As Lexus’s LS 500 is their flagship luxury sedan, their completely new LX 600 is their new flagship and high-end SUV.
The LX borrows the LS 500’s luxurious interior and posh ride, and combines it with the off-road prowess of the now discontinued in the U.S. Toyota Land Cruiser, the rugged 4WD SUV that was the vehicle of choice on African safaris and featured in movies and TV on that country’s desert trails.
Lexus’s 2023 LX 600 is a top-tier, three-row SUV that has a huge array of features, functions and amenities that make it the ultimate on and off-road cruiser. But it’s puzzling who, but the very well-heeled, would take a six figure SUV off-road, or even get it dirty.
The LX 600 is a very sophisticated and somewhat complicated machine (a study of the 585-page owners’ manual is recommended) with its high-tech wizardry and adaptive air suspension that can lift the chassis up to 13 inches to clear the nasties, ford a stream or traverse deep snow.
For off-roading, its Under Vehicle View is a composite of camera vision captured in the past from the current vehicle position and under the vehicle and includes tire positions and so on, to be displayed. The vision is displayed in panoramic view, side clearance view or cornering view. And get this. The LX 600 can even keep drinks cold in its 12-inch deep, “Cool Box” console box.
From its razor-like grille that Lexus is noted for, to its across-the-tailgate taillight array, LX 600 is a bold and handsome looking SUV.
Its posh interior is also bold and handsome with its 19.3-inch touchscreen that serves driving modes, rearview camera with surround, frontal and revolving views, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G Wi-Fi and the selected Multi Terrain drive modes of Auto, Dirt, Sand, Mud, Deep Snow and Rock. There’s also selectable modes of Comfort, Custom, Normal, Sport S and Sport S Plus modes. Included too is a Turn Assist Function that assists cornering performance when driving through a tight corner. The 7-inch display below it handles HVAC, audio and other functions.
It’s surprising though that Lexus engineers didn’t make one larger display similar to Tesla’s or Subaru’s Outback, and possibly with split-screen view for all the features and functions it would serve.
LX is offered In LX 600, LX 600 Premium, LX 600 F Sport Handling, LX 600 Luxury and LX 60 Ultra Luxury.
We were privileged to test the LX 600 F Sport Handling version that boasted a beautiful interior with two-tone heated/cooled leather seats. Aside from the dual displays, the cockpit features a huge console with wireless phone charger, digital gauge cluster with embedded driver information display and brushed aluminum pedals.
A rotary switch on the vertical stack is for the Multi-Terrain Select system that offers High 4-wheel (H4), Low 4-wheel (4L) drive and Auto modes. The Auto mode uses road and driving conditions via sensors to automatically switch modes without driver intervention. There’s also a switch for the center lock differential for when the going gets extra tough.
LX 600’s Electric Power Steering provides a light steering effort at low speeds and when driving off-road, and full steering sensation at high speeds.
Like the Land Cruiser, LX 600 has a selectable speed Crawl Control mode in low range and a Downhill Assist Control mode for a stable descent by controlling brake pressure. It’s doubtful very many owners would need or use these nifty off-road type features. But they’re nice to have if needed.
Ingress into the heavily padded, heated/cooled back seat has a low 13-inch step-in to the running boards or 24 inches if stepping in directly. It can seat three in a squeeze as the transaxle hump in the middle is low.
Back in the cargo area, and with the third-row seat upright, there’s a mere 11 cubic feet of cargo space, or enough for a half-dozen grocery bags. It measures 9.5 inches deep, 50 wide and 34 high. Press two switches and the third-row powers down to expand cargo space to 64 cubic feet for 44.5 inches of depth. Need more space? Flip the second row and capacity increases to 71 cubic feet for 76 inches of cargo depth. Beneath the aft cargo floor is a narrow bin for some small item storage. A full-size spare sits below the floor as well.
To access the third row, the second row flips and tumbles forward against the front seats, but that seat is mainly for youngsters.
As a hefty SUV with a curb weight of 5,700 pounds, the standard 3.5-liter twin turbo V6 puts out a potent 409-hp and 479 lb/ft of torque that powers the LX 600 with gobs of grunt and enough to tow up to an impressive 8,000 pounds. Coupled to a smooth shifting 10-speed automatic transmission, the LX 600 earns EPA mileage estimates of 17 city, 22-highway mpg. A recent trip from Allentown to King of Prussia and back used only a quarter tank of fuel. I expected worse. But engage those twin turbo’s too often and those numbers dive. Despite its weight, the LX 600 was independently 0-60 clocked at a not bad 6.9 seconds.
As for ride on tall 22-inch, 10-inch wide Dunlop tires mounted on six lugs wheels, it’s smooth in Comfort mode. Switch to Sport or Sport S Plus and the suspension tightens up and handling becomes more acute and planted. In any mode, the LX rides quietly as do all Lexus vehicles. And a relatively tight 26 feet wall-wall turning radius makes parking exceptionally easy.
The standard safety feature list is lengthy and includes Lexus Safety Sense 2.5 Pre-Collision system w/pedestrian detection, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, lane departure alert w/steering assist, blind spot monitor, intuitive parking assist w/rear cross traffic alert w/auto braking, and many more.
On the options list there’s Active Height Control ($1,300), premium Mark Levinson audio w/surround sound ($2,660), premium Manganese Luster paint ($595), roof cross bars ($450), carpeted cargo mat ($140 and wheel locks ($95) took the base price of – hold onto your wallet – $101,000 to $107,585 with delivery.
Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s on par with the Land Rover Defender, Lincoln Navigator and Mercedes GLS, SUVs. It’s the consummate family
LX 600 comes with a 4 year/50k mile basic, 6/70k powertrain, 6/Unlimited corrosion perforation warranties.
As said, the LX 600 is a sophisticated family SUV that combines luxurious accommodations with off-road prowess if and when it’s needed.