Much will be made of the grille on the 2022 Lexus LX 600, our upmarket version of the new Land Cruiser that Toyota isn’t bringing stateside. It’s big, but then so are the grilles on a lot of recent models. It’s not so much the size of the grille that commands attention but the many horizontal lines that comprise it. This thing is like a seven-blade electric trimmer. If I saw one in my rearview mirror, my vision might go blurry. That’s sort of happening as I gaze at the image above in this very moment.
But the LX 600 is more than a face — it’s a Land Cruiser 300 deep down, which has proven to be a pretty popular new SUV. It rides on the same GA-F platform as the new Tundra, which Lexus quotes as saving a whopping 441 pounds compared to the last-gen underpinnings, despite a 20-percent increase to rigidity. A 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 delivering 409 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque handily bests the 383 HP and 403 lb-ft of the 5.7-liter naturally-aspirated V8 under the hood of the outgoing model.
The LX 600 might look glitzier than the Land Cruiser it shares so much with, but it’s still built with the same off-road chops. A quicker-adjusting three-position adaptive height suspension raises and lowers the LX 600 depending on the active Multi-Terrain Select mode. The 25-degree approach and 20-degree departure angles are unchanged from the previous LX, and suspension travel remains long at 3.93 inches bound, 5.7 inches rebound. That’s six-tenths of an inch longer for the rebound.
As for on-road manners, electric power steering and electronically controlled braking should make the big old body-on-frame SUV smoother to steer and stop. An available F Sport trim adds a Torsen limited-slip differential for increased grip at the rear; it also swaps the grille out for mesh that doesn’t make my eyes glaze over as much.
Because the previous Lexus LX was so old — it launched in 2007, if you can believe that — it wasn’t the sharpest in tech. The new LX improves by leagues as you’d expect, with a two-touchscreen center stack and a partially digital instrument cluster, running on the new Lexus Interface developed by Toyota Motor North America’s Connected Technologies division. Safety tech’s also been stepped up to modern standards with the move to Lexus’ Safety System+ 2.5 suite, bringing blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and more responsive and accurate pre-collision detection, among other features.
The interior on the whole just looks exquisite; the new Ultra Luxury grade makes the second row look like the best seat in the house. From the brand’s press release:
To help achieve an unparalleled comfort level, the front seat can move forward, and the seat reclining angle can be controlled up to 48 degrees. Additionally, the rear seat display, behind the front passenger seat, can fold down to allow for forward visibility, offering an airy VIP seating experience with a maximum leg space of 1,100 mm/43 in. This seating posture is easily achieved with the push of one rear control panel button. A footrest behind the front passenger seat can be deployed to provide maximum comfort, from head to toe.
The LX 600 is due to begin arriving in dealers in the first quarter of next year. There’s no word on pricing yet, but we can look to history for some guidance. The old one started at $86,930 — only about a grand more than the old Land Cruiser. Those old SUVs struggled to justify their premiums, especially as they got longer in the tooth. With the new powertrain and comprehensive interior enhancements, the LX 600 seems far better positioned to earn its price tag — even with that confounding maw.