By Staff Writer
The Lexus LX is a luxury full-size SUV based on Toyota’s Land Cruiser – whose all-new model was launched in Kenya in December.
The Lexus LX is bulky and luxurious, with an impeccable off-road pedigree. The Lexus LX has always been offered with a single V8 powertrain over the years, with the full model’s name – LX 460, LX 470, or LX 570, changing to coincide with the engine displacement at each step.
Changes to the 2020 model were limited to a new Sport Package on three-row models. In 2021 the LX changes were minimal. 2022 is here and Lexus didn’t hesitate to debut its redesigned flagship LX SUV, sporting an upgraded interior and riding on a modernised platform powered by a twin-turbocharged engine.
The previous generation LX570 took off-road capability seriously but didn’t skimp on the luxury, boasting a 409-hp twin-turbo V6. Four-wheel drive remains standard and the LX is equipped with a number of off-road goodies, including a height-adjustable suspension system.
Lexus enriched the new LX’s interior to compete with plusher contemporaries – large luxury SUVs such as the BMW X7, the Land Rover Range Rover, the Mercedes-Benz GLS-class and the soon to be released Audi Q9.
Following the last generation’s 13-year run, the 2022 LX600 receives a ground-up redesign. The LX trim levels are as follows: Standard (Base), Premium, Luxury, F Sport and Ultra Luxury, with the mid-range Luxury trim representing the best value, as it adds niceties such as semi-aniline leather upholstery, a Mark Levinson stereo system, and handsome 22-inch wheels, among other features.
If you’re looking for luxury that rivals the Range Rover or top-spec models from BMW and Mercedes, you’ll want to go with the Ultra Luxury trim, although at the expense of having only four seats, albeit very luxurious.
The LX600 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.4-litre V6 engine that churns out 305 kW (409 horsepower) and 650 Nm (479 pound-feet) of torque. This powertrain is also available in the new Toyota LandCruiser. For those who value fuel economy or have any desire to go off-road, the LX500d is probably a better bet. The 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel engine cranks out 227 kW and 700 Nm just like it does in the LandCruiser. Both engines pair seamlessly with a 10-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive as standard.
Up front, there are new headlights, a bold new interpretation of the Lexus spindle grille, a unique bonnet and, of course, different front bumpers, depending on your taste. The side profile comes with different alloy wheel designs, and a new rear quarter window sporting a more angular design. The tailgate is less upright, and the tail-lights and rear bumpers are also unique. The LX rides on wheels that range between 20 and 22 inches depending on model.
On the inside, everything looks familiar yet subtly different, with the LX featuring its own dashboard and interior door panels. One is welcomed into the new LX by a modern and luxurious makeover, with a wide centre console between the front seats that creates a cosy cockpit environment. Quilted leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped dashboard, wood trim, and smoked-chrome accents gives the LX a high-end appearance and luxury ambiance.
Three standard displays grace the LX’s dashboard and it starts with the 8-inch screen for the gauge cluster. Rising out of the dash is the 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen that’s housed in a unique skateboard-style section, including a Lexus-exclusive starter button with built-in fingerprint reader. Directly below is a LX-only 7.0-inch secondary touchscreen that’s primarily for the Multi-Terrain Select system, but also features additional settings for the climate control setup.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both expected to be standard and could even be offered with wireless connectivity. Wireless charging will be offered, and Lexus says audiophiles will be able to upgrade the stereo to a 25-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system.
The entry-level Standard trim comes with room for five across in two rows of seats. The Premium, Luxury, and F Sport trims come with a third row of seats that increases passenger capacity to seven and features an “auto arrange” switch to lay all the seats flat, and a “walk-in” mode that electronically folds the second row to make entry into the last row easier.
The top-spec Ultra Luxury model is only offered as a four-seat layout, with dual luxurious captain’s chairs in the rear divided by a centre console housing a touchscreen for the climate control, plus rear-seat entertainment displays, wireless smartphone charging capability, and specially designed seats to maximise comfort. The rear seats can be reclined up to 48 degrees, and comfort for those in the back can be further enhanced by sliding and tilting the front passenger seat forward and deploying the built-in footrest.
Off-road aids include crawl control, downhill assist, Multi-Terrain Select, which offers the driver six driving modes – Auto, Dirt, Sand, Mud, Deep Snow and Rock, and a Multi-Terrain Monitor with cameras mounted at the front, rear and under the wing mirrors.
A suite of on-road driver-assistance features are standard on the LX and includes autonomous emergency braking with day and night pedestrian-and-bicyclist detection, oncoming vehicle detection during turns, emergency steering assist, radar-guided cruise control, dynamic high beams, and road sign recognition, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control.
For those who want a dash of extra on-road performance, there’s now an F Sport option complete with 22-inch wheels, thicker seat bolsters, sportier shocks, a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, rear stabiliser bar, retuned steering, and adaptive suspension.
The Lexus brand unfortunately isn’t officially represented locally. With the global market being accessible nowadays far much easier than decades before, one can purchase and ship in a zero-mileage Lexus and deal with the duty upon its arrival at the Mombasa Port or JKIA if ferried by air.