I’m trying to remove the word ‘hate’ from my vocabulary, so instead, I’ll say I strongly disliked the new Lexus LX600. It’s not that it’s a bad vehicle. I generally don’t think there are many ‘bad’ vehicles built these days, but the Lexus offered very little of what I would want in a luxury SUV.
Starting out I was excited to drive the new LX. It rides on the same platform as the Toyota Tundra, Sequoia and Land Cruiser. A lot of resources were poured into the architecture, so I wanted to see how Lexus adapted it to its own needs.
One of the first things I noticed was the high seating position. Along with a big front windshield and side windows, drivers get a commanding view of the road. But sitting high up like that also means you feel a lot of sway in the top end of the vehicle. Add to the fact that the LX is body-on-frame, it very much rides like a truck.
But some of that rugged feel is tampered down with an air suspension system. There’s a lot of adjustment and the ride height seemed change pretty quickly. And while I’ve driven a number of vehicles with air suspension, the LX600 did something I’ve never seen before. When coming to a stop, if the front end dips any amount at all, the vehicle will always self level when its no longer moving. It was interesting to watch the front end slowly rise back up practically every time I came to a stop.
All LXs, including the F Sport version we drove, come with a 3.5L twin-turbo V6, which produces nearly 410 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. In everyday driving the setup provides smooth delivery and plenty of power if you need it. But if I was buying one of these, I’d want to know how it compares to other big SUVs with V8s, especially for towing and off-road. And off-road prowess has been one of the LXs secrets since it first debuted. While I did zero off-roading during my time with the LX, it does feel like it can tackle just about anything. And going just by feel, it has one of the best turning radius’ of any large SUV, which will only help off-road ability.
But along with vehicle ride, the interior was one of the biggest let downs. Sure it has double paned windows to help keep things quite, but I never felt like I was in a true luxury vehicle. Premium for sure, but not luxury. The materials are nice, but not great. The overall design is fine, but not upscale. And rear seat leg room is adequate, but not enough to fit my 6’4” frame in the driver’s seat and a kid’s seat behind it comfortably.
Pricing for the Lexus LX600 F Sport starts a little over $100,000 and for that kind of money I would buy a Cadillac Escalade all day long.
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John McElroy is an influential thought leader in the automotive industry. He is a journalist, lecturer, commentator and entrepreneur. He created “Autoline Daily,” the first industry webcast of industry news and analysis.