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2021 Lexus LS Review

The 2021 Lexus LS sits near the bottom of our super luxury car rankings. It fails to match the agility and back-seat space of some of its rivals, and its infotainment system is cumbersome to use.

Pros & Cons

  • High-end cabin
  • Long list of standard and optional equipment
  • Brisk acceleration
  • Comfortable seating
  • Convoluted infotainment menus
  • Less agile than rivals

New for 2021

  • Touch-screen infotainment system and Android Auto now standard
  • Refreshed interior and exterior styling

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Lexus LS's #5 ranking is based on its score within the Super Luxury Cars category. Currently the Lexus LS has a score of 7.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 23 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.3
Performance: 7.0
Interior: 7.8
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
This model has never been fully tested for reliability. Its overall score is being calculated without reliability.
N/A

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Is the Lexus LS a Good Car?

Despite its ranking, the Lexus LS is a very good super luxury car. The LS boasts outstanding cabin quality with sumptuous seating, it has a decent-sized trunk, and the base engine is plenty potent. However, the infotainment system can take some time to master, and its handling isn't as athletic as some classmates. Its performance is also hampered by the lack of any powerful engine options, which most rivals offer.

Why You Can Trust Us: 23 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 23 Lexus LS reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2021 LS is the right new car for you.

This 2021 LS review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2018.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Lexus LS?

You can score an LS for about $10,000 less than any class rival, and you'll still get a long list of standard comfort, safety, and luxury amenities. If you're looking to get into a range-topping upscale sedan for a (relative) bargain, search no further.

However, if you have room in your budget and were planning on spending thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on an upgraded LS, check out some of the competition. Many class rivals offer livelier driving dynamics and more user-friendly technology, and they’re more opulent.

Find a 2021 Lexus LS for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Lexus LS: What's the Difference?

For 2021, Lexus gives the LS a midgeneration appearance refresh, with updated exterior and interior styling. Android Auto is available in the LS for the first time, and a new 12.3-inch touch-screen infotainment system debuts. Lexus also provides mechanical and performance upgrades in the form of a retuned transmission, suspension, and chassis, along with better active noise cancellation.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 LS »

Here are the key changes for the Lexus LS over the last few years:

  • 2018: fully redesigned with more horsepower, better fuel economy, expanded rear legroom, a retuned suspension, and more standard safety features; hybrid LS 500h introduced
  • 2019: Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, pedestrian and cyclist detection, traffic sign recognition, and lane tracing assist added to standard features list
  • 2020: no major changes
  • 2021: a new standard touch-screen infotainment system; Android Auto debuts and joins standard features list; interior and exterior styling receive refresh

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 LS, 2019 LS, and 2020 LS reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Lexus LS Cost?

The 2021 Lexus LS starts at $76,000, which is much less than many other super luxury cars. The performance-tuned LS F Sport starts at $79,600. Lexus offers a long list of optional features and packages that can raise the LS' price greatly. The base Lexus LS 500 can retail for more than $112,000, while an LS F Sport can cost around $99,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

Lexus LS Versus the Competition

Lexus LS vs. BMW 7 Series

The BMW 7 Series joins the Lexus LS near the bottom of our super luxury car rankings. Like the LS, it's mainly due to excellent competition as opposed to any faults with this car. Both of these flagship sedans have a refined cabin, but they have some differences that could influence your buying decision. The 7 Series has slightly more athletic handling and better fuel economy than the LS, and it offers six powertrains. That list includes a plug-in hybrid, twin-turbocharged V8 engines, and a twin-turbo V12. The BMW has a marginal edge in rear-seat space and trunk size. Both cars get mixed reviews for their entertainment systems.

Overall, the 7 Series is a better car than the LS, but not by much. You'll have to decide if you like its advantages enough to pony up the extra $12,000 or so to buy one.

Compare the LS and 7 Series »

Lexus LS vs. Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has one of the highest overall scores and boasts one of the most elegant cabins of any vehicle we review, which is why it takes a top spot in our super luxury car rankings. With a base price of more than $94,000, you should expect nothing less. This Benz is available in coupe, sedan, and convertible body styles, in addition to long-wheelbase Mercedes-Maybach variants. There are a handful of energetic powertrains available as well. The S-Class has limo-style second-row accommodations, a huge trunk, high-tech features, and a pampering ride. We can easily recommend the S-Class over the LS – provided the near six-figure price tag isn’t an issue.

Compare the LS and S-Class »

Compare the LS, 7 Series, and S-Class »

LS Interior: Stay Classy, Lexus

LS Cargo Space

The Lexus LS has about 17 cubic feet of trunk space, which is a good amount for a large sedan. The trunk is easy to access due to its wide opening, and a power trunk lid is optional. However, the rear seats don't fold down, so you won’t be able to carry longer, skinny items.

A few other super luxury cars eclipse 18 feet of trunk space, leaving the LS in the middle of the class for storage. The hybrid LS 500h offers up a 15.2-cubic-foot trunk.

How Many People Does the LS Seat?

The flagship LS seats five people. The front perches are a great place to be, with the driver and co-pilot enjoying seats that provide 16 standard power adjustments along with heating and ventilation. The seats coddle you in comfort and provide plenty of side and back support. For more indulgence, upgrade to 28-way power-adjustable and massaging front seats.

This Lexus piles on the accoutrements in the second row too. You can opt for 18- or 22-way power-adjustable rear seats with memory settings, massage functions, or heating. There's also an available rear passenger-side footrest and a leather-wrapped rear center armrest with a 7-inch touch screen for controlling audio and other car settings.

The LS' nearly 39 inches of rear legroom means that even taller people should have plenty of space to stretch out. However, several class rivals offer a few more inches of leg space. Rear headroom is just adequate, and you may have to duck a little bit to slide into the back seats.

LS and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. It's easy to locate and utilize the lower anchors, and most types of child car seats fit easily in the LS' spacious second row.

LS Interior Quality

The LS is the most opulent vehicle Lexus makes, hitting the mark for expectations in this expensive class. The build quality is excellent, and all materials are top-notch. The cabin is adorned with plush leathers and real wood accents, and you can upgrade with hand-quilted leather on the door panels and Japanese Kiriko glass inserts.

LS Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

What was formerly the LS' most glaring weakness has been remedied for 2021. The car gets touch-screen capability for its 12.3-inch infotainment system, and with the display moved closer to the driver, it's easy to reach.

Previously, the sole operation for infotainment was the Remote Touchpad, which functions like a trackpad on a laptop. It makes it difficult to accurately select functions and is troublesome to use while driving. The LS still has Remote Touchpad enabled, but you probably won’t want to use it very often.

While the infotainment system is easier to use, the underlying software is still outdated compared to more modern systems in rivals. Lexus also didn't address the interface’s complicated menu layout and structure, so it may take some time for you to learn the ins and outs.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 12.3-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, navigation, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a 12-speaker stereo, USB ports, satellite radio, HD Radio, the Remote Touchpad, voice recognition, and Bluetooth
  • Available infotainment features: a 23-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound stereo
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, and proximity keyless entry
  • Other available features: quad-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic roof, and a performance instrument cluster

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay?, What Is Android Auto?, and What Is Amazon Alexa Auto?

Read more about interior »

LS Performance: Capable, but Nothing Special

LS Engine

The Lexus LS 500 is powered by a 416-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 engine. That's the highest output for a base engine in the class, and this muscular setup moves the big LS with ease. Acceleration from a stop is swift, with ample power for highway passing maneuvers. The standard 10-speed automatic transmission feels polished and delivers properly timed shifts.

If you're looking for something more potent, you're out of luck. All class rivals offer engine options in excess of 500 or 600 horsepower, but the LS tops out at its standard fare.

The LS 500h is a hybrid model with a V6 engine and two electric motors good for 354 horsepower. It gets going about as well as the base model, but the powertrain can sound unrefined, and the continuously variable automatic transmission stumbles at times.

LS Gas Mileage

With standard rear-wheel drive, the 2021 LS 500 gets an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Those figures are on par with the five-member super luxury car class. All-wheel-drive LS 500 models return fuel economy of 17 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

The hybrid LS 500h gets 25/33 mpg city/highway. Driving this model could save you $400 to $500 per year in fuel costs over a standard LS.

LS Ride and Handling

This Lexus is more of a comfortable cruiser than an eager corner carver. In standard guise, the ride is soft and pampering. You can up the luxe factor even more by selecting Comfort from the list of adjustable drive modes or by getting a model with the optional air suspension.

The LS has a decent amount of steering feedback, and it's marginally better in Sport or Sport+ drive modes, or with the F Sport trim. However, the ride is stiffer.

Read more about performance »

LS Reliability

Is the Lexus LS Reliable?

The 2021 Lexus LS does not yet have a predicted reliability rating. However, like most Lexus products, it has a history of great marks in this arena.

Lexus LS Warranty

Lexus covers the LS with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty. The LS Hybrid comes with an eight-year/100,000-mile hybrid component warranty.

Read more about reliability »

LS Safety

LS Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2021 LS. Very expensive cars like the LS typically do not undergo crash testing.

LS Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane tracing assist
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Automatic lane change assist
  • Front cross traffic alert
  • Head-up display
  • Rearview mirror camera

Read more about safety »

LS Dimensions and Weight

The LS is 17.2 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,696 to 5,104 pounds, and its gross vehicle weight rating is between 5,920 and 6,055 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Lexus LS Built?

Lexus builds the 2021 LS in Japan.

Which Lexus LS Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Lexus LS comes in three trims: LS 500, LS 500 F Sport, and hybrid LS 500h. The LS 500 and 500 F Sport both feature a twin-turbocharged V6 engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid LS has a V6 engine, two electric motors, and a continuously variable automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.

We recommend sticking with a base-model LS because of its lengthy list of standard features and low base price for the class. The LS 500 also has plenty of optional packages and features that you can purchase to suit your needs.

Lexus LS 500

The 2021 Lexus LS starts at $76,000. Standard features include leather upholstery, 16-way power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, a hands-free power trunk lid, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity keyless entry, and a power rear-window sunshade.

The standard 12.3-inch touch-screen infotainment system includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, navigation, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a 12-speaker stereo, USB ports, satellite radio, HD Radio, the Remote Touchpad, voice recognition, and Bluetooth.

Standard safety features in the LS include forward collision warning, pedestrian and cyclist detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive headlights, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, lane tracing assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers, front and rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera.

The Interior Upgrade package costs $3,730 and includes quilted semi-aniline leather upholstery, a 28-way power-adjustable and massaging driver's seat, a suede headliner, heated rear seats, and additional wood and leather interior trim pieces.

For $12,710, the Luxury package adds all the amenities of the Interior Upgrade package along with quad-zone automatic climate control, a 28-way power-adjustable and massaging front passenger seat, an adaptive air suspension, a leather-wrapped rear armrest with a 7-inch touch screen, power rear side-window sunshades, and 18-way power-adjustable and reclining rear seats with memory settings.

The Executive package retails for $17,630. It includes the Interior Upgrade and Luxury packages, in addition to a 23-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound stereo, 22-way power-adjustable and massaging rear seats, a passenger-side rear-seat ottoman, a surround-view parking camera system, and power-retractable front headrests. You can also get a $23,630 Executive package that adds glass and hand-stitched leather door trim.

For $3,000, an upgraded version of the Lexus Safety System+ bundles enhanced adaptive cruise control, automatic lane change assist, and front cross traffic alert. Individual options include a panoramic roof ($1,000), an adaptive air suspension ($1,400), a 24-inch head-up display ($1,220), and a rearview mirror camera ($200).

Lexus LS 500 F Sport

The Lexus LS F Sport carries a base price of $79,600. It adds sport interior and exterior styling, front sport seats, larger front and rear brakes, a sport adaptive suspension, 28-way power-adjustable front sport seats, heated rear seats, aluminum pedals, a suede headliner, a performance instrument cluster, and a sport steering wheel and shift knob.

The F Sport is available with a $7,800 Dynamic Handling package that includes variable-ratio steering, active stabilizers, a sport-tuned air suspension, rear-wheel steering, and a surround-view parking camera system.

Lexus LS 500h

The hybrid Lexus LS 500h comes standard with quilted and semi-aniline leather upholstery, a 28-way power-adjustable and massaging driver's seat, heated rear seats, and additional wood and leather interior trim pieces.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

See 2021 Lexus LS specs and trims »

The Final Call

While the 2021 Lexus LS has a first-rate interior, satisfying passenger and cargo space, and well-balanced performance, it doesn’t quite match the high bar set by other super luxury cars. However, the LS is worth considering for its bargain price in the segment.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Lexus LS 500 stamps its own authority on the large luxury sedan world. Yet it does so subtly and in a particularly Japanese fashion. It exercises a quiet power. Not just engine power, provided by a refined twin-turbo V6 or a hybrid drivetrain. Nor just because it’s spacious and hushed. It’s the accumulation of all the hundreds of details that form a stunning whole, assembled and adorned by artisans fluent in Japan’s craft traditions." -- Autotrader
  • "It's boldly styled and provides first-class accommodations, but the Lexus LS falls short of the more refined options in the big-money sedan segment." -- Car and Driver
  • "Taken as a whole, the 2021 Lexus LS really isn't any different than before. … Minor tweaks just make an already-solid luxury sedan even easier to live with." -- CNET
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