Lexus LS gets a mid-cycle update for 2021 that refines ride experience, keeps touch pad

The new Lexus LS has most of its refinements underneath its hood and body.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

It's been around four years since the current generation Lexus LS was revealed and now the company is showing off a variety of updates to the car for the 2021 model year.

The latest round of upgrades focuses on three areas: comfort, soundproofing, and refinement. "The entire team united and tenaciously searched for elements that needed to be improved," said Yoshiaki Ito, Lexus International. "Placing importance on people's sensibilities, we thoroughly addressed every detail of the components and control systems related to driving performance, including quietness and ride comfort, ranging, for example, from the internal structure of the tires to the feel experienced when sitting in the seats and the acceleration response in daily driving."

2021 Lexus LSThe automaker has implemented new paint technology that allows them to offer a fresh version of the typical silver paint job.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Underpinning the car is a new adaptive variable suspension that combines comfort with performance, allowing both to be translated to the driving experience. The vertical spring rate and run-flat tires combine with the stabilizer bars to execute this balance.

Lexus has changed the orifice inside the engine mounts allowing for less noise and vibration from the beating heart of the flagship to permeate the cabin. The models have undergone active noise control and engine sound enhancement refinement as well to deliver a quieter interior.

Lexus IS giving the LS the same adaptive high-beam system that debuted on the 2019 Lexus RX. Additional refinements to the exterior of the car include a vertical-themed character line at the corner of the front bumper with chrome trim wrapping around the lower edge of the bumper and up the sides. Deep headlights and quarish sub-radiator grilles sit on the face while the grille mesh has been changed to a dark metallic color. Chrome trim within the rear lights has been changed to Piano Black.

LS 500 F Sport models get a dedicated spindle grille and 20-inch wheels in a dedicated color.

2021 Lexus LSLS F Sport models get a dedicated dark paint color for the wheels and grille.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Buyers can get the car in Gin-ei Luster, a new exterior color that is enabled because of fresh paint technology. The paint is applied using the Sonic Method, a process that condenses the paint volume. It employs a aluminum evaporation coating that is spread over the surface at high density resulting in a smooth, mirror-like texture.

The LS 500h, the car's hybrid battery system delivers improved initial engine torque to deliver greater acceleration response. The car's shift timing has also been adjusted resulting in an automatic transmission that downshifts less frequently.

The LS features upholstery with deeper stitching points and underlying seat pads are made of low-resilience urethane, which helps absorb vibration and enhance comfort. New Nishijin & Haku ornamentation is available, taking its deign notes from a "path of moonlight on the sea".

2021 Lexus LSRear seat riders can have an executive car experience.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Lexus has also altered the controls on the steering wheel and center console, making them all black. Also, a switch for displaying on the touch display the controls for the often-used seat heaters and steering wheel heater has been added to the center console.

Additional features include a rearview camera mirror, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 12.3-inch infotainment touch screen.

Lexus is giving the LS Advanced Drive and Advanced Park driving assist technologies. Advanced Drive performs like many other hands-on advanced driver assist systems like Nissan's ProPilot Assist and Tesla Autopilot, allowing technology to guide a vehicle in its lane, maintain vehicle-to-vehicle distance, change lanes, and overtaking other vehicles when driving on expressways. According to Lexus, "The driver is freed from operation of the accelerator, brakes, and steering, allowing a reduction in driver burden during long drives and enabling safe driving in which the driver is able to pay better attention to the surroundings."

2021 Lexus LSNew Nishijin & Haku ornamentation, seen here one the door panels, is available.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Advanced Park technology utilizes integrated cameras and ultrasonic sensors to park a vehicle. The system takes control of the car's steering, acceleration, braking, and gear changes while the infotainment screen displays the ideal steering wheel positions for a safe parking experience.

The car will go on sale in Japan later this year with additional markets to follow.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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Refreshed luxury crossover

2022 Lexus NX earns Top Safety Pick +

The 2022 NX earned a Top Safety Pick + award.

Lexus

The redesigned 2022 Lexus NX just got its crash test scores, and they're strong. The new crossover picked up a Top Safety Pick + award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the agency's top award. It's the NX's fourth consecutive Top Safety Pick + award, and before that the vehicle earned Top Safety Picks.

2022 Lexus NXThe NX has picked up top awards for several years in a row. Lexus

The 2022 NX picked up top scores in testing, earning a "Good" rating in all crash-test categories, a "Good" score for headlights, "Superior" scores for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention, and a "Good+" score for LATCH system ease of use. Though the 2021 model also picked up a Top Safety Pick + award, it scored lower for its car seat anchors.

Lexus offers the new NX with a whopping four propulsion options, including a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 203 horsepower, a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 275 horsepower, a 2.5-liter hybrid with 239 horsepower and a plug-in hybrid powertrain with 302 horsepower. The two gas engines come paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive, while the two hybrids both get all-wheel drive.

2022 Lexus NXLexus offers the NX with four powertrain options. Lexus

Pricing for the 2022 NX starts at $39,025 for the base NX250. Moving up the line, the NX350h starts at $42,125 and the NX450h+ starts at $56,725.

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