesn't show navigation directions.
Usually we’d complain about a lack of integration between the navigation software and gauge cluster. Lexus has a compelling explanation, though. Mounted high and center in the dashboard is a massive 12.3-inch LCD display for the company's infotainment system. It's the same type of display that Cadillac, Jaguar, Range Rover, and Hyundai employ. The display is recessed into the dash with an overhanging lip to minimize glare. You'll have no trouble seeing it from the driver's seat and, surprisingly, you can glance over at it faster than looking down into the gauge cluster.
Below the infotainment display is an analog clock with white markings on a silver background. It’s classy, to be sure. But Lexus lamentably leans on that clock as its sole timepiece, eliminating a digital readout in the gauge cluster or LCD screen. That's one of my pet peeves in luxury-oriented cars. I get it; analog clocks look nice. But they can't be read as quickly. It's ironic to me that we're subject to in-motion navigation lockouts to combat distracted driving, and yet automakers force us to tell the time on analog clocks.
The star of Lexus' navigation system is the mouse-like control interface to the right of the shifter, dubbed Remote Touch. Lexus sculpts its controller with excellent ergonomics. It’s comfortable to use as your elbow sits on the armrest. Remote Touch works like a mouse; you move a cursor on-screen with it. Since the infotainment display is split into two sections (two-thirds corresponds to the function at hand and one-third is dedicated to primary operations like climate, radio, and fuel economy), the mouse only moves freely in the section you're using.
If you want to access the smaller area of the screen, give the mouse an extra nudge. This mechanism prevents you from accidentally switching the function in focus. It's different from what we've seen out of Germany, but still quite effective. If you use a mouse all day, you'll get the hang of it quickly.
In fact, the controller is also a mouse-like button that clicks to select menu items. It's complemented by four buttons for menu, scroll up/down, and direct access to the map/repeat the voice command. My only complaint about Remote Touch is the lack of a back button. The menu button takes you to the home screen and the scroll button makes cycling through lists quick, but navigating to a previous menu requires that you mouse over to the back button on-screen and click it.