The departure of the Toyota Land Cruiser left a noticeable void in Toyota’s full-size SUV lineup here in the U.S. The Land Cruiser combined size, versatility and comfort into an enviable package that was fully capable of delivering the goods on the trail and in the hustle and bustle of the urban jungle. That said, Toyota was prepared to offer a consolation prize to buyers, the 2023 Lexus LX600, which uses the international market Land Cruiser’s underpinnings and then decks it out with extra luxury. But is all this enough to make the LX600 a commendable alternative to the iconic Land Cruiser?
Headlining Style Still Adds Luster To LX600
The exterior styling of the LX has always taken a bold approach when it comes to its presentation. The gigantic spindle-style front grille is still present, but this time, Lexus tweaked it to flow better into the hood line while the updated headlights replace garishness with a sleekness that you often find in elegant crystal watches. The side profile maintains the traditional SUV shape and the rear fascia has been redone with new taillights though these are a matter of taste, depending on who you ask.
The end result is a look that’s more evolutionary than an outright revolution but that should please LX fans, especially those that want to stand out in a luxury SUV segment that has long been defined by stalwarts like the Land Rover Range Rover, Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes GLS, and the Lincoln Navigator. The LX was always the outsider looking in when viewed alongside these rivals but this latest update is finally giving the LX the chance to move from the back of the pack to being right in the spotlight with some of its rivals.
LX600 Features An Interior For Any Occasion
The 2023 Lexus LX600 debuts an all-new five-tier model ladder for buyers to choose from: Base, Premium, F-Sport, Luxury, and Ultra Luxury, with each corresponding rung, not only bringing more luxury and technological appointments to the LX but also its own distinct personality as well. In our case, we got a chance to experience the F-Sport trim, which is the most performance-focused interior of the lineup. Bright red leather sport seats are the first thing that greets occupants, and the LX gets a fully digital instrument cluster. The large 12.3-inch infotainment screen is paired with a smaller 7.0-inch screen that serves as a hub where owners can find the LX’s drive modes and other features. While this setup is rather unusual, the smaller screen allows, the bigger screen to have less clutter and focus on being a proper infotainment system, especially with its integrated Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities.
Front seat room is better than before, and second-row passengers have more room to stretch out and relax. The third row is still reserved for children or relatives that you don’t like, but it’s still an improvement over what you had in past LX models. The whole space as a whole benefit from higher quality plastics and materials, and it does its best to finally inject some polish and flair into a cabin that was often in a proverbial tug of war between being a high luxury wonderland and a rugged space for outlanders to spend time in. The LX600 still retains traditional body-on-frame construction, but it’s now on the all-new TNGA GAF platform, which has played a role in the increased amounts of floor space that the SUV has versus its previous iterations.
As mentioned, there are five different trims to choose from, with the Ultra Luxury model being the most elegant of them all. Buyers that go into this trim will be treated to a newfound level of opulence, with the Ultra Luxury coming fully loaded with a long list of extensive equipment, including massaging rear recliner seats and a large command console that allows rear occupants to have an immersive amount of control of their surroundings.
Twin-Turbo V6 Gives LX600 New Groove
A new engine is one of the biggest changes the LX600 has received. The once V8-only LX is now a V6-only affair, but don’t let the two missing cylinders discourage you. This is still a very potent SUV. The twin-turbocharged V6 is good for 409 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, which is 29 more horsepower and 76 lb-ft of torque, more than the old 5.7 liter mustered. The new engine pulls hard, but it’s much smoother, and Lexus claims that it’s also lighter in weight than before. This helps improve handling behavior and also helped our tester make the sprint to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. But despite the F-Sport portion of our tester’s trim name, the LX is still a large SUV and prefers to handle corners delicately and without being rushed.
A 10-speed automatic delivers smooth gear changes and is shared with the Toyota Tundra and the Toyota Sequoia. While its on-road handling is still clumsy, that completely changes when you take it down light trails with our tester shrugging off everything we threw at it without breaking a sweat. The Active Height Control system on our tester allowed our tester to adapt to a wide range of terrain, and it also played a role in the LX, maintaining its composure and comfort was still smooth even in its highest setting. Braking in our tester was stable, but we wished that there was less mushiness in the pedal, especially on hard stops. Fuel economy has also improved slightly, with the engine now good for 17 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg in freeway driving. While these figures may not seem like a radical improvement at first glance, it’s important to remember that the outgoing eight-cylinder only managed to get a dismal 14 mpg in city driving, and the 19 mpg in combined driving is also a noticeable improvement over the outgoing model. The switch to the V6 also helps the LX blend in with rivals like the Lincoln Navigator, which has also pitched the V8 in recent years for the sake of better fuel economy.
Pricing for the 2023 Lexus LX600 starts at $91,160 which is reflective of its spot in the flagship SUV segment. F-Sport Handling models (known as F-Sport for short here in this review) have a base sticker price of $105,370. Our lightly optioned example had a final sticker of just under $110,000 thanks to some optional extras. The F-Sport however is not the most luxurious LX that you can buy. This title goes to the range-topping Ultra Luxury model which starts at $131,250 and comes practically fully loaded with luxury and equipment.
The 2023 Lexus LX600 is out to make a name for itself. While it still won’t be the perfect replacement for the beloved Land Cruiser here in the United States, its Land Cruiser derived platform help the SUV transform into a serious contender in the luxury SUV wars again and the V6 is arguably the best engine that the model has received in years. We look forward to seeing what Lexus has in store for the model especially if they decided to make a long-wheelbase version.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.