2021 Lexus LS

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
December 24, 2020

Buying tip

The LS 500h is quiet, powerful, and fuel-efficient—few companies do hybrids as well as Lexus.

features & specs

LS 500 AWD
17 city / 27 hwy
17 city / 27 hwy
18 city / 29 hwy

Though not perfect, the 2021 Lexus LS is a sublime hauler that’s exceptionally comfortable and thrills with its details.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Lexus LS? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Lexus LS is a big luxury sedan that rivals the Genesis G90, the BMW 7-Series, and even the Tesla Model S. 

Is the 2021 Lexus LS a good car/SUV?

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Designed to appeal more to luxury car traditionalists than those looking for a big, sporty four-door, the LS is a plush cruiser with an extensive back seat. We rate it at 7.4 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Lexus LS?

For 2021, Lexus has tweaked its big sedan’s headlights and taillights and swapped out a wonky infotainment interface for a touchscreen. 

The LS is a big sedan that comes in a single wheelbase prioritizing rear-seat leg room, though front-seat riders will hardly complain. The big sedan is stylish, but understated compared to other Lexus models, and its interior can be incredibly opulent with the right options.

Optional extras include power-adjustable rear seats with heating, cooling, and massaging, as well as high-zoot Mark Levinson audio. No LS is basic inside, but spending extra will open up exotic wood trim and even gorgeous cut glass. 

Two V-6 engines are offered. LS 500 sedans have 416 horsepower hustled rearward or to all four corners through a 10-speed automatic gearbox, and they have silky, strong thrust accordingly.

The LS 500h swaps in a smaller 1.1-kwh lithium-ion battery pack to work with a naturally-aspirated V-6 and a trick gearbox. The combination delivers good fuel economy and decent power. Look for mid-20s fuel economy combined with the hybrid. 

Standard safety fare includes adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warnings, while a more advanced system that can steer this big sedan away from pedestrians or change lanes at the tap of a turn signal is optional. 

How much does the 2021 Lexus LS cost?

The 2021 Lexus LS lineup begins just south of $80,000 and climbs to about $105,000. A well-equipped LS 500h runs about $95,000, depending on which interior trim you select. 

Where is the 2021 Lexus LS made?

In Japan.


2021 Lexus LS


The LS remains a daring standout among big sedans, and detail-oriented types will love its interior.

Is the 2021 Lexus LS a good-looking car?

The Lexus LS has been out for a few years now, and updates this year do little to change our opinion. This is a stylish sedan outside, but the intricate interior is the real gem here. 

We score the 2021 LS at 7 out of 10 for styling.

The LS has a relatively more subtle version of the brand’s signature spindle grille arrangement, which is echoed with sharp lines at the rear. The big chrome line around the greenhouse is somewhat bland, though. F Sport versions have bigger wheels and gaping fascia intakes that look too busy to our eyes.

Inside, the LS is also best in standard form. Plan to spend some time looking through the myriad available trim options to select the leather, metal, wood, and even fine cut glass trim that suits your style best. Even against rivals with endless trim combinations, the LS remains a delight.

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2021 Lexus LS


The 2021 Lexus LS delivers great acceleration paired with a ride that can be too land yacht-like for some drivers.

Is the 2021 Lexus LS 4WD?

Lexus asks $3,250 for all-wheel drive on all versions of the LS. 

How fast is the Lexus LS?

Available in LS 500 and LS 500h variants, the big Lexus makes use of two different V-6 engines. Base LS 500s send 416 horsepower rearward or to all four corners through a twin-turbo V-6 and a 10-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is excellent, if not a match for rorty AMG versions of Mercedes-Benz’s far, far, far more costly big sedans. 

The LS 500h swaps in a turbo-free V-6 mated to an electric motor and a battery pack, good for a combined 354 hp and little difference in most real-world driving. The twin-turbo version has better highway passing response, but the hybrid cruises silently. 

Pair those strong engines with a soft ride and we wind up at a 7 out of 10.

Drivers looking for sporty handling should shop elsewhere. The LS is old-school luxury in its ride and handling, even with bigger wheels and even with the optional F Sport package that’s more about style (and annoying synthetic engine noise piped into the cabin). 

The standard coil springs can be swapped out for an adjustable air setup, and it’s far from sloppy in its handling. But the LS doesn’t ride with the firm and planted poise of German rivals or even the comfortable middle ground of the Genesis G80. It’s content to soak up the pavement with little to no intrusion into the cabin.

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2021 Lexus LS

Comfort & Quality

Lavish, spacious, and delightful in its details, the Lexus LS is a sight to behold inside.

The Lexus LS is as good as it gets inside. We rate this big sedan at 10 out of 10, giving it points for comfort at every seat, gorgeous details, and even decent cargo space for a sedan.

Passengers should be jostling for the rear seat, not up front. They’ll find massive leg room, big doors, and the optional Executive Package that tosses in 22-way adjustable thrones that have heaters, coolers, massagers, a touchscreen to operate the audio and climate functions, and way more. 

Drivers and passengers have 28-way seats with similar features and terrific all-day comfort. 

Materials are a delight throughout, with soft leathers, various types of real woods, etched glass, and real metal trim on every version. With 17 cubic feet of cargo space, the LS is reasonably spacious for a big sedan. Admittedly, hybrid versions shed a couple cubes due to their battery packs. 

Infotainment updates this year see Lexus finally shelving its tricky touchpad for a more conventional touchscreen. We’ll update this space when we’ve had time in a 2021 LS.

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2021 Lexus LS


The 2021 Lexus LS hasn’t been crash tested, but it packs a good amount of collision-avoidance gear.

How safe is the Lexus LS?

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has tested the Lexus LS, and don’t hold your breath waiting for scores. 

Standard collision tech matches our expectations for a car that costs this much: adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and active lane control. The Lexus Safety System+ package can nudge the LS into an open lane of traffic after the turn signal is tapped and it can steer the car around pedestrians and cyclists in town if it doesn’t detect driver intervention.

Though not as full-featured as the active safety tech on some rivals, the Lexus system is particularly unobtrusive and natural, which may make drivers less inclined to deactivate it.

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2021 Lexus LS


The 2021 Lexus LS is lavish, but not as well-outfitted as some rivals.

The 2021 Lexus LS comes with the tech and features we expect from a luxury sedan, but its lineup tops out where German competitors are only getting started. We score it at 9 out of 10 with points above average for standard fare and luxurious, if not excessively opulent, options. Add in a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty with the first two maintenance visits included, and its new touchscreen input, and the LS can be a good buy for a luxury sedan. 

Which 2021 Lexus LS should I buy?

First, pick your powertrain. Prices start at $77,025 for the base LS with rear-wheel drive and the twin-turbo V-6. It has 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery, navigation, a 12.3-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 12-speaker audio, and 16-way power front seats with heating and cooling.

We’re partial to the LS 500h hybrid, which is frugal and quiet—it suits this sedan well. 

Lexus offers several interior upgrades from there, so you’ll want to determine your threshold and just how opulent you want your car to be. Most shoppers will be fine with the Interior Upgrade Package that adds nicer leather trim, massaging front seats, and a few other bits for $3,730.

The Luxury Package costs about $9,000 more and swaps in adaptive air springs as well as individually-adjustable rear seats with a touchscreen controller. If rear-seat comfort is a priority, start your shopping here. 

The decadence really begins with the Executive Package that adds 2,400 watts of Mark Levinson audio and a few other niceties, while finely-cut glass interior trim worthy of its own museum exhibit ups the ante by $6,000 more.

Our money would be spent on the Luxury package paired with the hybrid powertrain. 

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Lexus LS?

The LS range tops out at around $105,000, which of course is a lot of money but doesn’t even get you in the door of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

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2021 Lexus LS

Fuel Economy

For a big luxury sedan, the 2021 Lexus LS 500h is somewhat thrifty.

Is the 2021 Lexus LS good on gas?

Against its rivals, the 2021 Lexus LS is actually a somewhat fuel-efficient big sedan choice. LS 500s are rated at 18 mpg city, 29 highway, 22 combined—or about 1 mpg less all around for all-wheel drive. That’s a 4 on our scale.

The EPA hasn’t rated the 2021 LS 500h, but last year’s four-door checked in with 25/33/28 mpg, or 2 mpg less for each figure with all-wheel drive.

Premium fuel is required. 

Review continues below
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MSRP based on LS 500 RWD
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Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 10
Safety N/A
Features 9
Fuel Economy 4
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