Plenty of us around the Roadshow water cooler were sad when we found out that Toyota its first all-new Land Cruiser in over a decade to the US, but all hope isn't lost because Lexus debuted its 2022 LX 600 on Wednesday and that is coming to our shores.
Historically, the LX has been the comfier, more road-biased sibling to the Land Cruiser, which certainly seems to be the case once again. Like the Toyota version, the LX 600 is powered by a twin-turbo V6 engine that produces 409 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque.
Those figures are a decent improvement over the outgoing LX's 5.7-liter V8, which offered up just 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet while returning some fairly abysmal fuel economy -- just 12 mpg in the city and 16 on the highway, 14 mpg combined. We don't know what the new LX's fuel economy figures will be, but with the smaller displacement, more modern engine and a new 10-speed DirectShift automatic transmission, they have to be better than before.
Of course, nobody really buys an LX for its engine. They buy it either because it's the most expensive Lexus SUV you can have or because it's very comfortable and extremely good off-road. We haven't driven the new LX (or Land Cruiser), but we are already expecting great things. Among the many improvements over the 200-series is a new architecture that helps the LX drop 441 pounds compared to the outgoing model and gives it a claimed 20% increase in chassis rigidity -- something we always like to see in a body-on-frame vehicle.
The front suspension is a double-wishbone design, while the rear is a four-link setup that has been ported over from the LX 570. In this instance, that's fine by us. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, though one thing that Lexus did change was the position in which the rear shocks mounted. It moved them to the outside of the rear control arms, allowing them to follow the movement of the wheels better, leading to superior vibration reduction and comfort.
The LX 600 has other party tricks, too. These include an Active Height Control system that continuously adjusts the vehicle's ride height, something we liked on the old LX. This time around, it can adjust itself more quickly than before, which is nice. It still has three manually selectable driving height modes -- Normal, Hi1 and Hi2 -- and a lowered mode that helps passengers get in and out. The system also alters height depending on which drive mode you're in and at what speed you're traveling.
Also new for 2022 is the introduction of electric power steering and an electronically controlled braking system. The former is pretty straightforward, but the latter is cool. It's a brake-by-wire system that monitors brake pedal pressure and adjusts the braking force to be its most efficient. Lexus is also introducing a new rear Torsen limited-slip differential to help sharpen up the big ute's on-road manners, should you opt for the new F Sport trim.
Off-road, the LX retains all the same approach and departure angles (25 degrees and 20 degrees, respectively) as the outgoing model, as well as the same 45-degree climbing ability and 27.5-inch maximum fording depth. It still has all of the off-road goodies we've come to expect from LX models like Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select (which now works in 4wd high as well as 4wd low) and Multi-Terrain Monitor, which uses four cameras to make finding your line off-road a lot easier. Frankly, of all the changes to the LX that we're getting, these are the ones we're the least concerned about. Toyota (and, by extension, Lexus) doesn't mess this stuff up.
The one area -- other than efficiency -- where the LX really suffered was in technology. Its infotainment system may as well have run on floppy disks; it was so old. Now though, Lexus has gone all-in on modernizing the entire vehicle. This starts with a mostly digital instrument cluster plus a 12.3-inch upper touchscreen paired with a second 7-inch lower touchscreen. The system is running on Lexus' new Interface platform and we're excited to see how it performs here.
Safety tech also gets a big leap forward with the inclusion of Lexus' Safety Sense 2.5, which includes, as standard, including pre-collision assist, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and automatic high-beams. Nothing here is bleeding edge, but it's all very nice to see on an SUV this big.
The rest of the interior looks like it is typical Lexus, which is to say beautifully made with excellent materials. The leather will undoubtedly be soft and the seats comfortable. Speaking of comfortable seats, though, there will be a new four-seat Ultra Luxury trim level with a focus on coddling rear passengers. In addition to super-reclining rear seats, this trim also offers a unique air conditioning system with special upper vents as well as reading lights, window shades and a rear seat display screen.
The other brand new trim level is the previously mentioned F Sport trim which, in addition to its limited-slip rear diff, also gets 22-inch forged wheels, special seats and two exclusive colors, plus all the F Sport badges and dark chrome accents you could hope for. Is it as goofy as Nissan's Patrol Nismo? No, but it's not far off either.
While the interior of the LX 600 looks like a real winner, the exterior is bound to be a lot more divisive. Once again, the front end of the LX looks like it's around 90% grille, and that's not a good thing. The rest of the styling is thankfully relatively staid, which we appreciate.
Lexus expects the 2022 LX 600 to hit dealers in Q1 of 2022, with pricing to be announced closer to that date.