Upscale moves more upscale, but remains trail worthy …
In case you’re an affluent couple (think $320,000+ annual income) the luxury sport-utility market just got an upscale upgrade from Lexus.
The LX 600, the longtime Lexus luxury yacht, er SUV, has been remade for 2022 and is now rolling into dealerships. Lexus tells us they are moving the LX up a couple notches by modernizing its technology, cutting its weight, delivering a more fuel-efficient twin-turbo engine and offering a variety of seating options.
And yes, they are piling on the luxury features while going with five trim levels, including an F Sport model. All may stun you in a variety of ways, not least of which is pricing.
The new LX 600 will be the brand’s flagship model (trucks are more popular than cars) and they hope sales will respond to garner Toyota’s luxury make more market share in a growing segment where about 2 million units were sold in 2020. The market, Lexus reports, is growing about 2.5% a year and they hope to see the LX’s portion more than double from its current 3,500 units a year to about 9,000. Some of those, they are sure, will come from its former Land Cruiser buyers as the Cruiser has been discontinued. But don’t fret, all LX models will have full off-roading capability.
We’ll hope to get a new LX 600 sometime this summer for a test drive, but here are some of the highlights of the new model, which Lexus reassures will be reliably off-road worthy.
Consider this for the 2022 model:
- It will be 441 pounds lighter as it now features aluminum fenders, doors, hood and roof, that last bit a first for Toyota.
- The trusty 5.7-liter V8 goes bye-bye to be replaced by a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with way more torque and coupled with a fuel-saving 10-speed automatic transmission. Gas mileage improves from roughly 14 mpg to 19 mpg with that engine and the substantial weight loss.
- A 12.3-inch info screen will be featured above a 9-incher for all your electronic and entertainment needs.
- Trims will be the Standard model for about $86,000, the Premium for $95 grand, the Luxury for $103 grand and Ultra Luxury for $126 grand. Then there is the F Sport in the middle, and like other F Sport trim models will feature improved handling and offer a sportier vibe and appearance. Starting price will be roughly $101,000. Affluent indeed!
- The third row seats will power down flat now. Before they didn’t quite lay flat. Power for those seats starts with the Premium model, which Lexus expects to be its top seller. That will have heated and cooled front seats and heated steering wheel, plus heated outboard seats in row two.
- F Sport (the Lexus Hero Vehicle) will get a different grille, sport-tuned suspension, semi-aniline leather seats, 22-inch wheels and cool Hadori aluminum trim, an exclusive to F Sport.
- Luxury models will also have their own 22-inch wheels, soft-close doors, rear manual sun shades and a 25-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.
- Ultra Luxury models will only have four seats to create a “chauffer” type experience that emphasizes second row comfort with massaging seats and a passenger-side fold up ottoman. Some of this was previously offered on the former flagship model, the LS sedan. Leather here will be diamond patterned and the second row captain’s chairs will recline 48 degrees. Active height control will be standard too, as will a rear seat entertainment system, plus everything that comes on the lower trim lines.
- A special Appearance Package for the Premium and Luxury trims will offer a matte gray grille, dark gray roof rails and 18-inch matte gray alloy wheels along with black bumper trim. For the record 20-inch wheels are standard with 22-inchers available on most trims.
- Expect to see a multi-racial advertising campaign starting in April that will target younger buyers as the average age for the LX now is 56, a year younger than the average for the Luxury SUV market.
- Competitors include the Cadillac Escalade, Range Rover, Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, all new or having been revamped in the past year.
This update comes from a Zoom meeting with Lexus representatives speaking to the Midwest Automotive Media Association.
More details to come once we get our hands on one of these to test drive, but one can imagine the LX 600 will be quiet and comfy with enough bells and whistles to justify its price.
Photos are courtesy of Lexus