2022 Lexus LX Review

2022 Lexus LX - Bold new looks, a more efficient powertrain and still highly capable off-road.


The Lexus LX 600 is a full-size luxury SUV that dates to 1996 when it joined the line up as a more upscale version of Toyota's iconic Land Cruiser. Fast forward to 2022 and the LX is the last SUV standing as the Land Cruise is no longer in production in the United States. For 2022 the LX received a complete overhaul as it enters its fourth generation (after 14 years in the third generation). It continues as a body-on-frame SUV that is capable off-road yet refined for on-road driving.

Under the hood is a new 3.5L V6 twin-turbo gas engine that generates 409 horsepower and 479-pound feet of torque. Gone is the naturally aspirated V8. It mates with a direct shift 10-speed automatic and is available with an active height control system, active variable suspension, drive mode select, multi-terrain select, and more. The LX is available in five grades that include the base model, Premium, F Sport, Luxury, and Ultra Luxury. Prices start at $88,245 for the base and climb up to $127,345 + for the Ultra Luxury. Competition includes the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Jeep Wagoneer, Mercedes-Benz GLS, Infiniti QX80, and Land Rover Range Rover. I spent a week in the F Sport and here's what stood out...

Refinement (+)
Like every Lexus I've been in, the attention to details is precise mixes with high-quality materials. The combination delivers a level of refinement that impresses from comfort to style to the drive. Outside the LX features tight gaps, premium wheels, and a thoughtful design. Inside the LX blends updated technology with available features such as massaging seats, rear recliner, ambient lighting, open-pore wood trims, and premium leather.

Exterior Style (+/-)
The most obvious change is to the massive front grille that has managed to get even larger. It's a design feature that can be polarizing to some potential buyers. The grille varies with each grade and blends in mostly on the F Sport with its mesh design spindle grille but step up to the Ultra Luxury and it switches to seven sets of horizontal bars that stretch from the hood to the bottom of the spindle design. L-shaped LED headlights feature a signature daytime running light that has been enhanced with a more three-dimensional shape.  The side profile features a more athletic shape with muscular wheel arches and balanced proportions. The rear C-pillar mimics the shape of the spindle grille which widens at the bottom and accentuates the rear windows that come to a point. Around back Lexus has ditched the Lexus emblem and spelled out LEXUS across the hatch. LED taillights stretch across the hatch with a connecting light bar mimicking trends in many other SUVs. Overall, it's a fresh look for the LX with a few key design choices that could bring in some new admirers.

Wheels (+)
Wheel sizes vary from 18 up to 22-inches depending on the grade. Finishes include matter gray, silver, dark gray metallic and a mix of machined finishes. The 22-inch wheels on the F Sport filled the wheel arches with a sporty look that was suitable for this grade. Ultra Luxury models also come with 22-inch forged alloy wheels that have a split six-spoke design that complements the bars found in the grille.

Powertrain (+)
The iconic naturally aspirated V8 is gone and has been replaced with a more efficient 3.5L V6 that provides an increased horsepower of 409 and torque of 479 lb-ft courtesy of turbocharging. This change also improves fuel-efficiency to get an estimated rating of 17/22/19 MPG city / highway / combined. The direct shift 10-speed automatic transmission smoothly shifts through the gears with quick acceleration from the start. The improved torque from the outgoing model increases its 0-60 time to around 6.1 seconds. Even when pulling a trailer, the ride was smooth and seemingly efficient averaging 16.7 MPG with a trailer.

Overall, it feels like the heavy SUV that it is, but the ride is comfortable and smooth. It handled the uneven terrain of Wisconsin with a cushioned ride that absorbed the small bumps in the road. On the highway, it's quick to pass other vehicles and provides ample power for merging onto 70 MPH roads.

Handling (+/-)
While the overall ride is posh, the handling will remind you that at its core the LX is a truck-based SUV.  Steering is improved with a change from a hydraulic power system to a new electronically controlled system. Steering is still on the softer side with less sensitivity.  It has a fair amount of body lean when taking quick turns causing me to feel inclined to brake early and slow down significantly when approaching turns to heir on the safe side of control. There's a lot of mass in the LX to maneuver and ultimately it is comfortable to control. It is available with an active height control suspension which allows the ride height to be adjusted according to the driving environment through shock absorbers that ultimately help with its agility on and off-road.  The springs are softened to help provide a comfortable ride when overcoming bumps during in-town driving and are stiffened to help ensure a flat and stable ride when going around curves.

Exclusive to the F SPORT is a Torsen limited slip differential to ensure traction performance of the rear tires. When accelerating during a turn, it optimally distributes the driving force according to the load on the rear left and right wheels to achieve a high level of control performance. In straight-line driving, it responds well to changes in road conditions, contributing to stability. Special tuning offers performance focused response making it the most agile of the LX lineup, but also the least ideal for off-roading.

Off-Road Capability (+)
When properly equipped, the LX is a luxury off-roader... just make sure it has the right tires. I drove the F Sport off-road at the Midwest Automotive Media Association rally and while it is plenty capable, the street tires couldn't dig into the wet mud like an all-terrain or off-road tire could. That said, the LX is designed on a body-on-frame structure and a rear rigid suspension to go through mud, climb rocks, and ford through water. It features a multi-terrain select system that optimizes its drivability in a wide variety of terrains that include auto, dirt, sand, mud, deep snow, and rock. It comes with full-time four-wheel drive with active traction control which uses sensors to detect wheel slippage and adjust power or brakes as needed. The ground obstacle angles (approach angle, departure angle and ramp break angle), maximum stable inclination angle of 44 degrees, climbing ability of 45 degrees and maximum river crossing performance of 27.5 in. are maintained at the same level as the previous model.

Crawl Control engages in low range to control engine output and hydraulic braking pressure to reduce tire slippage and optimize chassis behavior. Similarly, the downhill assist control kicks in when descending a hill to apply brakes appropriately without locking the wheels and maintaining speed. Finally, a multi-terrain monitor uses four cameras to help the driver see around the vehicle and are displayed on the full 12.3-inch display to better guide through unseen obstacles. There's even a back underfloor view so that the driver can best position the LX through obstacles. Basically, the LX takes a lot of guesswork out of off-roading and allows the driver to steer, look ahead, and enjoy the drive.

Towing Capacity (+)
Maximum towing capacity has increased to 8,000 pounds and standard on all models is trailer sway control. Trailer sway control is designed to detect and help suppress unwanted trailer movement caused by wind, bumpy roads, and steering. I had no problems hooking up our pop-up camper to the LX and pulling it barely affected its performance.  Even while pulling a 2,500-pound trailer, the LX maintained a balanced composure on the highway. The back-up cameras were especially useful in towing as the guidelines made it easy for hooking up and parking the trailer.

Interior Refinement (+)
Hopping inside to an all-new cabin, passengers will be treated to premium materials all around. Soft-touch well-padded leather surrounds the interior to create a posh environment. The vibe will vary based on trim level with the Ultra Luxury having the most upscale feel. I spent time in the F Sport which featured custom designed seats that came in Circuit Red leather (an F Sport exclusive color). Aluminum accents were blended in throughout the interior to give it a sportier flare. The layout was functional and stylish without being too futuristic. Standard on all models is a sunroof that covers the front two seats only, unlike many competitors that feature panoramic roofs.

Seats (+/-)
The LX accommodates from four to seven passengers. Base models seat five and Ultra Luxury models seat four, the rest have three rows and accommodate seven. The seats provide good support and comfort for a long road trip, especially in the front two rows. Head, leg, and shoulder room is good up front, but diminishes as you get further back. Access to the third row is done via a lever at the bottom of the second-row seats that will fold the seat back down and tip the bottom forward for ample access. Once in the third row, space is tight with little leg and head room. Padding is also limited in the third row as even my 6-year-old complained that the medal from the head rests were uncomfortable on his back. The third row is configured to seat two with either side folding flat as needed.  During my trip, we did fill all seven seats with four adults and three kids... everyone was generally comfortable for the quick trips around town, but it wouldn't be ideal for a longer drive.

Leather is standard along with a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, 8-way power adjustable passenger seat, and heated front seats. Options include semi-aniline leather upholstery, quilted leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, a wood steering wheel, heated and ventilated second-row seats, power-folding third-row seats, reclining and massaging rear seats, a rear center armrest and table, a passenger-side rear-seat power-adjustable footrest, and manual rear-window sunshades.

Cargo (-)
Cargo capacity will vary based on trim level. Base two-row models will deliver the most with 46 cubic feet behind the second row and 71 cubic feet with those seats folded flat. Ultra Luxury models offer 41 cubic feet behind the second row. In the more common three-row configuration, there is a measly 11 cubic feet behind the third-row seats, 44 cubic feet with the third row folded down, and 64 cubic feet with all the rear seats folded. Traveling as a family of five took some Tetris-like skills in packing as these figures are poor for the large SUV class. A power liftgate is standard and it now opens like a traditional SUV hatch. Gone is the split tailgate from the previous generation in which the top half flipped up and the bottom half down. For a vehicle with such mass, I expected more in terms of overall space.

Technology (+/-)
One of the most obvious changes inside is the updated technology that features a split screen design with a 12.4" upper touchscreen and a 7" lower touchscreen. Gone are the touchpad controls which won't be missed by many. All models feature a 10-speaker premium sound system, wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto integration, wireless charger, and an 8" multi-information digital cluster. The system is intuitive and not overly complicated like other luxury brands. The infotainment system features high-resolution graphics with quick response times. The wireless charging tray is appropriately placed, and all ancillary controls are well-placed.  Four USB ports are standard but note that the rear seats are only USB-C ports which is current but was disappointing to the kids who did not have the latest device/charger combination.

Optional equipment includes a Mark Levinson 25-speaker surround sound system, rear-seat entertainment with dual screens, rear-seat wireless charger, additional USB ports, and a head-up display. The color head-up display projects key information including speed, current gear, and RPM onto the windshield. It also connects with the available pedestrian alert and front cross-traffic alert to better warn the driver of hazards. Overall, the tech is a big improvement over the previous generation. It's not as advanced as some competitors such as the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, but it checks all the necessary boxes and is easy to use.

Safety (+)
The LX comes standard with Safety System + 2.5 which includes the following driver assist features:

* Pre-collision system with frontal collision warning
* Automatic emergency braking
* Pedestrian/Bicyclist detection
* All-Speed dynamic radar cruise control
* Lane departure alert with steering assist
* Lane tracing assist
* Intelligent high beams
* Road sign assist

Other standard features include blind spot monitor w/rear cross traffic alert, intuitive parking assist, ten airbags, panoramic view monitor, multi-terrain monitor, hill-start control, trailer sway control, and vehicle stability control. In short, everything available on the LX is standard with no optional safety features.

Final Statement
The LX is a high-end off-road capable SUV. It delivers a great overall package with fresh styling (love or hate the massive grille) that pairs with a new more powerful and efficient powertrain. It rides smooth and controlled while loaded with standard safety features. The interior is premium although the overall space is limited in the three-row models with subpar cargo capacity. Updated technology rounds out all the improvements that make up for some of its shortcomings. With a few different versions, opt for the LX that best suits your lifestyle.

First Impression Summary:
Test Vehicle:
2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport
Exterior Color: Black Onyx
Interior Color: Circuit Red
Options: Mark Levinson Surround Sound ($2,600)
MSRP as tested: $105,005

Jim OBrill

Jim is Director of Marketing for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and Chicago Auto Show and a co-host of Drive Chicago Radio on WLS 890 AM Chicago. His passion for cars started young and he’s often referred to as the ‘car-guy’ among family and friends. As a former auto detailer, he has an eye for identifying solid used cars and tags along on many car buying adventures. Early in his career he worked at several car dealerships in various areas of the business. As a co-host on Drive Chicago and member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, Jim has had opportunities to attend track school and drive vehicles on multiple circuits such as Road America and Gingerman Raceway. With a background in photography, taking pictures of vehicles has always been a hobby.

Jim also enjoys the trails and taking trucks like his 4Runner off road. He has a special appreciation for older cars and can often be found spending free time at cruise nights or home washing one his four vehicles. Jim resides in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three kids. Follow Jim on Instagram at @jpcars22 for new vehicle content or @forgotten_survivors.312 for shots of older cars still on the streets of Chicagoland.