The 2022 Lexus LX 600 is better in every way with a newfound third row. The redesigned LX 600 is a three-row SUV that can seat five or seven passengers, or just four in the new Ultra Luxury grade. It competes with everything from the Infiniti QX80 to the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and BMW X7. The full-size SUV gets better across the board, from big improvements in both power and fuel economy, to even more standard safety and convenience features. The third row remains small, but its ability to fold flat into the floor represents another key improvement.
Familiar on the outside and welcoming on the inside, the LX 600 embodies understated luxury. With the Lexus spindle grille turned into a landscape-oriented cattle catcher, it’s unmistakable. Roughly the same size and proportion of its predecessor, the A-pillars get pulled back a bit and extend the nose, which has more cooling vents down low. The slab-like sides give way to an attractive rear quarter window design, which seems to be one of the trickier aesthetics to nail on three-row SUVs. Still, we award it a point for its rich interior.
A more powerful and more efficient powertrain powers the LX 600. Lexus pegs the 0-60 mph time at an impressive 6.9 seconds, but the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 makes the slimmed down LX move as if it’s a size smaller. Its potent powertrain and off-road ability. Weighing about 5,800 lb, the LX 600 went keto and shaved more than 440 lb through the use of weight-saving measures such as aluminum doors and by moving it to a new GA-F platform shared with the redesigned 2022 Toyota Tundra pickup truck.
The Tundra lends the LX its twin-turbo V-6 as well, but Lexus would not confirm if the LX 600 would get the Tundra’s twin-turbo V-6 hybrid option. Replacing a Jurassic-era V-8, the responsive V-6 pairs with a clean-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission that portions out the prodigious 409 hp and 479 lb-ft in expected doses. Six drive modes ranging from Eco to Sport + can be adjusted through a switch in the console to change engine mapping, delay shift points, and add weight to the steering. With a heavy foot from a stop, the engine can lag, but if you roll into it there’s tons of power. It can also tow up to four tons (8,000 lb). The power impresses but the calm, quiet ride fools you from believing it rides on a truck platform. Tire noise from the available 22-inch wheels can intrude. A lower center of gravity gives it more stability and redesigned suspension arms and shock absorbers on the solid rear axle conspire to cushion bumps. The F Sport grade employs a Torsen limited-slip rear differential to ground the rear in turns, but this big boy is going to lean anyway.
Four-wheel drive with a 2-speed transfer case and a center locking differential is standard across the lineup, and multiple terrain modes and an available adaptive suspension ensures that the LX 600 can handle variable terrain and conditions with ease. The suspension stroke gets 0.8-inch longer, and the off-road technology gets better. The center diff can be locked on the fly if there’s a snowy patch up ahead or an unexpected muddy incline. A switch in the console beside the drive mode switch lets drivers choose auto, dirt, sand, mud, or deep snow. The biggest change comes when drivers put it in neutral and shift to 4L.
The 7.0-inch center screen comes alive to show torque distribution between the axles, wheel slip, a pitch meter, and a turn assist button. At speeds up to 7 mph, the screen above it shows four different camera angles, including a transparent projection of what’s under and around the front axle. Five speed settings for hill descent control, topping out at 3 mph, make clambering up or downhill effortless, and hitting the gas or brake will override it until you let off. Pivoting around a narrow 45-degree turn becomes easy with the turn assist button that locks the inside rear wheel.
Standard on Ultra Luxury and available on F Sport and Luxury grades, an active suspension with hydraulic springs varies the ground clearance from 8.3 inches (with 22-inch wheels): turn the LX 600 to 4L, and it raises nearly two inches to the highest H2 setting; turning the terrain selector in 4H will raise it about a inch in H1. The system can also do it itself in Auto mode. Lexus says it can ford 27.5 inches of water, same as the last model. When parking, it lowers below the standard ground clearance to make getting in and out easier, despite standard running boards. It won’t follow a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon or Ford Bronco Badlands, but all these enhancements on the LX 600 make moderate off-roading so easy it takes some of the danger out of it. Win.
The big SUV’s 19 mpg combined rating represents a big improvement, relatively speaking. The four-wheel-drive LX 600 shifts into an EPA rating of 17 mpg city, 22 highway, 19 combined. That’s 1 mpg better than a similarly powered Lincoln Navigator, and much better than the Infiniti QX80’s 16 mpg combined rating. Compared to its predecessor’s 12/16/14 mpg rating, the LX 600 is 5 mpg or 35% more efficient. There’s no mention of a hybrid yet, but we expect one in the future.
Lexus loads the LX 600 with driver-assist features that usually cost extra from other luxury brands. The redesigned full-size SUV has not been crash tested by the IIHS or the NHTSA, and it might not be since the last generation never got dummied-up. Every LX 600 comes loaded with driver-assist features such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot monitors, and automatic high beams. That’s standard fare for the luxury class, but Lexus doubles down with a surround-view camera system, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and park assist with automatic braking that other brands bundle as expensive packages.
A new center stack dominates the cabin, with a 12.3-inch touchscreen above a 7.0-inch climate and off-road screen flanked by mirrors. Dials, buttons, and switches complement all the touching, which is a welcome departure from other screen-reliant luxury models. Horizontal vents stretch the ends, but there’s no denying the center console has truck-like width. Leather upholstery in various grades graces even the base model, and contrasts open pore wood on the door panels and console. F Sport models wear red on black semi-aniline leather, and have sleek aluminum trim panels, while Ultra Luxe models get diamond-stitched leather.
A fold-flat power third row highlights the seat upgrades in the 2022 Lexus LX. The Lexus LX 600 earns a 9 for its throne-like front seats, roomy second-row seats, its ability to seat seven passengers, and its 46 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row. But there are caveats to each of these points except the first. The leather-wrapped front seats are heated and come with all kinds of power adjustments to adjust the big cushions around bodies of all sizes. Despite an enormous center console, the cabin comfort ensures that road trips will only be interrupted for the necessities: bathroom breaks and coffee refills. A second-row 60/40-split bench comes standard on all except the top Ultra Luxury trim. Leg room stretches to nearly 37 inches behind the front row, and head and shoulder room is nearly as good as the front, unless a third person crams in the middle. Second-row passengers get a USB port and climate control for either outboard seat.
Premium, F Sport, and Luxury trims add a cramped third row with a seat bottom that essentially sits on the ground. Knees ride high and there’s no room to fit toes under the second-row seats, but those seats slide fore and aft nearly six inches for more versatility. Head room is tight too, so only passengers under 5-foot-10 can fit back there, and not for very long. Kids will fit better, and will get their own cupholders, USB ports, and ceiling vents, but folding down or moving the second-row from the back requires a firm lever that kids will find much harder to use than a simple push-button release like on so many other SUVs. Behind the rear seats is a narrow 11 cubic feet of storage space; a cooler won’t fit, but a set of golf clubs might. The good news is the power-fold third-row seats fold flat into the floor, effortlessly opening up to 64 cubic feet of cargo room with the second-row seats flat (44 cubes with them up).
The Ultra Luxury trim opens up a new world for Lexus, one befitting the luxe taste in some of the 50-plus countries where the LX 600 will be sold. There’s no third row, and the second row gets swapped out with a pair of captain’s chairs separated by a console with a 7.0-inch tablet to activate the massagers or recline either seat up to 48 degrees. A power ottoman descends from either front seat back for full stretch-out space. Each front seatback also holds an 11.4-inch entertainment screen. It’s more of a showpiece than a practical consideration considering the cargo cover is attached to the back of the rear seats (they can be removed with a screwdriver , but it’s a first-class accommodation.
Lexus loads the LX 600 with luxury touches and revamped tech. Loaded with standard features, options such as massaging rear seats, a much improved touchscreen and infotainment system. The $88,245 Standard grade is the only trim to come with five seats, including a second-row bench seat. It rides on 20-inch alloy wheels and features a power sunroof, leather upholstery, heated power front seats, and four-zone climate control. Even the base model comes with a new dual-screen interface topped with a 12.3-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility and a wireless charger. It’s so much better than the previous system, and the voice commands are excellent. The lower 7.0-inch screen handles climate controls and off-road settings when the 2-speed transfer case is engaged to 4L. A wireless smartphone charger and 10-speaker audio system complete the tech upgrades across the lineup.
The $96,345 Premium trim satisfies the need for a third row, even if it’s best for short trips for short people. It adds two USB ports for each row, cooled front seats, heated second-row outboard seats, power folding third-row seats, a sharp head-up display, a hands-free power liftgate, and a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Ultra Luxury model and its rear captain’s chairs tops the lineup at $127,345, which is about $20,000 more than last year’s top model. Lexus includes a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty that covers the first year or first 12,000 miles of scheduled maintenance.
Regardless of trim, the 2022 Lexus LX 600 makes no excuses for its old school approach to modern SUV-dom. It’s one of the few luxury SUV’s remaining that actually can go off-road if you so choose. At the same time it retains all of the Lexus hallmark’s you’ve come to expect; a refined driving demeanor, impeccable fit and finish, and stellar reliability. The LX is a rarity that deserves to be admired for its no-nonsense approach that Lexus painstakingly updated with new styling, an efficient updated powertrain, and leading technology.
Image Source: Overdrive