First Drive: 2022 Lexus LX 600 Premium

The 2022 Lexus LX 600 has a face that’s hard to ignore.

Toyota has dropped the Land Cruiser in the American market for 2022. So, for the first time in its 26-year history, the Lexus LX 600 no longer has to share the spotlight with the Toyota Land Cruiser, which in fact, it basically was.

This robbed the Lexus of a unique identity, being little more than a pretentious Land Cruiser for the oblivious buyer. But the same could be said of Land Cruiser buyers, who spent as much on the Land Cruiser as you could on the Lexus.

With Land Cruiser MIA for the first time in 65 years, the redesigned entry-level 2022 Lexus LX 600 at $88,245 including destination charge. That’s a mere $1,215 more than a base 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser, and $995 less than the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition. The pricing is no accident; Toyota hopes to retain Land Cruiser buyers by having them step up to the Lexus LX. Lexus also hopes this will increase the model’s volume.

Overview

By comparison, the 2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport’s grille is a lot easier to take.

The LX is basically the new Toyota Land Cruiser sold in the rest of the world, but gussied up into a Lexus. Toyota decided to not bring the new variant in because its annual sales numbers didn’t justify the cost of federalizing it. That said, being a Lexus, there’s no stinting on luxury, or trim levels.

The new LX is offered in ascending Standard, Premium, F Sport, Luxury, and Ultra Luxury models. All are powered by the same twin-turbocharged V-6 engine, rather than the V-8 offered in years past. Starting with four-wheel drive, it has the off-road goodies you’d expect of a pricey off-road warrior, along with a cabin and features meant to compete with the best of them, including the Land Rover Range Rover, BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class.

Exterior

By comparison, the back end looks fairly plain.

The new Lexus LX’s look is a thoughtfully executed update that looks fresh while remaining familiar. 

The front end is characterized by thin, crisply designed lighting offset by a truly mammoth spindle grille, although the F Sport grille is less imposing than the other grille, whose large chrome grille announces its arrival with all of the subtlety of a Fox News anchor.

It’s loud visual vocabulary stems from its lack of a frame, lending it a wilder, more animated appearance. The back end is clean and simple, spelling out the brand name and featuring visually connected tail lamps. It’s handsome, dignified and very much the antithesis of the other end. 

Interior

The roomy front row has the requisite high-end finsihes you’d expect in this class.

The Lexus LX 600’s interior is exactly what you’d expect of a Lexus SUV. It’s fitted with the requisite quilted leather, wood and aluminum trim materials worthy of its station. Legroom is generous up front and fairly substantial in the second row. Premium, Luxury, and F Sport trims come with a third row of seats that has a mere 31.1 inches of legroom. So it’s best left to rug rats or people you truly despise.

 Ultra Luxury models come with seating for four, with center consoles front and rear, along with a reclining rear seat with ottoman that fold down from the front rear seatback. It’s useful, as long as there is no one in the front passenger seat and you’re less than 6-feet tall.

Oh, and the front seats need to be moved all the way forward to provide stretch-out space. At first glance, it appears to be the perfect perch for watching the rear seat entertainment system. But it lacks wireless headphones or a remote, making this less than optimal.

Cargo space is a meager 11 cubic feet behind the third-row seats. Without them, you get 41 cubic feet, and as much as 71 cubic feet with the seats folded. 

Powertrain

Ultra Luxury models have a reclining rear seat and separate ottoman, but the model only seats four people.

Forget the burly V-8 that has long powered this rig. The 2022 Land Cruiser — um — Lexus LX 600 is powered by a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged DOHC V-6 engine, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. The combination puts out 409 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The LX 600 provides between 7.87 and 8.27 inches of ground clearance depending on model. 

Safety and Technology

Lexus piles on the driver assistance systems including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking pedestrian detection, bicyclist detection, intersection turning assist, emergency steering assist, dynamic radar cruise control, rear cross-traffic braking, blind spot monitor, lane tracing assist, lane departure alert with steering assist, road sign recognition and automatic high beams.

The 2022 Lexus LX 600 has not yet been crash tested.

Lexus separate the infotainment screen from the climate vehicle control screen beneath it.

Technology-wise, you’ll find a 8-inch digital instrument cluster, 12.3-inch infotainment screen and a 7-inch screen mounted below it for controlling climate and vehicle functions. A 25-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system is available.

Driving Impressions

Built on a modified version of the platform used for the new Toyota Tundra, and while it provides a firm foundation for this truck, there’s no escaping its feel. Body-on-frame vehicles just feel different from their unibody counterparts, and no amount of electronics can cover that up. 

Off-road, this vehicle feels fairly large and wide while traversing the frozen terrain outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s certainly more extreme than what an owner of a new Lexus LX would tackle. Thoughtfully, the infotainment screen offers up various views of what’s around the vehicle, but the camera view button is placed to the left of the steering wheel, not on any screen or near it.  

The 2022 Lexus LX 600’s overalllook is a mild update of a familair model.

Power is sufficient for off-road and fairly good off the line on-road. Lexus says 0-60 mph takes 6.9 seconds. That’s not enough to snap your head back, but more than sufficient and never gets winded. The engine does have a bit of induction noise when pushed, but that’s par for the course. 

Steering is nicely weighted, though fairly numb in feel. There’s enough dexterity to make tackling twisty mountain roads enjoyable. Ride quality is fairly good but not plush. This is body-on-frame SUV, so rippled pavement does cause shudders in the body typical of the breed, although its far less than you might expect.

Being pre-production prototypes, we weren’t able to rate fuel economy. The EPA says the LX 600 returns 19 mpg in compbined city/highway driving, and that seems accurate from what we could tell. Be advised, however, that the LX 600 requires premium unleaded.

2022 Lexus LX 600 Premium specifications

Dimension 200.6 inches/W: 78.4 inches/H: 74.6 inches/Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Weight 5,622-5,945 pounds
Powertrain  3.5-liter twin-turbocharged DOHC V6 engine, 10-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive
Fuel Economy 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway/19 mpg combined
Performance Specs 409 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque
Price Base price: $95,000; As tested: $101,470 including $1,345 destination charge.
On-Sale Date First quarter 2022

Wrap Up

The 2022 Lexus LX 600 is an admirable update of the truly ancient previous generation, and is a far better vehicle for not a lot more money. While most SUV enthusiasts may never enjoy it, those who can afford it will find the 2022 Lexus LX 600 to be a capable, comfortable and opulent way to trod through the forest primeval. 

2022 Lexus LX 600 ­— Frequently Asked Questions

Is Lexus going to redesign the LX?

Lexus’s flagship LX SUV has been redesigned for 2022 on a new chassis and a new powertrain based on the Toyota Tundra’s vehicle architecture. 

How much will the Lexus LX 600 cost?

Prices start at $88,245 plus destinaton charge for the base 2022 Lexus LX 600.

Will there be a 2022 Land Cruiser?

No. The Land Cruiser will continue to be sold elsewhere in the world, but not in the U.S. Toyota sees the upcoming redesigned Sequoia as a suitable stand-in. 

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