Hybrid Luxury

Inside the 2020 Lexus LC 500h

Car buyers can be particular, and manufacturers are willing to oblige. With various trims and optional equipment, some vehicles are available in several dozen configurations and with widely varying prices. Lexus knows the game as well as any carmaker, which is why it offers the 2020 LC 500h— uniquely positioned in the marketplace as a large luxury coupe with sports car tendencies and impressive hybrid fuel efficiency.

Unlike its gas-only sibling, the hybrid trim features a 3.5-liter V6 engine and two electric motors. Combined, it offers 354 horsepower and is matched with a unique transmission. It’s a fourspeed automatic enclosed within a continuously variable transmission, and it works like a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Lexus keeps trim options simple: there’s one. But available option packages or stand-alone options include 21-inch wheels, upgraded leather seating and a top-line Mark Levinson surround-sound auto system with 13 speakers.

If the stereo isn’t blaring, the LC 500h is audibly quiet. Steering is tight at all speeds, and with its large wheels, the coupe negotiates the open road or twisty terrain with equal savvy. It advances like it wants more.

Like many carmakers, Lexus stretches the boundaries of its seating capacity specifications. The 2020 LC 500h, the third year of the coupe’s debut generation, is listed as a four-seater. But the backseat space is scrunched because of the location of the battery pack, and is satisfactory only for children or munchkins.

The tight interior space is a further limiting factor. The rear seats don’t fold, and the trunk is small. Rear storage is only 5 cubic feet and adequate for only a few grocery bags or two small, soft-sided carry-on bags. Storage bins are an afterthought, but the center console design is clever. Adjust the lid and a second cupholder appears.

Standard features include ambient interior lighting, an adjustable suspension, heated auto-dimming side mirrors and ventilated front seats. The leather upholstery is top-notch and complements the overall modern interior design.

The LC 500h is head-turningly handsome, particularly with Flare Yellow as an exterior paint choice. Craftsmanship and material quality are superior. The coupe is sufficiently fast, completing the 0-60 miles per hour standard in 4.7 seconds.

The bold exterior is all sharp angles—unique teardrop-shaped front headlights to equally unusually designed taillights. The chassis is a low rider, with care needed to not scrape the front end on even the slightest bump.

The LC 500h price point is steep enough to prompt a long pause, except for select buyers who know exactly what they want. For those purchasers, the 2020 Lexus LC 500h is a bargain. And who’s to argue?