Lexus’s new LX 600 is here and set to rival luxury SUV competitors and replace Toyota’s beloved, recently-discontinued Land Cruiser—quite a challenge. The LX 600, which arrived fourteen years after the third generation LX, is available in five tiers—the LX 600, LX 600 Premium, F Sport, LX Luxury Edition, LX 600 Ultra Luxury—with a goal of attracting sporty off-roaders and well-heeled customers alike. The swanky new SUV promises brawn and beauty; the ability to weather all terrain while boasting a luxurious curb appeal.
The discontinuation of the Land Cruiser in the U.S. has set high expectations for all tiers of the new LX, but it’s their most luxury offering, the LX 600 Ultra-Luxury, that perhaps has the most pressure to deliver on their promise: a car with everything in one. How will Lexus’s latest and greatest manage to not just take the place of the almighty Land Cruiser, but also go up against Land Rover, Mercedes’s G-Class, and Lincoln SUVs?
Richard Hollingsworth, Lexus’s Product Marketing Analyst, says the car is designed to appeal to the customer who “wants their vehicle to have valet and curb appeal and have the same Prestige SUV look even while parked.” The Ultra Luxury is sleek and stately with its massive grille, pearly finish, and chrome detailing. It comes with all the bells and whistles that the LX 600 has to offer: All seats are heated, and up front they come with ventilation, too. A 25-speaker Mark Levison sound system features 2,400 watt surround sound, Wi-Fi connectability includes a hotspot and integrated music streaming, and there are four USB ports plus a rear-seat wireless charger.
While the front-of-car experience is top notch—a 12.3 inch touchscreen display is designed with an intuitive interface, and a middle console “cool box” offers temporary refrigeration—it's in the second row where the really cool stuff happens. Reclining captain's chairs flank a middle console with an easy-to-use touch screen, which allows passengers to control all the backseat amenities, including a massage function. The neatest features are those you can access with the push of a button, including one that pushes the passenger’s seat forward while reclining the backseat behind it to an impressive 48 degrees. The backseat entertainment system includes two 11.4 inch screens, and sunshades on each window allows passengers to fully enjoy their entertainment. Considering its off-road capabilities, however, it must also perform well on rough terrain—just like its predecessors. So how about those capabilities?
Lexus reps say that even though the Ultra-Luxury may bring about a new set of customers, they didn't forget about die hard Land Cruiser fans. The model’s off-roading features are many. Crawl control, downhill assist, and hydraulic active height control promise a smooth ride regardless of terrain. Having test-driven the vehicle myself, the off-road experience was comfortable and smooth, and the Multi-Terrain Monitor allows you to see the surrounding area through several camera views, for times when visibility through the windshield is limited. A turn assist feature allows the car to pivot around areas with a tighter turning radius, and the Multi-Terrain Select function allows you to choose settings for a variety of surfaces, including mud, sand, and loose rocks.
It remains to be seen whether the Ultra Luxury tier will appeal to those who frequently off-road, or if it’s more for those who want to know they have the option, should they ever need it. When asked about the Ultra Luxury customer, Hollingsworth adds, “It is all about their success and power. Luxury is indulgent and exclusive. Status and brand matter to them.”
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