Making its auto-show debut in Chicago last February, the all-new Lexus LX has finally hit showrooms across the city. Completely redesigned for 2022, the LX remains a full-size luxury SUV. Seating capacity ranges from 4 to 7, depending on trim. The new chassis and engine are shared with the Toyota Tundra. All LX models come with four-wheel drive. Competitors include the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon, Infiniti QX80, Land Rover Range Rover, and Lincoln Navigator.
Trim levels include LX, Premium, F Spot Handling, Luxury and Ultra Luxury. The LX offers seating for 5. Mid-trims have three rows of seats for a maximum capacity of 7. Ultra Luxury ditches the third row and second-row middle seat for a maximum capacity of 4. All are powered by a turbocharged 3.4-liter V6 that makes 408 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Sole transmission is a 10-speed automatic. Maximum towing capacity is 8,000 pounds.
Prices range from $88,000 to $127,000. Standard safety features include forward-collision warning with brake intervention, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera system, and automatic parking. Also standard across the board is sunroof, heated front seats, navigation system, dual-touchscreen infotainment system with wireless support for Android Auto and Apple Car Play, and wireless charging pad.
Though the LX weighs nearly 6,000 pounds, there's no shortage of power. The turbocharged V6 has more than enough grunt and provides smooth and effortless acceleration and surprising passing punch. From a rest the engine will propel the LX from 0 to 60 MPH in less than 6.5 seconds. In addition, the buttery-smooth 10-speed snaps off nearly imperceptible upshifts and prompt downshifts. Part of the reason for that is the transmission blurs the line between traditional torque converter and dual-clutch to provide smooth takeoffs and quick gear changes.
Unlike most luxury crossovers, the LX has a 2-speed transfer case that provides a low range for off-road slogging. And that makes it and SUV, rather than a crossover. In addition, a height-adjustable suspension is offered as well as some off-road goodies if buyers desire.
As you might expect, the LX is no fuel-economy champ -- though losing 2 cylinders and 2.3 liters of displacement improved the situation. In fact, EPA numbers of 17 MPG city and 22 MPG highway are near the top of the class. Still, premium-grade fuel is required, and the efficiency of the turbocharged engine is likely to be more affected by a lead foot, so any gains need to be taken with a grain of salt. In routine commuting expect to average about 18 MPG overall, perhaps as high as 20 MPG if you spend a lot of time on the highway.
Dynamically, the LX benefits mightily from a stiffer structure and more modern suspension. Though there is still a live axle out back, the front is an independent wishbone setup and the rear shock absorbers have been moved outside of the lower control arm with a mounting angle has been adjusted to match the angle at which the axle moves. In addition the new LX is about 450 pounds lighter than the outgoing model Long story short, the 2022 LX has a better ride and improved handling over its predecessor.
Still, physics is a thing, and the LX is a tall, heavy, softly sprung SUV. Lexus has added a height adjustable suspension and variable suspension damping to mitigate most of the annoying typical SUV ride characteristics. In fact, the suspension does an excellent job of softening impacts and absorbing minor bumps. Secondary motions are nicely quelled, and you don't get any of the typical SUV head-toss or motion-sickness-inducing rebound jounce. Though the ride in the F Sport model is significantly more firm, it's not harsh.
Steering is too slow to be called precise, but at least the LX tracks true on the highway and the feel can be tuned to driver taste. Brakes have strong stopping power but the pedal action is a bit touchy (as is the case for many Lexus models). Quick changes of direction induce a fair amount of body motion but opting for the Sport or Sport+ suspension setting helps minimize overall lean.
Like just about every Lexus, the LX is whisper quiet around town and has just a hint of wind noise at highway speeds. At full song, the new turbo V6 is a trifle louder than you might expect, but the exhaust note is pleasant and the engine calms down nicely when cruising.
Despite being all new, the interior of the LX has a decidedly dated feel, with lots of buttons, knobs and a smattering of screens. The main touchscreen display looks a bit like an add on, but it is high and easy to see for sure. Materials are certainly up to snuff, as is assembly quality.
LX really isn't a full-size SUV, it's more of a tweener. That said, it offers generous passenger room in the front and second-row. The Ultra Luxury comes with a center console in the second row that pushes the captain's chairs outboard a bit. All seats are very comfortable and well cushioned. The third-row seat is a compromise based both on size and access, and best left to children.
Moderately sized door openings are welcome when parking in tight spots. There's a significant step up. However, the LX can settle a bit when parking to reduce that issue. Outward visibility is complicated by thick roof pillars, but the surround view camera makes parking a snap.
Though the LX sports all of the expected safety features, they are somewhat underwhelming in operation. For example, the adaptive cruise control tended to slow dramatically for curves and the auto backup braking is a trifle too cautious in approaching objects. Off-road, things get better with aids such as crawl control and surround-view camera. From an infotainment perspective, Lexus finally has caught up to the competition is a 12.3-inch main screen and 7-inch secondary screen. In addition, the LX swaps its joystick controller interface for touchscreens. Like recent Toyota/Lexus products it wants you to sign in for the best experience, but at least you have full wireless Android Auto and Apple Car Play support now. One strange nit that might be supply-chain related is second-row seats on Ultra Lux models have a massaging feature, but that's not available on the front seats.
Finally catching up to its competitors, the 2022 LX proves to be a capable cargo hauler. Behind the rear seats it offers 41 cubic feet of storage space and 64 cubes overall. Though those numbers trail a behemoth like the Escalade, they are on par with others in the class. Sadly, the clamshell rear opening has been replaced by a more conventional tailgate. Though most owners might not care, it was an interesting setup that had advantages. Interior storage is just adequate is a few open and covered bins throughout.
Bottom Line -- The previous-generation Lexus LX had been around since 2007, so it sorely needed some updating. It gets that and more for 2022. It is important to note that the LX fills a niche roll at Lexus as the off-road capable luxury SUV. Buyers looking for a more conventional luxury crossover might consider the RX L. Still, there's no denying that the LX provides the luxury, comfort and functionality that buyers might expect at this price point.