homepage logo

Sunday Drive: Above the roof snow in the Lexus LS 500 flagship

By Craig and Deanne Conover - | May 13, 2023
1 / 6
We took the LS 500 up over the Skyline Driver in early April to see how much snow was still up in the mountains and it was very deep. Deanne is shown with the Lexus against the snow on the side of the road.
2 / 6
Further down Huntington Canyon, the snow depth had gone down but it was the perfect Saturday for a drive in the mountains.
3 / 6
Inside the 2022 Lexus LS 500 F Sport.
4 / 6
Inside the 2022 Lexus LS 500 F Sport.
5 / 6
Inside the 2022 Lexus LS 500 F Sport.
6 / 6
Inside the 2022 Lexus LS 500 F Sport.

Any time spent in a Lexus is always a good time in our book. However, even Lexus has certain models in its line that stand out from the rest, and the LS 500 is one of those. Manufacturers always seem to add a little extra something to their flagship vehicles, and Lexus did not disappoint us with its 2023 offering.

There are different models to choose from in the LS line. It can be had as a rear-wheel drive sedan — something almost unheard of these days — as well as an all-wheel drive sedan, which we found perfect for the Mountain West area, especially after the winter we have just gone through. There is also a hybrid setup, which is very mild and adds only about 2 mpg combined to the range numbers.

We are of the opinion that if gas mileage is a major concern when looking at the LS 500, one might be better off looking at one of the other Lexus hybrid offerings, as they post some very nice numbers in that category.

Both the AWD and RWD versions come with a 3.4-liter V-6 twin turbocharged power plant that will rocket the over 5,000-pound sedan from 0 to 60 in a mere 4.6 seconds. We are here to confirm that the LS 500 is a very engaging and fun car to drive. We looked forward to driving it every day of our weeklong test drive. Deanne wanted to take it to work every day!

The F Sport style comes equipped with a sportier interior that adds perforated grill patterns to the seating surfaces and Naguri aluminum to other interior trim elements. The tires have been replaced so the rear tires are wider than the front, and they are larger at 20 inches. The brakes also received an upgrade. All of this was done to help accommodate a sportier drive and provide stronger braking power.

We were finally blessed with a sunny spring day on the Saturday of our test drive. This was one of the few we have had as the winter of 2023 has seemingly dragged on forever; it was time to get out for a good long drive in the LS 500.

We really wanted to get into the mountains, find some curvy roads and see how the snowpack looked at a high altitude. After discussing various options, we decided to head into the Sanpete Valley, go up though Fairview Canyon to the Skyline Drive, then descend through Huntington Canyon in Emery County.

This would take us to over 10,000 feet in elevation and provide some very twisty roads and awesome scenery. Well, the roads were awesome and twisty; however, as we got to about the 8,000-foot level in Fairview Canyon, the walls of snow on either side of the road prohibited us from seeing much else.

From then on, the snow walls were 8 to 9 feet high, topping most of the road signs and the poles added to help the snow plows navigate the canyon as they kept it clear for those who commute between the two valleys each day.

It was a perfect day for the drive. The LS had no problem with any of the roads, even when we encountered snow-packed and slushy areas along the way. We saw snowmobilers, cross-country skiers and even kite skiers along the way. Who would have guessed the snow would still be that deep on the second weekend of April?

We were kept completely comfortable inside the Lexus with its leather-clad seats that were both heated and cooled. We utilized both options that day as we went from spring weather in the valley to 34 degrees at the top of the mountains.

Another great addition this year to the LS 500 is a larger 12.3-inch infotainment touch screen, which added even more sophistication to the luxury sedan. We loved the way it seamlessly connected to our iPhones with Apple CarPlay, allowing us to listen to our favorite podcasts during the drive.

All of the onboard systems included with the Lexus can now also be accessed by simply saying “Hey, Lexus” and the on-board assistant will help with heating, cooling, navigation and other comfort options.

The LS 500 will also park itself, if necessary, in both parallel and back-in parking situations. It was simple to use; with a couple of commands, the sedan would do all the steering, braking and acceleration to get itself into tight parking spots.

The safety features included with Lexus Safety System 2.5 are many and include blind spot monitoring, radar cruise control, automatic high-beam headlamps, rear cross path detection, frontal collision warning, braking, and pedestrian and bicycle detection.

One important feature of the cruise control is it will slow to a complete stop and then go again in heavy traffic. This feature, combined with the lane keep assist that centers the sedan in the lane, is very helpful when engaged during rush hour.

We also found the rear cross path detection and intervention to be priceless when backing out of a crowded parking lot as it would detect pedestrians as they approached us. An audio tone would sound, and if we did not stop immediately, the car would brake for us.

The new Lexus LS 500 checks all the boxes in the luxury department. It makes the daily drive a joy and increases one’s desire to get out on an extended road trip. We could not have been happier with this flagship sedan as it proved over and over to be an exemplary vehicle.

Base price: $83,235

Destination charge: $1,150

Price as driven: $88,545


Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)