Autumn in New England might be ideal for leaf peeping and apple cider—but dressing for the weather can be a challenge. That’s why I was interested in driving a Lexus LX570 equipped with the Climate Concierge system during the last week of October.
New Englanders know to wear in layers in the fall, when the mornings can be frigid but the afternoons feel downright balmy. Similarly, Climate Concierge makes little adjustments to keep the passenger compartment at a constant temperature without loudly blasting heat or air conditioning.
Climate Concierge first debuted on the flagship Lexus LS sedan back in 2012. It works thanks to a software algorithm that relies on up to 13 sensors and multiple climate control zones, plus control over ventilation, surface heating, and cooling. Together, they act like a virtual fairytale protagonist—the perfectionist kind who demands that porridge, glass slippers, and pea-free mattresses all be just right.
At least, that’s what Lexus promises. Considering that a Climate Concierge-equipped LX 570 with heated and cooled seats and four-zone climate control costs a hair over $90k, I wasn’t going to let that claim go untested.
So, on a cold fall morning after an overnight frost, I got into a Lexus whose interior was even colder than the outside temperature.
Normally, I’d crank up the heat and wait. Even on a luxury car with automatic climate control, though, the blower motors would work overtime to loudly blast lukewarm air throughout the cabin. Eventually, I’d get too hot and have to fiddle with the car’s controls, which would take my hands off the wheel and my eyes off the road—a solution as attractive as a sweater vest.
Instead, I left all the LX’s dials set to Auto and all climate zones set to 72ºF. Despite the car’s massive 158.9-cu.-ft. interior, the Lexus warmed me up before I’d left my neighborhood. The heated seats and steering wheel automatically got as hot as they could, then slowly cooled down. As the massive 5.7L V8 engine warmed up, the vents gradually started blowing warm air towards my feet—but never once drowning out the soft tones of Morning Edition.
When I got back in the car after a sun-drenched afternoon, the Climate Concierge automatically mixed heating and cooling to keep the car precisely at 72ºF. More importantly, it ensured that I didn’t have to make any mid-commute temperature adjustments. Had the day been even warmer, the seat coolers might have gone on automatically, cooling my body down well before the air conditioning had a chance to change my surroundings.
The verdict was in: Climate Concierge is a great fit for spring and fall in New England. Of course, the system wouldn’t be as inconspicuous in the dead of winter or on a stifling August day, when the heat or AC would have to kick on full blast.
It also wouldn’t work as well on a car with a smaller engine: Although the LX570’s V8 was only good for 12.5 mpg during a week of combined city and highway driving, at least it threw a lot of heat that could be used to warm the cabin.
Still, in climates where the temperature swings widely throughout the day, the system does take some of the frustration out of managing an automotive microclimate. That means you can spend more time enjoying leaves and cider, and less time fiddling with the air conditioner.