Lexus LX Limited review: the curious case of the Land Cruiser's posh cousin
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Lexus LX 500d Limited
- Fantastic turbo-diesel V6 engine
- Undeniable sense of luxury inside
- Packed with equipment
- Closer to cheaper Land Cruiser than ever
- Still more 4x4 than SUV on-road
- Buy now and you still won't get it until 2023
To those of us who don’t live in the Middle East or United States, the Lexus LX has always been a curious thing: a much more expensive iteration of what clearly seems to be a Toyota Land Cruiser.
That’s no less the case with the latest model. More so even, given that while previous LX models shared no body panels with the largest Cruiser (despite the similar look), quite a bit is now carried over. Lexus/Toyota is understandably cagey about the detail, but at the very least the deeply sculpted aluminium bonnet and doors are now the same between the two.
The mechanical package for the Kiwi models is closer now, too. The basic architecture has always been the same; but while we used to get the option of a V8 petrol in the LX, that’s no longer the case. Both $175,900 LX models offered in New Zealand have a new 3.3-litre turbo-diesel V6. The same one that’s in the Land Cruiser.
Should potential LX buyers be bothered? If they are, they can go and order a Land Cruiser 300 ($127,990-$147,990).
The rest can be assured that closer ties to the Toyota also means a much better Lexus. The new turbo diesel engine is beauty, with more power and torque than the old V8 turbo-diesel (up 27kW/50Nm); while it doesn’t have as much top-end grunt as the previous V8 petrol (down 43kW), that torque figure represents a whopping 170Nm increase.
The LX remains a luxury vehicle of course, but in the style of Range Rover - one that can also traverse incredibly demanding terrain (with thanks again to the Cruiser). It’s a full ladder chassis underneath, but up (way, way up) in the cabin all the driver has to do is worry about the comprehensive Multi-Terrain Select dial and perhaps view progress on the Multi-Terrain Monitor. Multi-tasking, right? There’s even a 10km/h Crawl function… cruise control for off-roading.
Dynamically, the LX and Cruiser do part company a little. The Lexus is certainly no Range Rover in terms of on-road comfort/handling, but it’s set up to favour tarmac driving more than its Toyota sibling. Neither LX model can match the Land Cruiser GR Sport’s trick disconnecting sway bars, either. And while the Toyota rides on big 20-inch wheels, the Lexus boasts 22-inch rims – a bit less practical for mud-plugging.
The LX interior is unique (note the double-layer screens) and actually even in Lexus world there’s a key difference between our Limited test vehicle and the F Sport – a whole row of seats. The Limited is a seven seater, while the F Sport sticks with five chairs.
Auckland | Auckland City
$1,188.64 p/w $4,754.57 p/m
The F Sport is also a little sharper on-road, with stiffer dampers and a rear limited-slip differential. Check out the video at the top of the page to see the F Sport in action.
Lexus has thrown the leather-bound Book of Luxury at the Limited. Power adjustment for every seat (including the tumble/folding function for the second and third rows), “wooden mosaic” trim inserts inspired by hawk feathers (hey, that’s what Lexus says)… even fingerprint verification for the start button. We're not quite sold on the rear seat entertainment system, though; seems a bit old-school in the age of the iPad.
The nature of the off-road beast means the LX is still more an SUV for loping along (or towing 3500kg) than hustling from A to B, but if you like off-road cred with your luxury SUV (and plenty seem to), the LX cuts an undeniably imposing figure. What might put you off is the waiting list, which currently stretches out to 2023.
LEXUS LX 500d LIMITED
ENGINE: 3.3-litre twin-turbo diesel V6
GEARBOX: 10-speed automatic, AWD with low-range transfer
CONSUMPTION: 8.9l/100km (3P-WLTP)