The Car Connection Lexus LX Overview
The Lexus LX is a luxury full-size SUV based on the Toyota Tundra pickup and Toyota Land Cruiser sold in markets outside of North America. Loaded with luxurious features except for a cramped third row, the LX conquers road, trail, and towing duty with ease.
Historically, the full name of the Lexus LX grew with its cylinders and displacement—LX 450, LX 470, or LX 570—but the twin-turbo V-6 launched with the LX 600 changed that.
It competes with other big, luxurious, V-8-powered SUVs, such as the Land Rover Discovery, Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80, and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class.
The new Lexus LX 600 (2022- )
Lexus redesigned the LX for the 2022 model year and moved it to a more rigid platform and gave it a more powerful and efficient powertrain shared with the Toyota Tundra. Standard models seat five, but most models seat seven passengers, except for the four-seat Ultra Luxury grade and its rear captain's chairs that can massage and recline.
Despite a host of improvements inside, including a power-folding third row that folds flat into the floor, the fourth-generation LX looks much the same as its predecessors, with a massive spindle grille, flat body sides, standard running boards, and wheels ranging in size from 18 to 22 inches. Inside comes with standard leather upholstery, heated front seats, and dual touchscreens in a wide center console.
Proportions may have looked the same outside, but Lexus shed more than 440 lb of weight and dropped in a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 churning out 409 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. With standard four-wheel drive and a seamless 10-speed automatic transmission, the LX 600 can hit 60 mph in 6.9 seconds despite its 5,800-lb curb weight. Or it can tow up to 8,000 lb, and conquer most off-road territory thanks in part to a five-speed crawl mode, a multi-terrain select mode, a standard surround-view camera system, and an available active suspension with hydraulic springs.
Standard features include automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera system as good for backing out of a parking spot as rumbling over a pockmarked trail. Convenience and comfort highlights include a much improved infotainment system fronted with a 12.3-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility, a wireless charger, and excellent voice commands. A lower 7.0-inch screen handles off-road functions and climate settings.
Lexus LX history
Third generation LX 570 (2008-2021)
The LX 570 was introduced for the 2008 model year with a 5.7-liter V-8 that made 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque, with a 8-speed automatic transmission and an electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system. The LX shared its frame and construction with the Land Cruiser, but it introduced even more modern airs, including crawl control for low-speed boulder crawling and a new version of the height-adjustable suspension.
Designed for true off-road capability, the LX 570 made some compromises for passenger comfort and packaging, especially in the third row. The fold-down jump seats lived in the cargo area, eating into room for either. While the big V-8 was torquey and the truck was relatively quick as a result, the LX still felt big and heavy—because it was. Cornering and simply navigating a parking lot could get iffy if you weren't careful.
Lexus gave the LX 570 a year off for 2012, and brought it back for 2013 with a modified front end that featured the brand's new spindle grille design. That new look helped differentiate it a little further from its Land Cruiser sibling. The big SUV also gained additional standard features such as heated and cooled seats, a rear-seat entertainment system, trim made of African Bubinga wood, and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system with Lexus Enform infotainment.
For 2016, the LX 570 upgraded the 6-speed to an 8-speed transmission. Lexus made the third row optional in 2018 and added Amazon Alexa compatibility for 2019. A Sport Package in 2020 added front and rear spoilers, with more interior and exterior color choices.
Second generation LX 470 (1998-2008)
For 1998, a next-generation LX was introduced, called the LX 470 and coinciding with a redesign of the Land Cruiser. This time the LX gained a V-8 under the hood—a 230-hp, 4.7-liter V-8—along with some new electronically controlled aids like an Adaptive Variable Suspension with adjustable height, which greatly improved ride quality (as did the independent front suspension) while maintaining some off-road ability. This generation of LX got some running changes along its long run—first with a power boost to 235 hp and a 5-speed automatic, in 2003; then with a new version of the engine, making 275 hp, for 2006. Also in 2006, Lexus broadened standard equipment. Throughout this generation, the LX offered many of the same features found in the LS flagship, including Nakamichi premium sound, a navigation system, and projector headlights.
First generation LX 450 (1996-1997)
In the 1990s, Americans couldn't get enough of the rugged mystique of SUVs. At the same time, the Lexus brand was on the rise and broadening its lineup of vehicles so it seemed natural for the luxury brand to get a somewhat more luxury-laden and refined version of the Toyota Land Cruiser—one with a little more driveway cachet for well-off suburbanites.
That's exactly what was delivered when the LX made its debut for the 1996 model year. As one of the first rivals to the Range Rover, the LX charted new territory for Lexus and brought the brand its first truck entry. With a 212-hp, 4.5-liter inline-6, four-wheel drive, and solid front and rear axles with separate locking front and rear differentials, the Lexus LX 450 was a serious truck underneath and nearly identical in layout to the Land Cruiser. Extras on the LX 450, other than the badge, were limited to mostly cosmetic items like body cladding, wheels, and running boards (which made the LX less practical off-road, enthusiasts were quick to point out), while the LX received luxury-car must-haves like automatic climate control, premium leather seats, and a little more noise insulation. A third row of seats was included, but these were side-folding jump seats, essentially, just like in the Land Cruiser.