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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.

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.

  • blackmagnum
    It doesn't look stately and serious like the LS400 of old. Have they hired a new designer?
    Reply
  • cyb34
    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.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    13745416 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.

    13745581 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.
    Reply
  • edlivian
    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.
    Reply
  • edlivian
    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
    Reply
  • 2Be_or_Not2Be
    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. ;)
    Reply
  • danwat1234
    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.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    13747142 said:
    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.

    13747365 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.

    13749117 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.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml
    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.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    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.
    Reply