Every manufacturer has a top-of-the-line model. With some, they’re nice, but not something to get thrilled about. But when you talk about an all-new Lexus model that’s at the pricing and product pinnacle, that gets our attention.
Introducing the 2022 Lexus LX 600, the all-new, dreamboat SUV from the company whose name is synonymous with upscale in every way. So, is the new LX a luxury flagship or just a luxo-barge? Let’s find out!
A little history here – this is not the first Lexus LX model. The previous LX 570 was the gussied-up version of the Toyota Land Cruiser, which we dearly loved, but is no longer with us. While we miss the big Toy, this does let Lexus go their own way, and create their own personal version of SUV excellence.
Powerful and Premium Design
From the front, there’s no doubt this is a Lexus. The massive trapezoidal grille that we’ve seen on other models is here, with 7 horizontal slats. If that wasn’t enough, two massive side radiator grilles add to cooling, and the design. The funny thing is, in pictures it looks positively massive and overdone, but in person it surprised us – it’s bold and in your face to be sure, but it’s also handsome.
When you get past that grille, you’ll see the LED headlights now feature a 3D effect, with daytime running lamps, and doubled inner lenses for a rich look.
Come around to the profile and you see a real step up. While the previous model was quite upright and boxy, with prominent bumpers that stuck out, the new side view is sleek and lean. There’s an aggressively swept-back A-pillar that’s echoed in the C-pillar, while massive fender flares give a wide and powerful stance. Adding to the macho look are 22-inch forged alloy wheels (the largest ever on an LX!) and our tester’s rich Nori Green Pearl is frankly stunning and a nice break from the cement-color we’re seeing on just about every manufacturer these days.
The rear is as bold as the front, with a new rear logo spelling out L E X U S in big letters (something started with the 2022 NX we recently tested) framed by full-width LED lighting. We also like how the bumper is now flush with the rear design, giving the LX a very Range Rover-like presence. This is one stunning SUV!
Welcome to Ultra Luxury
Inside, the LX reaches new heights in lux and tech. Open the door, and you’re immediately welcomed by the smell of high-quality leather, that on our Ultra Luxury tester includes a diamond-stitched pattern with embossed headrests. Contrasting matte finis trim looks elegant and upscale.
Pop into those comfy leather thrones, and you’ll notice the seating position has gone from the previous model’s upright-and-trucky to one that feels like a tall sedan. The range of adjustment feels better too – you can sit lower to the floor, but you still have excellent visibility.
The gauge package is modern and fresh with a large central tachometer with a digital speedo on the inside. Key off-road info is served up as well.
The LX provides loads of info-tainment via a large 12.3-inch upper screen that’s large, bright and clear. Like other recent Lexus models, the fussy mouse/touchpad system has been replaced with a touch screen that works well.
Below the large screen is a 7.0-inch display for climate control, off-road setup and other things. We’re a little disappointed by the size of the lower screen – we’d like it better if Lexus had made it as wide as the larger info-tainment screen. It’s a bit jarring. Outside of that, we liked the graphics on this screen, and the climate controls below are easy to use, while two large knobs for drive mode and 4WD controls are within easy reach.
While we usually say we’re happy to sit in front, the rear seats in this model had us wishing for a chauffeur. Not just the usual Captain’s chairs, the rear seats cradle you with special curved headrests, seatbacks and cushions. That’s just the start, since these seats recline, and you can even push a button and power remote the front passenger seat so you can really recline and stretch out in comfort. And of course, there’s a massage feature as well. We might never leave!
Like a good limousine, you also have a functional console between the seats, with all the goodies including everything from remote climate control to charging for your phone. We love the little details, like the lid of the console that’s coated in scratch-resistant, self-healing paint. How cool is that!
While the dual recliners are the ultimate luxury, you might need the more pragmatic 3-row seating offered on other models. There’s good news here as well – the LX now provides a 3rd row seat that powers down into the floor when not in use – a huge step up in convenience from the previous model.
Welcome to Power and Efficiency
Looks and luxury? Absolutely, but the new LX also takes a giant leap forward in performance.
Under the hood is a new twin-turbo, 3.4-liter V6, pumping out an impressive 409 horsepower and massive 479 lb.-ft. of torque. Those are solid numbers, and a strong 26 hp and 76 lb.-ft. over the previous model’s 5.7-liter V8.
While we do love a V8, this V6 sounds terrific, responds quickly, and makes the new model notably quicker than the old one. It also sounds great when you give it the boot. A 10-speed automatic helps make sure you’re in the powerband, and you always feel like you’ve got plenty of power underfoot. The model even includes paddle shifters if you feel like having some manual-style fun.
With the cost of gas these days, the LX 600 fuel economy may be a bigger thrill than that great engine. With a combined EPA number of 19 mpg, and 22 mpg for the freeway, that’s pretty impressive for such a large 4WD vehicle, and a huge improvement over the V8’s 14 combined mpg.
The suspension is a revelation too. Where the old model had a truck-like ride, the LX 600 is surprisingly smooth. An adaptive variable suspension mode-adjustable 4WD gives you great choices between on-road luxurious and hushed to off-road mountain goat capable. All LX 600 models feature a Torsen limited slip differential for added grip.
An adjustable ride height is great as well – you can get a load of clearance off-road out on the trail yet drop it easily when you need to get into a vertically-challenged garage. We also love how it “Camels” down – dropping the nose first, then the rear –when it lowers. All in all, you’ve still got the legendary off-road capability of the previous model, with a new-found civility that is worthy of the Lexus badge.
How Many Bucks for the Ultra Lux?
First, we need to set some boundaries, here. We love that Lexus provided us with the most expensive, feature and luxury laden LX that is available, but honestly, it’s a tiny part of the model mix. You can get into an LX 600 starting at $88,245, and you get that wonderful V6, 4WD and loads of luxury at a reasonable price in this segment. A nicely equipped mid-range model is probably the sweet spot, and would come in the mid-$90s.
Ultra Lux is aptly named, with a starting price of $126,000. Adding a couple accessories and a $1,345 destination charge and we rang the bell at $128,030. Gulp.
Well, maybe it’s not so bad, loading up a Range Rover P530 will come in at over $160,000. If you want more performance, a loaded 500-hp, Audi SQ7 comes in at $113,240. So, we’d say the LX is actually quite competitive, the pricing outlier being the lovely, but pricey Ultra Lux model.
Beautiful, Capable, and incredibly luxurious, the all-new 2022 Lexus LX 600 is a not just a flagship SUV model for the brand – it’s a dreamboat, too!
Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round — whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.