I will admit to having fallen into the typical car enthusiast trap of hating large SUVs. For years, I scoffed at massive, leather-lined, off-road-oriented family haulers, mocking their buyers for never actually using them to their potential. To me, those customers seemed wasteful and selfish for buying something so expensive, so thirsty, and so utterly unnecessary just to carry a couple of kids and their iPads. Then, I started to drive some of these things and I begrudgingly admit that I kind of get it now. And the 2024 Lexus LX 600 is among those that convinced me the most.
The current-gen LX is based on the global-market 300 Series Toyota Land Cruiser, which isn’t available in the United States. We will be getting the newly released 2024 Land Cruiser, but that’s the smaller, four-cylinder hybrid Landy. If you want the big-boy V8 version, this large Lexus is the closest you can get in the States. And it makes its Land Cruiser bones known from the moment you see it.
With a tall hood line, muscular haunches, boxy shape, and that luxuriously large grille, the Lexus LX 600 looks like it wants to punch all of the faces. Even with its flashy wheels and Lexus badges, it looks more utilitarian than your typical luxury SUV, giving it its own character. More importantly, though, that character shines through from behind the wheel, which makes the LX 600 an undeniably charming brute.
2023 Lexus LX 600 Specs
There’s no way for me to say whether the LX 600 feels different from the Land Cruiser on which it’s based without flying to a different country and testing one. However, it’s pretty easy to see their resemblance, inside and out. Under the skin, both cars use Toyota’s TNGA-F body-on-frame chassis, the same one that underpins the Toyota Tundra and Sequoia.
Looks-wise, the Lexus LX 600 can be a tough car to love. Its massive bumper-to-hood grille spans the entire height of the front end and almost takes up its entire width, too. There’s little purchase space up front that isn’t taken up by horizontal grille slats. My test car’s appearance package colored its grille and exterior trim a dark matte gray, which visually tones things down a bit but also makes it feel less expensive. However, I do think it looked good with my test car’s superb Nori Green Pearl paint. I’d like smaller wheels and chunkier tires, though, both for looks and a squishier ride.
You’ll notice more Land Cruiser DNA inside the LX 600, but that’s no bad thing. While the designs aren’t identical, you can see the Landy’s basic dashboard and center console structure in the LX. Lexus’s new 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system works as well as it does in other new Lexus models, and is a welcome addition, but the smaller screen below it is just annoying. That second screen handles climate controls and displays off-road info but it’s too small to see, read, or use while driving and Lexus would have arguably been better off keeping the Land Cruiser’s physical buttons.
Unsurprisingly, the rest of the LX 600’s cabin is lovely, with fantastic materials, great seats, and a steering wheel that was always a joy to hold. It is a bit cramped, though. With two car seats in the second row, my five-foot-five wife’s knees were almost touching the dashboard in the front passenger seat and only the smallest of people could fit in the third row. This relatively cramped interior came as a surprise considering, from the outside, the LX looks like the kind of SUV that should be able to carry an entire NFL offensive line.
Under the hood lies a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6, making 409 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Lexus pairs that engine with a 10-speed automatic transmission and full-time all-wheel drive, with a Torsen limited-slip center differential.
Driving the Lexus LX 600
The engine feels punchier than its 6.9-second 0-60 mph time would suggest and its transmission blends into the background pretty well. While the powertrain isn’t a standout, it isn’t a letdown either. It just lets the rest of the LX 600’s attributes shine without taking anything away from the experience, which is all you can really ask from a big, off-road-capable luxury SUV. Though, I do think the Sequoia’s hybrid V6 would be more enjoyable here.
I’m not quite sure how Lexus managed to take a rugged body-on-frame chassis and make it so enjoyable to drive on the road, but my hat goes off to the engineers in Nagoya. The LX 600 isn’t perfect due to a rough, truck-like ride (its 22-inch wheels likely didn’t help), but driving the big Lexus is always an occasion. Its steering is excellent—nicely weighted, surprisingly quick, and accurate—it’s more agile than it looks, and forward visibility is great. It isn’t as luxurious as something like a Range Rover, nor is it as truck-like as a Sequoia, but it has this lovely combination of both that makes each drive feel special and I was pretty pumped every time I climbed up behind the wheel.
Though, it must be said that its charms are best experienced by the driver. My passengers only noticed the choppy ride over rough pavement and the cramped interior. So they didn’t love riding in the big Lexus as much as I did driving it.
While the Lexus LX 600 is supposed to be capable of pretty serious off-roading, I wasn’t going to try, lest I mess up one of its expensive 22s. However, I did take it in some light mud and sand and its Land Cruiser roots shined through, handling it all with a yawn. Few LX 600 customers will ever show their car a muddy trail, but it’s nice to know it can handle one if need be.
The Highs and Lows
I found myself making excuses for the LX 600, which is probably not a great testament to my objectivity. However, I began to find a lot more that I liked about it than I didn’t. Its looks, for example, really grew on me over my week with it. I loved its white/brown leather interior and even started to excuse the cramped interior. That’s the price you pay for rugged capability, right?
Though, that doesn’t mean I was blind to its flaws. Its rough ride, cramped back seat, essentially useless third row, and pathetic cargo space with the third row in place hinder its abilities as a family SUV. Admittedly, with the third row folded down, its cargo space is a capacious 41 feet, but don’t expect the LX to work for families larger than four. It’s also pricey, with an as-tested price of almost $110,000.
Lexus LX 600 Features, Options, and Competition
As you’d expect from any vehicle with a nearly $93,000 starting price, the LX 600 comes pretty well equipped from the jump. Heated, 10-way adjustable seats, a heated steering wheel, 20-inch wheels, an 8,000-pound-rated tow package, and the fancy new 12.3-inch touchscreen are all included in the diner-menu-sized standard equipment list. If you find a base model LX on the dealer lot, you can drive off without ever wanting for anything.
Being the Luxury trim, my test car had a few extra goodies, though. The standard car only has five seats while my car had seven. The Luxury package also brings quad-zone climate control, a neat “Cool Box” drinks fridge in the center console, and a typically kick-ass Mark Levinson surround sound system. The $1,295 Appearance Package swapped the normal chrome trim with dark gray trim on things like the grille, door trim, and roof rails. Active air suspension costs an additional $1,300 and the dual-screen rear entertainment system was a pricey $2,240. All of which brought its as-tested price to a hefty $109,945.
That’s expensive but it isn’t obscene in the segment. The big Range Rover starts at almost $109,000 and will easily eclipse that cost, with similar seating as the Lexus and equal—if not better—off-road prowess. The Mercedes G-Wagen, meanwhile, doesn’t even start until a smidge over $141,000 and only comes with seating for five. So, when you think about it that way, the LX 600 isn’t actually a bad deal.
Is it surprising that the Lexus LX 600 is thirsty? With almost 6,000 pounds to lug around, its twin-turbo V6 needs to work hard and many gallons of gasoline are consumed in doing so. The EPA rates it at 19 mpg combined but I saw just over 17 mpg over a week of testing. In fairness, I didn’t exactly drive it with fuel consumption in mind. Still, it’s a bit less efficient than some of its rivals.
However, in the LX 600’s defense, it’s unlikely any of its customers is going to consider fuel economy when buying it. This is a six-figure, three-row, three-ton, leather-lined SUV, after all.
Value and Verdict
Speaking of six figures, it’s hard to pin down the value of a car like the Lexus LX 600. It’s such a superfluous vehicle that it’s hard to say whether it’s worth the money. Customers don’t buy such an SUV for its value proposition, they buy it because they want it and can afford it.
However, when you look at its competition, namely the Range Rover and G-Class—the main off-road-ready luxury SUVs in the U.S. market—the LX 600 seems like the best value. It doesn’t have the clever locking diffs that the Range Rover and G-Wagen do, but it’s still good enough off-road for the vast majority of buyers in that segment and it’s on-par with them in terms of interior quality. Although, the Range Rover is considerably more comfortable, whereas the Lexus has a bit of a truck-like ride quality.
That truck-like ride quality adds to its character, though. There’s a feeling that the Lexus LX 600 is a hard-working truck at heart, it just so happens to be wrapped in luxury. It’s certainly compromised as a family car due to its cramped seating, and it isn’t quite as luxurious as something like a Range Rover. But it’s charmingly brutish and there’s something very fun about that. I can see why the LX 600 won’t be for every luxury SUV buyer, but for those who can appreciate it, it’s pretty awesome.
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