2019 Lexus LS Series vs. 2019 Tesla Model S

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus LS Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Tesla Model S doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The LS Series’ pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Model S doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lexus LS Series are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Tesla Model S doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The LS Series has standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Model S doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The LS Series has a standard Auto-Stop that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Model S doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The LS Series offers an optional Panoramic View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Model S only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

To help make backing safer, the LS Series’ cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Model S doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The LS Series’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Model S doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The LS Series has standard Safety Connect®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Model S doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the LS Series and the Model S have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

Warranty

The LS Series’ corrosion warranty is 2 years and unlimited miles longer than the Model S’ (6/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

There are almost 4 times as many Lexus dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the LS Series’ warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the LS Series’ reliability 14 points higher than the Model S.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Tesla vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Tesla is ranked 27th.

Fuel Economy and Range

The LS 500h’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 732.6 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Model S’ range is only 259 to 335 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only a 54% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 82 hours and 53 minutes.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the LS Series F-Sport’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Model S:

 

LS Series F-Sport

Model S

Front Rotors

15.7 inches

14 inches

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The LS Series has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model S doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The LS Series stops much shorter than the Model S:

 

LS Series

Model S

 

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the LS Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Model S doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The LS Series F-Sport offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The Model S doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the LS Series’ wheelbase is 6.5 inches longer than on the Model S (123 inches vs. 116.5 inches).

The LS Series 500 F Sport handles at .88 G’s, while the Model S pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The LS Series has 5.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Model S (99.4 vs. 94).

The LS Series has .5 inches more front hip room, 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, 2 inches more rear headroom, 3.5 inches more rear legroom, .4 inches more rear hip room and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Model S.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the LS Series’ available rear seats recline. The Model S’ middle row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the LS Series offers cargo security. The Model S’ hatchback body style and non-lockable folding seat defeat cargo security.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the LS Series’ trunk can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Model S doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the LS Series to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes, spark plug replacement, air filter replacement, tire rotation, radiator flush, brake pad replacement and transmission fluid replacement based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Tesla doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Model S.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Model S, the LS Series has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle and climate settings and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The LS Series’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Model S doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The LS Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Model S doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the LS Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the Model S can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Consumer Reports rated the LS Series’ headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Model S’ headlights, which were rated “Good.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The LS Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Model S doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The LS Series’ standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Model S doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the LS Series has standard extendable sun visors. The Model S doesn’t offer extendable visors.

A power rear sunshade is standard in the LS Series to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Model S doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The LS Series has standard front air conditioned seats and offers them optionally in the rear. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Model S doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The LS Series offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Model S doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The LS Series is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Model S doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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