2011 Lexus LS Hybrid Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2011 Lexus LS Hybrid was new.


Interior: 9.0

The LS Hybrid shares a platform with the conventionally-powered Lexus LS, which means that there’s no shortage of interior space. Legroom is plentiful for both front and back seat passengers, and while all super luxury cars feature high-quality interiors, the LS Hybrid stands out with soft leather and an attractive, sleek design. Many reviewers also appreciate its impressive stereo and interior electronics. Separate controls are used to set climate, entertainment and navigation functions, and some reviewers prefer Lexus’ system to user interfaces such as BMW’s iDrive or Mercedes’ COMAND.

While the LS 600h’s cabin is exemplary, it’s not all aces for this super luxury hybrid. The LS Hybrid’s battery intrudes substantially on available cargo space. As a result, this Lexus loses nearly eight cubic feet of trunk space when compared to its non-hybrid siblings. Additionally, rivals like the BMW 7-Series Hybrid and the Mercedes S-Class Hybrid use smaller Lithium-ion batteries that take up less space. Compared to the LS 600h, the BMW and the Benz have 2.9 and 6.3 additional cubic feet of cargo space, respectively.

  • "In terms of sheer luxury, you'd probably have to acquire an executive jet to rival the Lexus 600h L's cabin. Most surfaces are covered in supple leather accented by rich wood trim. Adding either of the optional packages will elevate the interior to Rolls-Royce or Maybach territory for comfort and space." -- Edmunds 
  • "What distinguishes the Lexus from competitors is its single-minded pursuit of isolating passengers from the outside world. The automaker says the car is one of the quietest automobiles ever built, and we have no reason to doubt that claim." -- Motor Trend
  • "One of the quietest cars on the market…Top-quality materials with numerous soft-touch surfaces highlight the understated design.” -- Consumer Guide


The LS Hybrid shares the same chassis as the extended-wheelbase version of the Lexus LS, and the extra space makes it one of the most comfortable super luxury cars on the market. Legroom is outstanding for both front and rear seat passengers, and reviewers are impressed with the power-adjustable front seats that are heated and ventilated. The standard back seat is also comfortable, but the optional seating packages can make the rear row the most comfortable place to be. For nearly $6,000, the Premium Package II adds rear row comfort features which include heated and ventilated power-adjustable seats, a DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones, four-zone climate control and separate audio controls for the stereo.

  • "The long-wheelbase LS 600h L has five more inches of legroom than the company's conservatively-sized LS 460. Opting for the Executive Seating Package deletes the rear bench in favor of two individual seats and a center console, thus delivering a truly impressive amount of passenger space which is complimented by similarly-large rear windows." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Offers almost five inches more legroom than the standard LS. This permits especially generous passenger seating options." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The front is spacious for adults, though taller drivers may need more headroom. A power tilt and telescopic steering wheel and wide, supportive seats with multiple power adjustments make it easy to find a comfortable driving position." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Spoils rear-seat occupants with its spacious accommodations." -- Cars.com
  • "Although three people can sit back there, it's much more comfortable with just two, and there is a pull-down center armrest that takes up the space where the third person would sit." -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Interior Features

The LS Hybrid has a luxuriously appointed, high-tech cabin that reviewers love. The gauges are attractive and easy to read, and many think that the voice-activated HDD navigation system is among the easiest to use. It also responds faster than those in other super-luxury sedans and provides live traffic and weather reports. Unlike much of the competition, the LS Hybrid has a conventional control layout, with buttons for its climate, entertainment and information systems. This may be a plus if you dislike systems such as Mercedes’ COMAND or BMW’s iDrive, which use a single knob interface to adjust many comfort and tech settings.

Reviewers also rave about the standard Mark Levinson Surround Sound stereo inside the LS 600h. This 19-speaker, 450-watt system is an option on the LS Hybrid’s gas-powered siblings, and features a USB input, six-CD changer and Bluetooth audio streaming.

Standard on the LS 600h is Lexus’ self parking feature, which first appeared in 2007. Knowing that the car can parallel park itself sounds impressive, but reviewers are underwhelmed with the system’s use in the real world. It works slowly, and most reviewers think that it would be quicker and easier for drivers to parallel park themselves.

  • "As with other Lexus instrument panels, the LS 600's gauges are strikingly sharp and legible." -- Edmunds 
  • "Admittedly, the novelty may wear off quickly, but it's hard to keep your eyes off this Lexus as it parallel parks without human assistance." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Early buzz focused on the self-parking feature, but the truth is, it was so cumbersome to operate that few tried it. ‘The amount of time it takes to line up with a spot with the diagram is too long,' one editor said. ‘Oh, it did parallel-park me, but I was also really far from the curb and probably would have gotten a ticket if I'd left it there.' After the first couple of months, most of us forgot about the system completely." -- AutoWeek
  • "While the dash isn't as clean as a BMW's, the Lexus' learning curve is much shorter." -- Cars.com
  • "Has one of the most easy-to-use Bluetooth hands-free phone systems. It was a snap to pair my BlackBerry with the system, although I was a bit disappointed that it doesn't also import the phone book. But as with the navigation system, it was easy enough to use voice commands to dial a phone number." -- MSN
  • "Easily one of the best [sound systems] I've ever heard." -- About.com
  • The sound system has "enough speakers for heavenly sound" with "near-perfect audio quality...Bass came through strong, while the highest notes still stood out. With the digital signal processor placing the sweet spot for the music dead center in the cabin, the audio actually sounded best in the back seat." -- CNET


Trunk space is often an issue in hybrid cars, and the LS Hybrid is no different. Batteries for the electric motor take over space that would be available in the gas-only LS, and as a result this super luxury car ends up with just 10.1 cubic feet of cargo space. By comparison, cars like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid and the BMW 7-Series Hybrid use smaller, Lithium-ion batteries that take up much less space. The BMW and the Mercedes have 13 and 16.4 cubic feet of cargo space, respectively. On the upside, the LS does have better interior storage than both of these German rivals – which may impress shoppers who need more space to stow their personal effects.

  • "Unfortunately, much of the LS 600h L's trunk space is taken up by the hybrid and rear climate control components, dropping maximum luggage capacity to only 10 cubic feet, which is less than most compact car trunks." -- Edmunds
  • "Owners of the current LS hybrid will be delighted to know that there are 2 more cubic feet of trunk space than before, thanks to improved placement and packaging of the hybrid battery." -- Motor Trend
  • “In-cabin small-item storage is good." -- Consumer Guide

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