2018 Lexus LC 500
As a luxury high-performance flagshgip coupe, the Lexus LC 500 must not only feature enough style to attract attention to the brand; but it also needs to back that up with impressive performance. Both keep buyers happy, and get the automotive press like us excited. So, let’s find out if this all-new luxury missile delivers.
Well, this 2018 Lexus LC 500 certainly has the level of refinement you expect in a top-tier automobile. And remarkably, Lexus was able to keep most of the LF-LC concept’s dynamic lines in place; as the LC looks better in person than we ever imagined.
And that includes the ultra-slim LED headlights, and the best interpretation yet, of Lexus’ controversial spindle grille. From the rear, there are hints of the LFA supercar. But from any angle, it’s one slick, ultra-modern looking piece of automotive sculpture, that holds its own against the best in sheet-metal benders like Aston Martin.
Standard wheels are 20-inches, but you’ve come this far, so why not opt for the 21s?
But as modern as the exterior is, the interior is spiced with retro flavor. Lexus designers were allowed to have some fun here, and it shows; as they’ve managed to infuse it with a mishmash of mid-century automotive Detroit clichés. It’s way cool!
The very linear dash has a flowing design highlighted by chrome-trimmed controls, horizontal vents, sharp angles, grab handles, and well-integrated infotainment.
There are mini-stalks behind the wheel for some controls, while audio inputs reside on the console; unfortunately, so does Lexus’ not terrific touchpad controller. It all combines for a beautiful, modern space, with a time warp sense of a bygone era.
Front seats are very luxurious and comfortable, though there’s not much space in the rear for taking along friends. It’s clearly at 2+2. Which makes it perfect for using the space packing for weekend getaways with your significant other, as there’s just 5.4 cubic-ft. of room in the trunk.
Fire up the engine, and there’s a nice powerful burble coming through the dual exhaust tips.
That audio comes from a 471-horsepower 5.0-liter normally-aspirated V8 with 398 lb-ft. of torque. A 10-speed Sport Direct Shift transmission channels all of the goodness to the rear wheels. A 3.5-liter V6-based hybrid is coming as well.
But the V8 goes like a rocket, and even feels like one blasting off the line. We leapt to 60 in 5.0-seconds flat, with just a touch of wheel-spin at launch.
The transmission rifles through gears with CVT-like smoothness, and you hear virtually nothing in the cabin except for some fantastic V8 exhaust notes that sound more like a 60’s muscle car than an Asian luxury coupe. The ¼-mile run was 13.3 seconds of utter smoothness at 110 miles-per-hour.
As for handling, well, there’s a lot to love; but there’s no getting around the fact that the LC is a heavy beast. Curb weight is 4,280-lbs.
You have to engage Sport+ for it to feel really serious, and even then you mostly notice it in throttle response and steering, as handling stays amazingly flat no matter what mode you’re in.
Steering feel is awesome, something we don’t say often, and certainly not in reference to a big Lexus. It is very quick and direct. There is a slight understeer tendency, but plenty of mid-range torque to overcome it with just a quick stab of the throttle.
We averaged very consistently short 105-foot stops from 60. However, brake pedal feel was very inconsistent. Yet, it didn’t affect the numbers.
Away from the track, Comfort mode keeps thing pleasant and inoffensive in every way, for that true Lexus experience; with barely any noise seeping into the cabin, and all of the serenity of floating through outer space.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 16-City, 26-Highway, and 19-Combined; which we almost matched exactly at 18.9 miles-per-gallon of Premium.
A $92,995 base price will keep sales limited, but it’s a relative bargain for those who are able to enjoy the finer things in life; fully competitive with cars costing 50-grand more.
So the 2018 LC 500 does indeed deliver; it’s quite the personal-luxury 2+2 euro-styled grand-touring flagship coupe, that fully encapsulates all that Lexus is about, yet at the same time points to where they’re undoubtedly headed.
- Engine: 5.0 liter
- Horsepower: 471
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 5.0 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 13.3 seconds @ 110 mph
- EPA: 16 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient
Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.
With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.
There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.
There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.
Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.
Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.
In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.
Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.
The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.
Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.
At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.
So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!
CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.
The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.
But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.
But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.
As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
- Horsepower: 196
- 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
- MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: e-CVT
- Torque: 139 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
- EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined