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2022 Lexus LX 600 debuts as an off-road, super luxe flagship SUV

2022 Lexus LX 600 debuts as an off-road, super luxe flagship SUV

Plenty of us at the Roadshow water cooler were disappointed when we learned that Toyota wouldn't be bringing its first all-new Land Cruiser in over a decade to the US, but all hope isn'' t lost because Lexus unveiled its 2022 LX 600 on Wednesday and that vehicle is now shipping to us.

The LX has always been the more road-oriented sibling to the Land Cruiser, and this seems to be the case again. Like the Toyota LX 600, the Lx 600 is powered by a twin-turbo V6 engine that produces 409 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque.

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That's a nice improvement over the outgoing LX' 5.7-liter V8, which provided just 383 horsepower and 403 pounds-feet while returning surprisingly poor fuel economy -- just 12 mpg in the city and 16 on the highway, 14 pg combined. We don't know what the new LX's fuel economy numbers will be, but with the smaller displacement, more modern engine, and a new 10-speed DirectShift automatic transmission, they must be better than before.

Of course, nobody really buys an LX for its engine. They buy it either because it's the most expensive Lexus SUV you can buy, or because of its comfort and off-road capability. We haven't driven the new LX (or Land Cruiser), but we're already anticipating lots of great things. Among the many improvements over the 200-series is a new design that helps the LX drop 441 pounds compared to the outgoing model and promises 'a 20% increase in chassis rigidity', something we always like in octopus-on-frame cars.

The front suspension is a double-wishbone design, while the rear is an upgraded four-link setup. That's OK by us in this instance. If it ain't broken, don'. One thing Lexus changed was the position in which the rear shocks were mounted. It moved them to the outside of the rear control arms, allowing them more control over the wheels and resulting in enhanced vibration reduction and comfort.

The LX 600 also has other party tricks. This includes an Active Height Control system that continuously adjusts the vehicle's ride height, something we liked on the old LX. This time, it can adjust itself more quickly than before, which is nice. It still has three manually selectable driving height modes -- Normal, Hi1 and Hi2 -- and a lowered mode that assists passengers get in and out. The system also alters height depending on which drive mode you're in and at what speed you are traveling.

Also new for 2022 is the introduction of electric power steering and an electronically controlled brake system. The first is straightforward, but the second is cool. It's a brake-by-wire system that monitors brake pedal pressure and adjusts the brake force to be most effective. If you choose the new F Sport trim, Lexus is also introducing a rear Torsen limited-slip differential to help sharpen the big ute's on-road abilities.

Off-road, the LX retains all the same approach and departure angles (25 degrees and 20 degrees, respectively) as the outgoing model, as well as a 45-degree climbing ability and sloping 27.5-inch maximum fording depth. It still has all of the off-road features we've come to expect from LX models, like Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select (which now works in 4wd high as well as 4WD low) and Multiterrow Monitor, which uses four cameras to make finding your line off road much easier. Frankly, out of all the LX updates we're getting, these are the ones that make us the most concerned. Toyota (and, therefore, Lexus) doesn't mess this up.

The only area -- other than efficiency -- where the LX really struggled was in technology. Its infotainment system may as well have run on floppy disks; it was so old. Lexus has now spent all of its money on modernizing the entire vehicle. The instrument cluster is mostly digital, with a 12.3-inch upper touchscreen joined by 7- inch lower touchscreen. The system is running on Lexus' new Interface platform, and we're excited to see how it performs here.

With the inclusion of Lexus' Safety Sense 2.5, which comes standard, pre-collision assist, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and automatic high beams, safety tech takes a big leap forward in terms of technology. Nothing here is revolutionary, but it's all very cool to see on a vehicle this big.

The rest of the interior is as though it's Lexus, which is to say, beautifully constructed with excellent materials. The leather will undoubtedly be soft and the seats will be comfortable. Speaking of comfortable seats, there will be a new four-seat Ultra Luxury trim level focused on coddling rear passengers. In addition to super-reclining rear seats, this trim also includes a unique air conditioning system with special upper vents, as well as reading lights, window shades, and reversible seat display screen.

The other brand new trim level is the F Sport trim, which, in addition to its limited-slip rear diff, also includes 22-inch forged wheels, special seats, and two exclusive colors, as well as all the emblems and dark chrome accents you could wish for. Is it as cheeky as Nissan's Patrol Nismo? No, but it's not too far away either.

While the LX 600's interior is a pleasure, the exterior is certain to be much more divided. The LX's front end looks like it'll be 90% grille, and that' hardly a good thing. The rest of the styling is thankfully fairly uniform, which we appreciate.

Lexus expects the 2022 LX 600 to be available to dealers in Q1 of 2023, with pricing expected to emerge closer to that date.

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