2022 Lexus LX 600 Review: All-New in an Old-School Way

The LX 600 is all-new in an old-school kind of way, and it’s also perfect for almost any occasion

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If you’ve ever stayed at a really fancy hotel, the Lexus LX is as common a sight as spoiled little kids running around the lobby. It’s the chariot of choice for the concierge, doctors, and rich people who want to be perceived as coming from old money. And as is typical, anytime I’ve called out Toyota or Lexus products as being a blackhole of newness and technology, the sycophants come screaming about the one thing they hold dearly - reliability. “As long as I have a steering wheel and a seat I’m satisfied because 20 years from now it’ll still be running.” And my counter to this has always been, “Ok, well, if you’re paying a premium for one of these shouldn’t you expect BOTH reliability and new features?” Which brings me to this all-new LX 600 Luxury; a $108,000 SUV for those afraid of change.

  • 2022 Lexus LX 600 Review: All-New in an Old-School Way
  • Year:
    2022
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    10-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    409 @ 5200
  • MPG(Cty):
    17
  • MPG(Hwy):
    22
  • Torque @ RPM:
    479 @ 2000
  • Energy:
    SIDI & PFI
  • Displacement:
    3445 cc
  • 0-60 time:
    6.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph
  • Layout:
    Front-engine/4WD
  • Price:
    88245
  • car segment:
  • body style:

FAREWELL LAND CRUISER

You may have heard that the Toyota Land Cruiser no longer has a home here in the States, so its gussied-up Lexus counterpart, the LX, is going to have to carry the flagship SUV torch all by itself. Sure; Lexus stocks a bunch of SUVs – 5 to be exact – but it’s the LX that separates itself with a starting MSRP of about $90,000. Can it off-road? Yes. Can it take you from the Ritz Carlton to the airport all the while looking the part? Also, yes. And it’s “all-new” this year - an adjective rarely used when describing a Lexus SUV – because after 14 years it was time to give it a complete redesign. The result is a big, bodacious grille, more sensuousness to the body, a new, more fuel-efficient twin-turbo V6, and a complete redo of the infotainment electronics. It’s lighter and more powerful but as for changing the LX’s footprint or other notable dimensions Lexus punted instead choosing to preserve its heritage sizing of being nimble enough to tackle a wooded trail or the Nieman Marcus parking lot. And, with the expanded Multi-Terrain Select, low-speed gearing, a locking center differential, crawl control and, in this case, a height-adjustable suspension the LX is the body-on-frame SUV of country club dreams. A number of those features have been improved upon this year.

UPGRADED SUSPENSION

2022 Lexus LX 600 Review: All-New in an Old-School Way
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There’s a much quicker-reacting Active Height Control system with 3 levels of lift and a faster squat for easier coming and going. Using a combination of gas/hydraulic and metal springs, AHC also automatically adjusts vehicle height based on the drive mode and vehicle dynamics to both keep the body stable and deliver exceptional comfort through optimized spring rates. Very cool stuff.

The 22” Dunlop tires aren’t particularly mud-worthy but then again, the customer choosing this Luxury model more than likely simply wants the peace of mind that comes with the resume of capability. Engine output from the new turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 puts the thirsty, old V8 in its rearview mirror with 409 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque capable of moving this 5,900-pound SUV to 60 mph in under 7-seconds. It feels great, mated to the new slick-shifting 10 speed-auto. Even better, it now achieves 19 mpg, at least on paper, as opposed to 14 mpg. That’ll pocket you nearly $1,500 per year, right there. It’s a lovely, serene, power-packed drive, it really is, but after a decade-and-a-half between generations and a $108,000 MSRP the LX comes across as a bit anticlimactic.

COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY

2022 Lexus LX 600 Review: All-New in an Old-School Way
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Don’t hear what I’m not saying. The LX is a beautiful SUV; I actually dig the new styling, the leather is incredibly soft, the craftsmanship is impeccable, the engine gives you more than you would ever need and the ride is really soft and quiet. In a vacuum, this is a dream SUV. But have you ever heard the saying that “comparison is the thief of joy?” Well, I’ve driven all of the other big boys in this segment and there is a stark difference between those and this LX. The Lexus approach is to maintain a familiarity with an SUV from a bygone era while the competition has moved the needle towards the future. I’m not going to argue with you if you prefer one angle or the other but there is no doubting that dollar-for-dollar the LX struggles to keep up.

Let’s use the Escalade and Grand Wagoneer as similarly priced competitors. The LX is significantly smaller so it’s noticeably tighter inside with far less cargo volume. Going to use the 3rd row? This one can’t hold a candle to the others. And from a visual standpoint, it’s just not as exciting in here; smaller screens, fewer visuals, lower wow factor. And as for features, there’s not a lot of cutting-edge stuff going on so in that regard the pantry feels a little bare. Then there’s the issue of hands-free driving; it’s not here while the Caddy is already onto a new generation of Super Cruise and Jeep is bringing it to market soon.

INSIDE THE CABIN

2022 Lexus LX 600 Review: All-New in an Old-School Way
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The seats are really comfortable but there’s no massage. The new dual touchscreens are a vast improvement from the old, maddening mousepad setup but it’s lacking in depth of features and isn’t as good as the new Tundra’s bigger, single screen. Also, there’s no pano roof, no camera mirror, very little ambient lighting, no welcome mat lighting, and no power running boards - something an off-roader of this ilk really needs. The 25-speaker Mark Levinson sound system is also basic in its controls and frankly just doesn’t wow like the JBL unit in the Tundra. This one has the optional dual-screen rear entertainment system and I love the way the center console is accessible from 3 sides - very smart. It’s small but there is a cool box for snacks. I also like the placement of the wireless charge pad for untethered phone connections and the climate concierge is awesome, instinctively knowing when you need to be heated or cooled. The rear seats recline and offer enough room but this isn’t the oversized SUV passenger volume provided by the American competition. That goes for the 3rd row, as well, which is accessed easily enough and offers decent kid space with power reclining seats but with far less leg, shoulder, and headroom than the others. It’s up to 15” shorter than those too so cargo room with all seats upright is negligible. Then, when you’re expanding for cargo all 3 rows have to perform a dance in order to make a flat load floor.

BETTER ON-ROAD ROAD

2022 Lexus LX 600 Review: All-New in an Old-School Way
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From behind the wheel, the LX has that big, boss SUV persona with its new twin-turbo V6 and 10-speed automatic feeling very powerful, quick, and smooth in their operation. And, this LX feels less truck-y and more precise in its movements though less so than in a Ranger Rover or an Escalade. There’s even a Sport S+ drive mode now and, of course, the LX preserves its legendary off-road capabilities replete with a variety of specific terrain settings.

The base LX doesn’t have body height adjustability leaving it with less than 8” of ground clearance but here on the 22” tires with AHC - not a problem. Maximum towing is now rated up to 8,000 lbs.

This Atomic Silver example looks amazing, the black, open-pore wood trim is so classy and if an infusion of new tech is a turnoff to you the LX won’t overwhelm you. There’s even an available F SPORT Handling trim and a $130,000 Ultra Luxury model with individual rear seats fit for a king or queen. The LX is short enough to fit neatly in the garage and exudes an old-money vibe that perfectly matches with New England beach communities. There’s much to like about the new LX but also much to criticize.

Steven Hammes
Steven Hammes
Since 1998, Steve has been evaluating every new vehicle that comes to market – from Mitsubishi to McLaren. As the station’s Automotive Editor, Drive Time with Steve Hammes began as a weekly newscast segment at WRGB-TV (CBS) in Schenectady, New York and quickly blossomed into an internationally syndicated television segment. Steve has professionally produced new car reviews and broadcast-quality automotive video have been featured on Yahoo! Autos, AOL Autos, Speed, WheelsTV, Automotive Broadcasting Network, Cox Media Group, Test Drive Now, and his 2 YouTube channels which have over 100,000 subscribers and over 70 million views. Steve is a longtime member of the International Motor Press Association, a huge New York Yankees fan, and leases a Hyundai Kona Electric.  Read full bio
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