Buyer's Guide

2021 Lexus Ls
Select a Different Model (4 Available): 500 AWD Sedan
Fuel Economy $ 17 / 27 mpg
Horsepower 416@6,000
Torque 442@1,600
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  • Gorgeous interior trim and materials
  • Updated touchscreen infotainment system
  • Impressive fuel economy


  • Surprisingly tight second row
  • Polarizing exterior styling

What was the first-ever Lexus? It was the LS, which made its debut for the 1990 model year to launch the Lexus brand. Back then the concept of a large Japanese luxury car was unusual, but no moreā€”just look at Lexus' success today. The current fifth-generation LS went on sale for 2018 and receives a refresh for 2021. As before, a gasoline engine is standard, and a hybrid setup is available. As Lexus' flagship large sedan, the LS showcases the brand's capabilities in technology and luxury.

What's New

  • Subtle styling changes are made, including new headlights
  • A new touchscreen-based infotainment system is added
  • The suspension's hardware and calibration are tweaked for a smoother ride
  • Updated pistons make the V-6 engine quieter
  • Transmission tuning is revised for better responses

What We Think

The LS may forever seek to best its European rivals in the luxury full-size sedan segment, but Lexus' flagship provides a distinctive, unique feel.

Stunning materials like cut glass or hand-pleated fabric are offered, which give the cabin an artful ambiance. Impressive technology features are available, too, like a massive 24-inch head-up display and 23-speaker audio system. For 2021 the LS finally ditches its frustrating touchpad-controlled infotainment, switching to a touchscreen setup that's easier to use.

Although handling is agile for such a large vehicle, the LS isn't really a driver's car. When we drove a pre-refresh car, the V-6 engine and inconsistent by-wire brakes made its performance less satisfying than its Teutonic rivals'. However, the available hybrid powertrain returns good-for-the-segment fuel economy.

We've previously criticized the LS' harsh, noisy ride, which Lexus attempts to remedy in the 2021 model with larger liquid-filled bushings and altered spring and damper rates. Despite tighter handling, the post-refresh car dramatically improves ride quality. Yet in a category that's sometimes selected for chauffeur duty, the snug back seat isn't ideal.

The LS isn't the ultimate luxury full-size sedan, but the brand's acclaimed reliability and the car's unique appointments make it worth a look.

Performance and Fuel Economy

In LS 500 models, a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 produces 416 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. It's connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission with RWD standard and AWD optional. In MotorTrend testing, 0-60 mph acceleration takes just 5.0 seconds. EPA-rated fuel economy comes in at 17-18/27-29 mpg city/highway.

The LS 500h hybrid also uses a 3.5-liter V-6, but it's naturally aspirated and paired with electric motors. Total system output measures 354 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. An unusual transmission consisting of a CVT combined with a four-speed automatic is used, providing RWD standard or AWD optionally. MotorTrend measured a 5.5-second 0-60 mph time from an AWD LS 500h. Fuel economy numbers run 23-25/29-33 mpg. The LS 500h is not a plug-in hybrid, but it can travel short distances on pure electric power.


Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 comes standard on every LS. This driver-assist and active-safety suite comprises front automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beams. The optional Lexus Safety System+ adds enhancements like side automatic emergency braking, front cross-traffic alert, emergency evasive steering, and semi-autonomous lane-change capability.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

Trunk capacity in the LS 500 measures 16.9 cubic feet. However, hybrid componentry in the LS 500h takes up some space, reducing capacity to 15.2 cubic feet. When the optional second-row refrigerator is chosen, trunk capacity measures 14.1 cubic feet.

Front-row headroom is 37.3 inches in the LS, which compares to 41.1 inches in the Genesis G90. Front-row legroom measures 41.0 inches in the LS, quite a bit less than the 46.3 inches found in the G90. Second-row headroom is 37.3 inches in the Lexus and 38.0 inches in the Genesis. Second-row legroom measures 38.9 inches in the LS, a bit more than the 37.8 inches in the G90.


For 2021 the LS receives a new infotainment system, swapping the previous (infuriating to use) touchpad-controlled interface for a more user-friendly touchscreen setup. As before, the display measures 12.3 inches. Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, and built-in navigation are again included, but Android Auto capability is added for the first time.

Premium technology options like a 24-inch head-up display, a 360-degree view parking camera system, and 23-speaker Mark Levinson audio system are offered. The optional Luxury package adds a 7.0-inch touchscreen to the rear seat center armrest to control comfort, climate, and audio settings for second-row passengers.

What Does the F Sport Package Include?

Choosing the F Sport package adds a sporty vibe to the LS. Outside, the front and rear bumpers look more aggressive, and 20-inch dark-finished alloy wheels are fitted. The interior gains 28-way adjustable sport front seats, along with perforated leather on the seating surfaces, steering wheel, and shift knob. Performance data readouts are added to the gauge cluster, and the pedals get aluminum caps. In terms of actual performance, engine output remains the same, but LS F Sport models get a sport-tuned suspension and larger brakes. An available handling package adds variable-ratio steering along with rear-wheel steering and adaptive suspension.

Key Competitors:

Engine Name
Engine: V6 Turbo 3.5 Liter
Transmission Name
Transmission, 10 Speed Automatic Mode Select with Manual Mode (AGA0)
500 AWD Sedan
Luxury Passenger Car
Standard MPG
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Unleaded Premium
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Amount Description Expiry Date
$0 1.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Lexus announces special APR financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021
$3000 Lexus announces a Retail Cash on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021
$0 0.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60 Months - Lexus announces special APR financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021
$1000 Lexus announces a College Graduate Reward Program on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-03-2022
$1000 Lexus announces Bonus Cash on select models for eligible Military personnel. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-03-2022