Land Crusing: 2023 Lexus LX600

Toyota’s Land Cruiser and its upscale Lexus LX cousin are revered in the luxury SUV world as not the mainstream choices, but the dependable, reliable and unique choices. For the US market, Toyota has dropped the Land Cruiser, and from 2022 onward the US will only get the all-new LX600 model. That may sound like a bold decision, and it is: historically, Land Cruisers have outsold the LX models, but Lexus is banking on the success of the re-imagined LX600. Lexus has enriched the LX lineup for 2022, offering a variety of trim levels that offer a greater bandwidth than previous LX models, from the well-equipped Base model, the feature-packed Premium, the sporty F-Sport, the opulent Luxury to the truly decadent Ultra Luxury, Lexus has the right trim level for all prospective buyers. Our week’s stay with the 2023 LX600 F-Sport gave us ample time to evaluate the all-new Lexus flagship SUV.

The all-new LX600 has similar dimensions to the outgoing model, but rides on an all-new body-on-frame platform with inch-wider tracks front and rear. Out goes the hydraulic steering of the old model and in comes electrically assisted steering, and our F Sport tester has a package-exclusive rear anti-roll bar as standard equipment. Additionally, the F Sport trim also gets a limited-slip rear differential and package-exclusive 22″ forged alloy wheels with serious curb appeal. F-Sport models have a uniquely aggressively black grille that will have dawdlers looking in their rear view mirrors getting out of your way.

Out with the old, and in with the new, says Lexus regarding the LX600’s power train. Whereas previous generations relied on tried-and-true NA V8 engines, the new LX600 is powered by Toyota’s all new twin-turbo 3.4 liter V6, with an impressive output of 409hp and a whopping 479lbft of torque, both substantial improvements over previous generation LX’s. The new engine is mated to an all-new 10spd automatic transmission, which is geared for both quick acceleration and ideal fuel economy, all while providing smooth and seamless operation. Fuel economy, a downfall of the last gen’s beloved 5.7 V8, is EPA rated at 17mpg city and 22mpg highway; we averaged 18mpg in our week with the LX600 F-Sport amongst our admittedly lead-footed group.

Lexus has thoroughly modernized the interior of the F Sport. Our tester had F Sport exclusive red-inserts in its leather seats that managed to be both supportive and supple, supplying long-lasting comfort perfect for road trips and short trips to the store alike. The second row seat is a bench seat that seats three, and the third row seats two- best for small children or short trips, or to be folded down to make use of the LX’s large cargo hold. Infotainment, a sore point of the past generation model, is amongst class-leaders with the upper 12.3″ display being used for smartphone mirroring, audio controls and navigation. There is a 7.0″ display positioned immediately below the larger, upper display, and it houses the off-road settings, among other things, providing a neat display that shows things like the degree to which the LX is either tilting upwards or downwards, sure to help you herd your $108k invest up & down the trickiest of slopes. Though the aforementioned screens are touch-sensitive, the LX does in fact feature many physical controls, for audio, HVAC and more- and it even has a real shifter, which, in this day and age, is a big positive (and rare). Interior fit and finish is excellent, and our tester was resolutely solid, without a hint of a rattle or creak to spoil the luxurious solemnity provided by the LX600’s updated cabin. Our tester had the optional Mark Levision 25 speaker sound system, and its sound was very good. With the windows up, the LX’s cabin creates quite the serene space in which to enjoy all of the system’s 25 speakers and 2400 watts of power- we cranked the system as loud as we could tolerate, and enjoyed distortion-free clarity and the bandwidth to play Bach to Biggie with aplomb.

Driving the LX600 F Sport exposes many strengths and few weaknesses. The new, electrically-assisted steering is light and neither agonizingly slow nor frenetically quick, and is well-suited to the prodigious mass of the LX600, if being numb and devoid of feel. Smooth is perhaps the most cliche term used when it comes to describe the ride of a Lexus, but it absolutely applies to the LX600 F Sport, with all but the most obscenely cratered roads and imperfections being absorbed with aplomb and without any hint of float. There is, however, a touch too much brake dive under sudden, hard stops and a touch too much body roll at near-limit cornering, though we doubt many LX600 owners will experience either of the aforementioned phenomena. You sit with a commanding view out over the blocky hood, though the windshield is not quite a bolt-upright as before, aiding outward visibility.

Though we did not take our LX offroad, those that would like to get off of the beaten path will be pleased to know that the LX600 F Sport features a display that shows you what’s underneath the vehicle by recording the path ahead and then transposing it to a see-through overhead view, as well as the aforementioned limited-slip rear differential and a low-range setting for the 4wd system. The new twin-turbo 3.4l V6 provides nearly silent operation in normal driving circumstances, and never seems stressed. Pressed hard, and the engine takes a brief moment to come on boost, and when it does, the LX600 is genuinely quick, with 0-60 coming in the low 6 second range, much quicker than the previous generation model and downright impressive for a near 3 ton behemoth. Aside from some neat turbocharger huffs and puffs, the V6 is nearly silent, which we suspect most LX owners will prefer, with maybe a select few missing the soulful rumble of the last gen’s 5.7l V8.

Lexus’s all-new LX600 F Sport has the looks, features and unique capability to make it a strong recommendation for those shopping in the full-size luxury SUV class. Although time will tell as to whether or not the discontinuation of the Land Cruiser was the best move, one thing is for certain: The LX600 certainly need not make any apologies for itself and is well-positioned to take a large bite out of the fiercely competitive full-size luxury SUV market.

Ken Wilson

2022 Lexus LX600 F Sport$101
Mark Levinson 25-Speaker Surround Sound Audio System$2,660
Premium Paint$595
Cross Bars$450
Carpet Cargo Mat$140
Wheel Locks$95
Destination Charges$1,345
As-Tested MSRP$107,585

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