The beautiful Lexus was driven to Pirate Radio (FM 104.7) for opinionated review help in the person of George “Elvis” Gray: Matador red metallic paint with black leather quilted-stitch interior for five, weighs 4,960 lbs. and is 206.1“ long, 16.95 cubic ft. of cargo space in trunk, 20” dark vapor gray chrome wheels with P245/45R20 front and P275/40R20 rear Bridgestone summer radial tires, 24” head up display, power rear window shade, ultra suede headliner, F Sport trim, 12.3” multimedia display with Sirius satellite radio, 23 speaker Mark Levinson stereo, power panoramic tinted moon roof, radar cruise control, Apple Carplay/Android Auto setup and backup camera with navigation, 3.5 liter twin turbo V-6 with 418 horsepower and ten speed automatic transmission, all wheel drive, zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds, 136 mph top speed, fuel economy is 27 on the highway, 17 in town and 21 mpg overall rating, fuel tank holds 21.7 gallons and car can go 586 miles on a full tank, list price is $88,885.00 and car is built in Tahara, Aichi, Japan
Atomic Silver metallic paint with black leather seating for 5, heated and ventilated front buckets, weighs 3,780 lbs. and is 195.9” long, 16.7 cubic ft. cargo room in trunk, 18” polished finish ten spoke aluminum wheels and 225/35R18 Michelin radials, pushbutton/remote start, navigation, dual power seats, leather wrapped and heated steering wheel and moon roof, wireless phone charger, head up display, and Android / Apple integration, 12.3” multimedia infotainment screen – backup camera and 13 speaker Mark Levinson surround sound XM/AM/FM stereo, radar cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, 2.5 liter four with 203 horsepower, eight speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive, $52,900.00.00 list price, built in Georgetown, Kentucky, fuel economy (34 mpg highway, 25 mpg city, 28 mpg combined) 15.9 gallon tank with 540 mi.range
Nori green pearl paint with black Nuluxe seating for 5 – heated and ventilated front buckets, weighs 3,605 lbs. and is 177” long – 21.7 cubic ft. cargo room – zero to 60 in 8.6 seconds, 18” – two toned finish ten spoke aluminum wheels and 225/50R18 Bridgestone run flat radials, pushbutton/remote start, navigation, dual power seats, leather wrapped and heated steering wheel and moon roof, wireless phone charger, head up display, and Android / Apple integration, 10.3” multimedia infotainment screen – backup camera and 6 speaker Lexus XM/AM/FM premium sound system, radar cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 2.0 liter hybrid four with 181 horsepower – CVT 10 speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive, $43,875.00.00 list price – built in Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan, fuel economy (38 mpg highway, 41 mpg city, 39 mpg combined) 10.6 gallon tank with 434 mi.range
Atomic Silver metallic paint with black five passenger leather upholstered interior – heated front buckets, 192.5” long, 109.8” wheelbase, 4,740# weight, head up display in windshield and navigation in touchscreen, 16 cubic ft. cargo capacity behind rear seat , power tailgate and panoramic moon roof, Mark Levinson premium stereo with 15 speakers, gas mileage ratings are 28-hwy./31-city/30-combined, range is 482 miles with 17.2 gallon tank, floor mounted gear shift, CVT automatic transmission with paddle shifters, lane change alert, blind spot monitor and cross traffic alert, 20” gray finish wheels five spoke wheels with 235/55R20 Yokohama Avid GT all season radial tires, 308 horsepower 6 cylinder 3.5 liter engine, $63,495.00 M.S.R.P. – built in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Radio review broadcast:Satin Cashmere metallic paint with black leather seating for
5, including heated and ventilated front and rear buckets and panoramic moon roof – Weighs 6,000 lbs. and is 112.2” wheelbase – 9.1 cubic ft of cargo capacity with all seating for eight in upright position – 21” polished aluminum wheels and 255/55R21 Goodyear all weather radial tires – Lane keep assist, rear collision alert, radar cruise control, blind spot monitor and automatic emergency braking – 12.3” infotainment screen – backup camera, navigation, 19 speaker AM/FM Mark Levinson premium sound system – Dual screen rear DVD entertainment system
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless phone charger – 5.7 liter, 383 horsepower V-8 engine with 8 speed automatic transmission with paddles and full time four wheel drive – $101,248.00 list price – built in Toyota, Aichi, Japan – Fuel economy (Highway – 16 mpg) (City – 12 mpg) 24.6 gallon tank with 394 mi.range
In Dan Seals’ 1985 hit song “My Old Yellow Car”, the singer describes the dilapidated condition of his ride by referring to the stained back seat as the place where “Larry and Sandy could no longer wait”. The song, often heard on K96.9FM, has as its provenance the fond memories that the singer has for the old days riding around in his junky vehicle.
When I received notification that I would soon be receiving a “New Yellow Car”, specifically a 2020 Lexus GS-F, I could no longer wait for its arrival, but unlike Larry and Sandy, had to do so for a few days. I’ve always had a fondness for yellow cars, and that fact along with the specifications of the GS-F caused my elevated anticipation.
The 2020 Lexus GS-F rear wheel drive sedan sits on a 112.2” wheelbase, is 72.6” wide, 56.7” tall, and weighs 4,034 lbs. In some ways I was disappointed that I did not test the Lexus during the heart of the pandemic while the roads were vacated and I could have let the GS-F flex its muscles.
Muscular is indeed what the GS-F is, featuring a 5.0 liter V-8 with 467 horsepower and an eight speed sport shift automatic with paddle shifters along with the floor stick. Top speed is reportedly 168 mph and zero to 60 acceleration takes 4.5 seconds. That acceleration, along with the handling and guidance, were exceptional, and the tires were summer-only staggered Michelin Pilots mounted on deluxe 19” aluminum wheels.
The 5 passenger interior of the Lexus was sumptuous with high-back heated and air conditioned buckets up front and ambient interior lighting that was dim or bright based on whether the GS—F was parked or in motion. All other expected interior appointments were on hand to include navigation, moon roof, and even aluminum racing pedals. The trunk holds 14 cubic ft. of cargo on this unit and the fuel tank holds 17.4 gallons (24 mpg highway rating = 418 miles of range).
The M.S.R.P. of my test Lexus came in at $89, 510.00, including freight and a 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound stereo. I had a lot of car in my hands for seven days and like Dan Seals, created a few present day memories of my own with it.
An elegant 2016 Lexus GX-460 Luxury edition was dropped off at my house last week, and I quickly jumped in to take it to the airport to pick up my family. Lexus is the luxury division of Toyota, and has been producing the GX series of SUV’s since 2002. This one was painted Silver Lining metallic, a gorgeous finish. Inside, it featured gray leather deluxe upholstery with comfortable buckets and seating for seven. The family, consisting of the three girls just back from Disney World, oohed and ahhhd at the Lexus interior.
This GX is a big SUV, weighing 5,179 lbs. and extending out to 189.2 inches in overall length. It’s 73.8” tall and 74.2” in width. I mentioned the seven passenger capability, which requires a small double leather seat that folds down into the floor in the far back. When these seats are up, there is a modest amount of luggage space, but when collapsed along with the middle row of seating, you can obtain 64.7 cubic feet of cargo space. The back door swings out towards the curb and a hinged rear glass is incorporated into it. All packaged up and out on the road, this vehicle rides great, and wind noise, guidance, and handling are all commensurate with a Lexus of this caliber.
My GX test car had a base M.S.R.P. of $61,515.00. The entertainment system added $1,970.00, driver support package added $4,340.00, and the freight added $940.00, bringing total list price to $68,765.00. Stereo equipment was Mark Levinson (including navigation system) with 7.1 Dolby surround sound and 17 speakers. The GX had the blind spot monitor that I’ve grown so fond of, allowing Ruth and I to get on Highway 85 at Brighton and sale into Greeley from the south.
The 4.6 liter V-8 provided 301 horsepower (329 lb. ft. of torque) and was mated to a six speed automatic transmission with sport shift mode. Acceleration is on target, with a zero to sixty timing that is reportedly a respectable 7.8 seconds. Fuel economy ratings are 15/20 city-highway (17 combined), and I observed a little over 18 for the week spent with the GX. It has full-time four-wheel drive with crawl control for four wheeling. This car is a body-on-frame SUV with 8.1” of ground clearance, so can do more than just drive through snow.
Styling of the GX-460 has been changed since the second generation model was introduced in 2009, and personally I think they kept the styling pretty much in line with the prior series, with perhaps a little more aggressive attitude. My GX had the roof rails, nice lighted steps on the side, ample chrome, and 18”, six-spoke Liquid Graphite alloy wheels. The tires were Bridgestone Dueler H/T 840’s, P265/60R18 in size, with mud and snow capabilities.
Sleek, unibody “crossover” SUVs are currently the rage, and the GX460 is somewhat of a throwback. But if the shopper wants to luxuriate with off-road and towing capabilities, the GX-460 Lexus provides an excellent option to consider.
On a recent long weekend I was able to test a new Lexus for a trip to Nebraska, and it was the ES series hybrid model that has been available since early 2012. The car was painted Atomic Silver and had black leather five-passenger seating. Inside it was black perforated “Semi-Aniline” (a dying process) leather throughout, courtesy of the Ultra Luxury package that was included on this ES. This added $2,435.00 to the base price of the Lexus ($40,430.00) and included power memory heated/air conditioned front buckets, ambient lighting, bamboo trim, power tilt/telescope steering column, rear sunshades, and driver’s seat power cushion extender.
Additionally, the car had blind spot monitor ($500.00), lane departure alert with intelligent high-beam headlamps ($1,015.00), navigation package with 8″ screen ($1,795.00), power trunk closer ($400.00), intuitive parking assist ($500.00), rain-sensing wipers with de-icer ($155.00), and heated leather trimmed/bamboo steering wheel ($450.00). Thus the base price and freight of $925.00 pushed the total M.S.R.P. to $48,605.00.
My father and I bought a brand new 1965 Corsair Corsa for about $46,000.00 less than that figure in Grant, Nebraska fifty years ago. I bring that up because my 50th class reunion in that town was the reason for the road trip in the Lexus. I tooled around Grant in the ES300h, a sedan considerably more accomplished than the old Chevy was, and although the Lexus is more expensive, the Corvair was over $20,000.00 if adjusted for inflation. The Lexus’ current price adjusted back to 1965 dollars comes to $6,500.00, and it may be that Bullock Chevy/Cadillac there in Grant sold a Caddy for about that amount. I don’t really know, but I do know that Dad and I didn’t bother to look at such a car.
As a popular Lexus hybrid, the ES has an Atkinson-cycle, 2.5 liter, four cylinder gasoline engine at its heart, and two electric motor/generators to contribute power. An Englishman named Atkinson obtained an American patent on the Atkinson-cycle engine over 120 years ago, but the design wasn’t favored until recently because its efficient fuel consumption aspect was more than offset by its lack of torque. Well, electric motors provide instant torque, so in the hybrid automobile the Atkinson engine goes with an electric motor like love and marriage. And in the ES300h, the total package provides 200 horsepower and runs that through a continuously-variable automatic transmission. Reportedly, top speed is 112 mph and zero to sixty acceleration takes 8.1 seconds.
Size-wise, this ES is a luxo-Camry with 111” wheelbase and a 16-foot overall length. It’s heavier than a Camry, though, at 3,700 lbs. with its big battery. That battery restricts the trunk to 12.1 cubic feet, and on this ES the lid powers up and down. No restriction is evident in the back seat, however, with seating for three and a big armrest in the middle. Riding anywhere in the ES300h is a pleasure, and I felt the ride was superb while motoring up through northeastern Colorado and into Perkins County, Nebraska. Lexus ES300h styling is suitable for me and me and Ruth really liked the Atomic silver tone. The front-end styling is fine and so is the rear with the exhaust tips concealed, hybrid-style.
EPA ratings for the ES300h are 40-city, 39-highway, and 40-combined miles per gallon – electric power allows drivers to save fuel in the city. My average, driving around Greeley as well as the road trip to Nebraska, was 41.1 mpg. It’s hard to say how much driving is necessary to make a hybrid Lexus pay off; there are other factors involved in the calculations. With resale value and pride of ownership factored in, this hybrid Lexus looks like a pretty good deal to me.
In late 2014, Lexus brought out their high-performance version of the RC Coupe, the RC-F, as a 2015 model offering. The RC-300h and RC-350, the original V-6 coupes, were upgraded to a V-8 in this new car, a 5.0 liter, 90 degree, four-cam power plant. The RC-F is essentially a blend of three prior Lexus models – GS and IS sedans and the IS-C convertible. What the amalgamation resulted in was what I called a “supercar” all week long during my testing of the RC-F.
In a pleasant turn of events, on several occasions nearby motorists, upon blowing their horn, were seen giving me and Ruth a “thumbs up”, as opposed to the customary shaking fist. They must have agreed with me as far as the “supercar” characterization goes, and admittedly the Infrared paint and terrific styling makes getting around in obscurity quite difficult. Lexus likes to say “you’ll turn heads” with the RC-F, and indeed we did.
M.S.R.P. of my test Lexus came in at a total of $74,560.00, including freight. The base price ($62,400.00) had as options the following: 19″ hand polished alloy wheels ($1,500.00), leather interior ($800.00), navigation package ($2,840.00), the paint ($595.00), premium package ($4,400.00), and moonroof ($1,100.00). Thus the four passenger RC-F was equipped with pretty much every imaginable interior amenity including the Mark Levinson rock-crushing, 835-watt, 17-speaker surround sound audio system.
The RC-F has a fairly smooth drag coefficient of .33, and reportedly has a top speed of 168 mph. On the dashboard is situated a tennis-ball sized, 200 mpg speedometer and a rather large 9,000 rpm tachometer. A rating of 467 horsepower from the throaty V-8 is at an impressive 7,100 rpm, and the torque rating is 389 lb. ft. at 4,800 rpm. Four driving modes are available on the console-mounted knob of this car – Sport S mode alters the powertrain for more dynamic throttle response, Sport S+ mode adds steering enhancements to help provide a higher level of responsiveness, normal mode provides the optimal balance of fuel efficiency and engine performance, and ECO mode moderates the throttle response, engine power output and climate settings for increased fuel efficiency. My favorite was, of course, the Sport S+ mode, and even Ruth urged me to make the selection when we rode around together. Part of the reason for our desire to drive in that mode was the active sound control that Lexus installs – at engine speeds up to 3,000 rpm, the system issues a steady tone of low and deep sounds. And as the engine speed increases, the tone transforms into a higher-pitched note that blends with the engine’s mechanical sounds, and it really honks above 6,000 rpm.
The RC-F transmission is an eight-speed sport direct shift automatic that is smooth operating in normal and Eco modes, and more abrupt in the two sport modes. Paddle shifters are on hand and the two-door coupe has rear wheel drive with a Torsen limited-slip differential. Zero to sixty acceleration is reportedly 4.5 seconds. Wheelbase of the RC-F is 107.5″, overall length is 185.2″, the trunk holds 10.1 cubic feet of luggage, and the weight is 3,958 lbs. It is the same size as Ford’s Mustang and about 200 lbs. heavier.
I averaged 20.3 miles per gallon with the Lexus, and provided it with its called-for premium gasoline. The tank holds 17.4 gallons, and the EPA ratings are 16-city, 25-highway, and 19-combined miles per gallon. Purchasers of the Lexus RC-F don’t care about the information in this paragraph, but do care about the rocket-ship performance and dynamite styling of it. This reviewer could recommend a long look at the RC-F if that is the twin desires of their purchase.