Home / car buyer / Lexus LX – Landcruiser to the Max

Lexus LX – Landcruiser to the Max

Is Toyota’s top SUV not fancy enough? Lexus has the answer

2022 Lexus LX600 Ultra Luxury


Things we like

  • Powerful, silky turbo-petrol
  • Great refinement
  • Almost all the capability of a LandCruiser

Not so much

  • No five-seater base model
  • No extra sub-tank on base diesel
  • Sold out for the rest of the year

If you’re the cynical type, you might be tempted to dismiss the 2022 Lexus LX as simply being a LandCruiser with a more prestigious badge and a hefty markup.

However, if you’re the type who prefers not to judge books by their covers and instead look a little closer, the new-generation LX is separated from its Cruiser cousin by myriad differences, on the outside, underneath and within.

2022 Lexus LX 500 D 6 Crop

For enthusiasts, the most intriguing difference will be what’s beneath the LX’s gigantic double-humped aluminium bonnet.

While the new 2022 LX range –which utilises the same box-fresh GA-F platform as its Toyota counterpart – is available with the same 3.3-litre twin-turbo diesel as the 300 Series LandCruiser, that engine is offered alongside a new powertrain for the platform: a 305kW 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6.

Developed from the engine that powers the Lexus LS 500 luxury sedan, it’s this mill that provides the new LX with a key point of difference to the 300 Series – but it’s not the only unique selling point.

An interior that bears almost no resemblance to that of the 300 besides its general dimensions is another, with LX-specific dashboard, door and centre console furniture. Meanwhile, suspension settings for the coil springs and hydraulically-linked dampers are also totally revised.

A ride height that’s adjustable on the fly, blingy 20- and 22-inch wheels, a hyper-opulent four-seat configuration … the list of major differences is a long one.

What does it all amount to? We travelled to Tasmania for the new LX’s local launch to put it through its paces over several hundred kilometres of tarmac and dirt to find out.

4 X 4 Australia Reviews 2022 2022 Lexus LX Embargo 2022 Lexus LX 600 Ultra Luxury 14

LX 600 Ultra Luxury

Starting in central Hobart, we hopped behind the wheel of the new range-topper, the appropriately named LX 600 Ultra Luxury. Priced at $210,800 before on-road costs, it’s a pricey hunk of metal, but the level of equipment you get is staggering.

A wide-angle head-up display is immediately noticeable to the driver, as is that tombstone-like 12.3-inch infotainment display at the top of the dash and the seven-inch auxiliary display immediately beneath it.

4 X 4 Australia Reviews 2022 2022 Lexus LX Embargo 2022 Lexus LX 500 D F Sport 7

A compact instrument binnacle contains another electronic panel (eight inches from corner to corner) and a quartet of physical analogue gauges for oil temp, coolant temp, volts and fuel, and the vast bulk of the LX’s massive dashboard is trimmed in either sumptuous terracotta-coloured or black leather, satin-varnished open-pore wood, or fine dark chrome plastic. It all feels very, very high-end.

Though the main screen sits in the same position as the 300 Series, the LX’s dash is no mere copy-and-paste, with unique air outlets, that extra screen in the middle (which displays either climate control settings or vehicle drive-mode information), and a total reconfiguring of the centre stack layout.

4 X 4 Australia Reviews 2022 2022 Lexus LX Embargo 2022 Lexus LX 600 Ultra Luxury 12

There’s also a different glove box arrangement and a centre console that puts the cup holders on the passenger side and moves critical vehicle switches closer to the driver, all proving that Lexus has worked hard to differentiate the LX from the 300.

But look over your shoulder in the Ultra Luxury, beyond the standard-issue cool box under your left elbow, and you’ll see a pair of outrageously luxe rear seats separated by a fixed centre console with its own infotainment screen interface, wireless charging pad, high-set cup holders, power outlets and additional stowage.

That’s right, a four-seater LX. If you’re not shy about being a bit selfish and you want an experience that can only really be had in super high-end SUVs from Bentley, Maybach and Range Rover, the LX 600 Ultra Luxury might be your whip. The seven-seat ‘base’ LX 500d and LX and the five-seat Sport Luxury and F Sport grades are more prosaic, but still very well-appointed.

4 X 4 Australia Reviews 2022 2022 Lexus LX Embargo 2022 Lexus LX 600 Ultra Luxury 17

Twin-turbo V6 petrol

The Ultra Luxury is also exclusively powered by the twin-turbo petrol, which we quickly discover to be extremely smooth, extremely quiet, and extremely capable of hauling its 2660kg mass (plus a 73kg writer) around Hobart’s city streets.

Meshing with the same 10-speed automatic as used by the LandCruiser, progress is virtually seamless until you mash the accelerator to get ahead of traffic, whereupon the nose lifts and velocity increases rapidly as the engine’s growly V6 note finally makes itself heard. There are shift paddles behind the wheel, but don’t bother – the automatic arguably makes better decisions than you ever will.

Lexus says that compared to the LandCruiser’s suspension settings, the LX has springs and dampers that are tuned to be more sympathetic to on-road driving –which seems natural given how the LX is marketed and the wants and needs of the people that buy them.

4 X 4 Australia Reviews 2022 2022 Lexus LX Embargo 2022 Lexus LX 600 Ultra Luxury 18

The wheel and tyre package on most LXs is also larger than what you can get on the Cruiser, with all but two in the LX’s nine-variant line-up rolling on 22-inch alloys – however that doesn’t translate to a ride that’s on the firmer side of the spectrum.

Instead, the LX has a great balance between suppleness and roadholding, with just a hint of body-on-frame jiggle over very low-amplitude, high-frequency bumps to remind you that this behemoth is sitting on a ladder-frame chassis.

The Toyota may filter out some of those kinds of imperfections better, especially those variants with fatter sidewall profiles, but that kind of assessment will have to wait for the inevitable back-to-back LX vs LandCruiser showdown.

4 X 4 Australia Reviews 2022 2022 Lexus LX Embargo 2022 Lexus LX 500 D 11
Above: the LX500d, with third row partially in place

On- and off-road

Exiting the city, the 3.5-litre petrol quickly settles into a nice lope. Generating 650Nm from 2000rpm to 3600rpm, the F35A-FTS is 50Nm down against the F33A-FTV 3.3L diesel but has a torque band that’s 600rpm wider, which, coupled with the 10-speed’s generous spread of ratios, makes it feel a lot livelier.

The 60 to 100km/h sprint is where it feels especially alive, crisply accelerating to highway speed with a quick flex of the ankle, while the 0 to 100km/h run is dispatched in just seven seconds flat – a clear second ahead of the diesel.

2022 Lexus LX 600 Ultra Luxury 9 Crop

Fuel economy is also way ahead of the diesel, but in the wrong direction. The petrol burns a claimed 12.1L/100km on the combined cycle versus the diesel’s 8.9, and our time at the launch netted an average in the low 14s.

On dirt, the LX feels every bit at home and confident as the 300 Series. Rolling on Dunlop Grandtreks, the same tyre compound as the Toyota but upsized to 20- and 22-inch sizing, there’s a good level of grip on basic dirt roads and gravel access trails.

Off-roading time was limited to a fairly tame gravel and rock loop in the Geeveston area west of Hobart, which the LX dispatched with incredible ease, but it was good to see that the Multi-Terrain Select, crawl control and Downhill Assist Control systems are every bit as excellent in the LX as they are in the LandCruiser. However, a true assessment of the LX’s off-road talents will have to wait until we can get one into our testing garage.

Supply and demand

As it stands, the biggest drawback to the LX is the fact that finding one is going to be incredibly difficult. According to Lexus, it took over 400 pre-launch orders after it announced pricing earlier in the year, and with Australia only receiving an allocation of 50 cars a month for the remainder of this year, that means all of the supply has already been sucked up.

The company is working on securing a greater allocation for next year, but with COVID and computer chip supply disrupting production lines – including the Japanese line that produces both the LX and the 300 Series Cruiser – expect no relief on that front for the short term.

What’s interesting, though, is the data Lexus has gathered about its LX customers. Despite the provision of a fuel-efficient diesel from the get-go (the previous-generation LX only got a diesel in the last four years of its 14-year lifespan), over 60 per cent of LX buyers have opted for the more powerful – yet much thirstier – twin-turbo petrol.

4 X 4 Australia Reviews 2022 2022 Lexus LX Embargo 2022 Lexus LX Main

It’s also a very high-end mix. The base diesel and petrol seven-seaters account for less than 10 per cent of sales, while 40 per cent have gone for the seven-seat LX500d and LX600 with the $5500 enhancement pack. Perhaps Lexus should have made the pack’s 22-inch wheels, hands-free tailgate and glass moonroof standard, if those numbers are anything to go by.

Meanwhile a quarter of customers have opted for the F Sport trim, which ditches the seven-seat layout but gains an extra 30 litres of fuel capacity in diesel trim (all petrol models come standard with 110 litre tanks), as well as ventilated and heated front seats, a fridge, unique body plastics and wheel designs, plus the aforementioned F Sport-specific suspension and driveline hardware.

As for the four-seat LX 600 Ultra Luxury, that one model accounts for roughly ten per cent of all LX orders – something of a surprise considering its $210K-plus retail and unpragmatic four-seat configuration. The tastes of LX buyers have definitely changed.

4 X 4 Australia Reviews 2022 2022 Lexus LX Embargo 2022 Lexus LX 600 Ultra Luxury 6

LX 500d F Sport

We also spent some time behind the wheel of the LX 500d F Sport, which cops its own road-biased suspension tune as well as a limited-slip Torsen rear differential and firmer front seat bolsters to better hold occupants in corners.

Its cornering prowess is more limited by tyres than anything else, but we can at least report that the F Sport doesn’t feel like a fish out of water when off the blacktop, retaining great suspension compliance and grip on potholed dirt roads.

4 X 4 Australia Reviews 2022 2022 Lexus LX Embargo 2022 Lexus LX 500 D F Sport 6

With a range that begins at $148,800 before on-road costs, the new LX succeeds in separating itself from its Toyota counterpart, while also providing an antidote to the wildly optimistic second-hand prices that Cruiser scalpers are asking for right now.

Its petrol engine is a peach, and a good pairing with the rest of the car provided you can stomach the elevated fuel burn, its effect on maximum range and its requirement for pricey 95 octane unleaded. We look forward to putting it through some more extensive tests.

4 X 4 Australia Reviews 2022 2022 Lexus LX Embargo 2022 Lexus LX 500 D F Sport 3
21 APR 2022     Tony O’KANE