Lexus’s New Off-Road Behemoth Is the Closest Thing We’re Getting to a US Land Cruiser
The new LX 600 wants to appease Toyota fans and win the big-grille wars
The Lexus LX’s raison d’être has always been as a luxury version of the Toyota Land Cruiser. It made perfect sense: Lexus is the luxury arm of Toyota, so of course they would offer a more lavishly appointed and pricier version of their parent company’s most recognizable SUV. But then the Land Cruiser, still popular in Japan, Australia and other parts of the world, started losing steam in the U.S., eventually getting the axe.
As it stands today, Americans no longer have the choice between a new Land Cruiser and a luxury Lexus LX. No, here in the land of milk and honey, we have a new choice: Luxury or ultra luxury? That’s the question when it comes to the newly announced 2022 LX 600, which was unveiled this week.
The LX 600 is the fourth generation of the upscale SUV, providing a number of welcome upgrades from the last edition that was originally released all the way back in 2007, and also carrying over a number of elements of the brand-new, definitely-not-coming-to-America Land Cruiser 300-series, which was unveiled this summer. Most importantly, the LX 600 and the Land Cruiser (and, we should mention, the new Toyota Tundra) share the new GA-F platform. As a press release notes, the platform is 20% more rigid and the vehicle itself is 441 pounds lighter than the previous LX, which Lexus says will help bolster its already good off-road chops (to satisfy Land Cruiser fans) and make the on-road experience more pleasurable (to satisfy the normal Lexus clientele).
Where Land Cruiser fans may find problems with the luxury upgrade is in the design, specifically the maximalist front end. Gigantic grilles and the aesthetic debates that accompany them are nothing new in our current car market (BMW may just be the reigning king of the big schnoz), and Lexus has certainly been outdoing itself with each successive model, but the three-dimensional spindle grille seen here is a big step up even for them. Lexus touting the “seven sets of floating bars” is giving me big “Fuck Everything, We’re Doing Five Blades” energy, which may or may not be a selling point for you. But I’m guessing for Land Cruiser fans, it won’t be.
For comparison’s sake, here’s the new 2022 Toyota Land Cruiser:
It would be a mistake to judge the LX 600 on its front end alone, however, especially considering there are five different editions to choose from. There’s the Standard, Premium and Luxury trims (which were options on the previous generation), as well as something called F Sport and Ultra Luxury.
As the name suggests, F Sport promises a “sportier look and feel,” which includes swapping those seven floating bars for a black mesh grille, a Torsen limited-slip differential for better rear traction and uniquely tuned dampers, among other upgrades. For the Ultra Luxury model, the focus isn’t on the driving experience so much as the rear passenger experience. Five to seven seat configurations are available throughout the rest of the trims, but here there are just four seats, the two rear ones providing extra comfort; the full effect is similar to first class seating on an airplane, with so-called “VIP” seating, better leg room and even trim-exclusive air conditioning ceiling vents. I guess this is for the chauffeur crowd.
We don’t know all the details quite yet, such as the price range and fuel economy, but expect those little details to arrive closer to next year, when the 2022 Lexus LX 600 is slated to hit dealers in the first quarter.
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