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2011 Ls600H Vs 2013 Ls460?

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I'm looking at both a 2011 LS600h and 2013 LS460 at about the same price, a few less miles on the 2013. Would like to get opinions on your choice and why? The 600h has depreciated SO quickly, perhaps from the mediocre reviews about performance and gas mileage being unimpressive, but I love the ultra silent ride and luxury features.

I like the 2013 styling, haven't driven one so can't compare the rides and interiors, etc.

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I have to say that I fascinated by Toyota's hybrid technology. We have a 2012 Prius v wagon and I love the absence of noise when stopped in traffic and the electric A/C compressor that can run with the gas engine off. If it wasn't for our good experience with our Prius, we wouldn't be planning to buy a 2014 Highlander Hybrid Limited with PCS.

But I keep wondering if I really want to switch to a Highlander after 24 years driving LS400's. Wife doesn't want me to buy another new LS but she might go for a used one since she sure likes riding in them.

I actually looked for a 2011 or 2012 LS600hL a few months ago as an possible alternative but I couldn't not find a low mileage one in a color combination I like. I found very few LS600's at all.

Last week I asked the local Hendrick Lexus dealer to see if he could find a short wheelbase 2012 LS460 AWD with PCS in an acceptable color at one of their other locations - no success. They have several 2012 SWB AWD LS460's in stock but they are all black (I prefer white) and none have PCS. (I'm not buying another vehicle without PCS and AWD.)

You need to drive these cars to see if you really want one. I didn't like the LS460L with air suspension I drove a few years ago due to its boat-like size but I would tolerate air suspension and LWB on an LS600hL to get the hybrid drivetrain. I think all LS600hL's have PCS if that makes a difference.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I personally don't care for hybrids...but I haven't driven the GS450h or the LS600h. The ESh, RXh Prius, etc don't do anything for me. I personally think the upgrades to the 460 were considerable for 2013, and my vote would be for the 2013.

The new Highlander is nice Jim, but I think ultimately you would be disappointed with that change. I haven't driven it yet, but I did sit in them and spend a lot of time with them at the car show. Its a nice vehicle but its no LS, even an LS as old as yours.

Do you need something as big as a Highlander? (its BIG)

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"Need" is subjective. Does anyone really need anything more than the cheapest Kia?

The "foot print" of the 2014 Highlander isn't all that big and is actually five inches shorter than that of my 2000 LS400. It would fit nicely in the smallish 2-car garage of our retirement hovel. The Highlander is 12" taller than my LS but even our Prius wagon is substantially taller than the LS.

I know you didn't like the Prius you had but I like Toyota's hybrid technology a lot. The only Highlander we are considering is the Hybrid Limited with the Premium package which has adaptive cruise, PCS, panoramic roof, heated rear seats and steering wheel.

And I want a hatchback for what may be the last vehicle I purchase and I would like to be able to carry more than five people in a pinch.

It remains to be seen if the 2014 Highlander Hybrid is going to work for me. Like you, I haven't driven one yet - wife and I had an appointment to drive the non-hybrid version two weeks ago but the only one in stock was blocked by a vehicle for which the keys could not be located.

I've even considered a GS450h but it isn't a hatchback and my wife would rather I not spend $20K more (> $70K) than the Highlander to buy one. And I can't find a trailer hitch for the GS450h - I need to carry our bikes. A trailer hitch is an option on the Highlander. At least the GS450h interior dimensions are very similar to that of my 00 LS.

I may end up keeping the old 00 LS for another year if it turns out that the Highlander Hybrid is not available with at least HID headlights. I love the continuously leveling LED headlights on our Prius and I'm not going back to fixed halogen. The 2015 Highlander Hybrid is "supposed" to have a direct injection engine similar to the GS450h so it might be worth waiting another 8 months if the 2015's come in "on time" unlike the 2014's.

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I just don't like the feel of a hybrid on the road, nothing against Toyota's HSD per se, I just don't like the CVT, rubbery feel, etc.

I know it physically is shorter, but feel wise the Highlander is going to feel bigger obviously, which has its good and bad points. Its like the Jeep, its about the same length as my GS (same legnth as the Highlander)...but it feels bigger... I like that feel at times, but overall I find I don't. Great on a trip, not great driving it around town. I drove the Jeep yesterday because we had "snow", and by the end of the day driving it around town all day on and off...I was ready to be out of it. I can drive the Lexus all day.

The GS is a thought. Don't worry about the $70k sticker. The 450hs are very slow sellers. New I bet you can get one for 62k. Right now I bet you can get a new leftover 2013 under $60k. CPO a year old if you can find one would be very reasonable. Have you driven the 4GS?

EDIT- Nevermind, I see you want AWD...the GS450h is not available in AWD, only RWD.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i drove the previous generation Highlander Hybrid at the auto show a couple years ago; it's a nice car. That said, a former colleague had a non-hybrid 4 cylinder one and at low speeds it seemed almost (but not quite) as quiet. It's not quite as nice as the RX (as one might expect); and the interior materials are not quite Lexus grade. The 3rd seat is also kind of small but not as much of a joke as the Q7 or X5. But you should drive it and see if it's up to snuff.

Remember that the Highlander Hybrid AWD (and Lexus RXh) are primarily FWD. the AWD is electric and primarily active at low speeds. For most city driving in this day and age I would think FWD with traction control would suffice; but if you drive frequently in deep snow (or mud) then AWD is certainly nice to have. The LS and LSh have mechanical AWD.

Back to OT I've driven both the LS and LSh a few times; and liked both immensely. I drove both cars back to back at TOL a few years ago; here are my thoughts.

The LSh and GSh drive is completely different than any other car I've driven; and I've been in quite a few Priuses and RX's as well as having driven my mom's (erstwhile) Camry Hybrid up and down the east coast. The engines and motors are powerful enough that there is no motorboating; and in the LS the engine note is so subdued that you don't hear much of anything except near the redline. They are both deceptive (and almost Tesla like) in their quickness. I think the LS carries it off the best; it's quieter, more plush and the extra weight is less of an issue than the GSh.

I drove a 2008 LSh in Santa Monica last year. These cars seem to age remarkably well; they are built like iron and drive much to my memory from the 2008 TOL. They are extremely rare however. At any one time there are about 30-40 for sale in the entire country; and as the sales figures for 2010 onward dropped off dramatically they will become even rarer.

The LS460 is in many ways a more practical car; it's cheaper, has more cargo space, and weighs less. There are many more to choose from in the pre-owned market. But it lacks the certain je ne sais quoi of the 600h. The LSh's I have seen all seem to be (almost) fully loaded; while the LS has more variations in features and options. If i see one come up in Smokey Granite Mica in SoCal somewhere I might bite.

The 4GS though is an amazing car. I've taken car shopping friends out and all have been really impressed; had my friend not driven the S4 immediately afterwards (and my other friend been fixated on the A6 diesel) I think they would have bitten. Easily superior to the E or the 5 series. The 10k premium for the hybrid scared everybody off however; but the GS350 is really a nice piece of kit. And it comes in AWD.

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