|Positives: Massive amounts of street presence, supremely luxurious, enough technology to make everyone jealous, powerful turbocharged six-cylinder engine, built like a tank.|
|Negatives: Not especially attractive exterior design, heavy in the turns, can't even transport five people for something so big.|
|Bottom Line: The LX 600 Ultra Luxury is opulent, high-tech, and quick, but its ride and lack of storage space call into question the high price tag.|
The LX ditches the silky V8 engine in favor of a twin-turbocharged V6 that delivers 409 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque (up from 2021's 383 and 403, respectively). The power is substantial, and the off-road capability is also impressive. The three locking differentials, along with digital tilt gauges, wheelspin monitors, low-speed Crawl Control, Trail Turn Assist, and Multi-Terrain Select make this stilted limo ready for almost anything. The LX 600 is really heavy at 5,665 lbs, and the Ultra Luxury is even weightier at 5,945 lbs, and you feel it in the turns.
Ride Quality: The air suspension and adaptive dampers help an otherwise bouncy ride in comfort mode, but Sport mode makes it a bit too firm for our liking. This is what happens when you make a luxury off-roader into a limo.
Acceleration: The LX 600 is powerful and the 10-speed automatic transmission shifts very smoothly. It launches to 60 in around 6 seconds, which is quick for something this huge.
Braking: Perhaps the worst aspect of the driving experience is the LX 600's brake pedal. It's hard to modulate and feels way too spongy. It did not improve over the last LX.
Steering: The steering has pretty much no feedback, but it's better than the LX 570's setup.
Handling: The LX 600 is tall, and the ride height is significant. Coupled with the weight, you can feel its mass in the turns.
Lexus's Achilles' heel has been its lackluster infotainment system and poor tech controls for years, but all that has changed in the past year. The LX 600 Ultra Luxury gets the full beans, and it shows. Beautiful, easy to use, and expansive, the system is superb, and the controls are eons ahead of its predecessor. The system is so good that you might not even switch to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The surround view camera even allows you to see what is under the LX 600. Crazy stuff.
Infotainment System: The dash and center stack delivers vivid screens in the form of a big 12.3" infotainment screen and an accompanying 7" climate control screen. Both are crisp, responsive, and attractive. Menus are easy to navigate.
Controls: The presence of physical controls like the climate control buttons and levers, as well as the large drive mode knobs, make adjustments while driving much easier. The rear console uses all on-screen controls, totally fine for those who are being driven.
We expected the new LX to look very different from its predecessor, but it's merely evolutionary, which at least means you can recognize it as the new LX. What the LX lack in overall attractiveness is made up for in presence. The LX is big, bold, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to styling. From some angles, the LX looks awkward (profile), while other angles give it a more fetching appearance The interior is more tasteful than the exterior, and it gets fully modernized and classed up a few notches when compared to the last LX. Appointments are attractive, and the look of the tech is properly modern compared to the rather antiquated look of the previous generation.
Front: This interpretation of the Lexus spindle grille is a lot to look at. It's also the largest one ever slapped on a Lexus. The seven brackets have two bars each and extend from the leading edge of the hood to near the very bottom of the front fascia. The deep contour in the center of the hood looks great, as do the triple beam headlights.
Rear: We really love the clean look of the back end with the Lexus lettering (the logo is gone). The taillights have nice linear pattern to them, and the long full-width light bar helps mitigate the LX's height. The rear valence is a bit busy, but it's not terrible.
Profile: The LX is muscular and aggressive, but there are a lot of lines going on in the profile. The squared-off fender wells and accompanying haunches look good, but the proportions seem a bit awkward with the long hood and the triangular D-pillar.
Cabin: We love the stitching on the broad seats, and the center console finally looks modern. Trim and finishes are also very nice, as is the design of the steering wheel hub.
It's a bit surprising that a vehicle this large doesn't have more legroom in row two, but you can deploy the front passenger seat to the forward position and recline the rear passenger seat. The level of comfort is excellent overall, but the lack of massaging seems very wrong for a vehicle that's supposed to be a limo. We had a Lincoln Corsair with massaging seats that cost about half of what LX 600 Ultra Luxury does.
Front Seats: The seats are big and commodious, making driving a pleasure. The cushioning and bolstering are spot on. There are some oddly hard plastics below the knee level, not great for this top trim level and price tag.
Rear Seats: The luxurious Captains' Chairs are very nice and highly adjustable. Again, it's too bad that there isn't massage functionality for them.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Sound deadening is excellent in the LX 600 Ultra Luxury, as it should be. Wind noise is also kept at bay at highway speeds. Build quality is as expected, and there are no errant noises coming from the cabin.
Visibility: Pillars are thick, but the seating position is very good. The flat hoodline helps you negotiate tight spots.
Climate: The climate control system works very well, and the heated and cooled seats fire up very quickly. Ample airflow in both rows and control from both rows are excellent.
The LX 600 in every trim gets loaded with all of the brand's driver assistance and safety features. All of the systems work well together, and they make the LX great for long-distance driving and high-traffic commutes. The LX has yet to get semi-autonomous driving tech like Caddy's SuperCruise, which is a bit of a disappointment. Otherwise, the tech in the LX is very robust.
IIHS Rating: Not tested.
NHTSA Rating: Not tested.
Standard Tech: Every LX gets infused with the Lexus Safety System 2.5+: Pre-Collision System w/ Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, Intelligent High Beams & Road Sign Assist; Blind Spot Monitor, Back-up Camera w/ Dynamic Gridlines, Intuitive Parking Assist w/ Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Auto Braking.
Optional Tech: None.
When compared to its competitors, the LX 600 is a bit down on cargo space, and it's not especially great when it comes to interior storage spaces. This is more of a limo than a beast of burden, but it would've been nice to see more gear-minded compartments an d cargo room.
Storage Space: The center console has a dearth of spaces ready to take on gear. There is an open cubby in front of the shifter, which is nice, but otherwise there's just a cooler box armrest (deep but not wide or long) and some decent door pockets and a couple of cupholders.
Cargo Room: The two-row LX 600 provides 46 cubes behind row two and that's it. You can't fold row two flat to equal the three-row's 71 cubic feet. That's far from impressive, but buyers of the Ultra Luxury probably won't care that much.
The LX 600's engine change from V8 to a turbocharged V6 makes a difference when it comes to fuel efficiency, but we still wouldn't call the big SUV miserly. Our numbers were good considering we drove in Sport mode most of the time. The LX 600 is sure to be less than impressive when it is laden with people and luggage to full capacity.
Observed: 16.2 mpg.
Distance Driven: 142 miles.
We're big fans of the premium Mark Levinson systems in top-trim Lexus vehicles. In the case of the LX 600, the sound system is amazing and sounds rich from every seat in the house. There's plenty of bass, tons of clarity, and just an excellent overall sound experience. It comes standard on the LX 600 Ultra Luxury, but you can also add it to lower trims for the bargain basement price of $2,660.