2023 Lexus LX 600 Review - The Chauffeured Land Crusher
2023 Lexus LX 600 Ultra Lux Fast Facts
It can be a challenge for me to truly appreciate a high-end vehicle. Having been brought up with the typical Midwestern virtues of thrift and modesty, embracing conspicuous consumption with any sort of gusto doesn’t exactly come naturally. Outside a few wealthy suburban enclaves, much of this region traditionally has valued restraint, and the only acceptable response when questioned about buying a luxury good is to reply that you got it on sale.
Perhaps that’s why Oldsmobile was so successful around here. It gave drivers a taste of luxury without flaunting it.
Times have changed. New media has made the display of wealth - real or imagined - not just acceptable, but basically required. Fake it until you make it, and dodge the calls from the collection agency. So that old-school ethic of consumptive conservatism needs reevaluation for the modern era. I must consider six-figure motor vehicles as a legitimate part of our world. And thus, the 2023 Lexus LX 600 you see before you today. From the outside, it looks as if it should be like any other large SUV, with three rows of seating and plenty of hauling capacity. But step inside, and the story changes.
Note that the vehicle I tested has the Ultra Lux package. This package, which if I’m reading the build-and-price tool on Lexus’ website correctly adds a hair over forty thousand dollars to the price of a “base” five-seat LX 600 or about thirty-two thousand dollars to the three-row, seven-seat LX 600 Premium, actually will strip away a feature that many vehicles have been taking pains to add over the years - seats. This Ultra Lux package makes this three-ton, 200.5-inch long SUV a four-seat vehicle.
But my, what fine seats we have both front and rear? The chauffeured set shall be pleased with the pair of massaging captain’s chairs fitted astern the helm. At this price, shouldn’t they really be called Admiral’s Chairs? Anyhow, the two seats fitted to the back of this beast are delightful. As automaker insurance regulations require that only the journalist drive a press loaner, I can’t personally attest to the rear seat ride comfort during a day of being whisked from country club to a private table at the fanciest restaurant to high-end substance abuse rehab, but the sullen teens who are my typical charges were only mildly disappointed when the lack of a middle seat meant we couldn’t pick up a friend from practice. The ottoman fitted for the right-rear passenger was especially appreciated. This is an opulent experience for all who enter.
The cargo space embiggens commensurately with the deletion of the third row of seating, moving from 11 cubic feet with all seats up to a healthy 41 cubes. Stowing the admiral’s chairs bumps the figure to 71 cubic feet. The third owner who decides to take a well-depreciated LX 600 and make it an epic overlanding camper will have plenty of room for activities.
No, I’m not kidding. This should prove to be an excellent off-road vehicle should you choose, as it is based upon the Land Cruiser platform used around the world. No, this isn’t the smaller retro-looking Land Cruiser we will be getting at some point next year, but rather a replacement for the full-sized Land Cruiser that was discontinued here. It’s also related to the Tundra and Sequoia, of course. Should you so choose, every trim of the LX 600 is rated to tow 8,000 pounds.
With the low-profile tires fitted to 22-inch wheels on this Ultra Lux trim, however, you’d be best served keeping the LX on terra most firma unless you have a pathological need to fund the boat payments for your local alloy rim refinisher. The 18” or 20” wheels on the lesser trims are likely better suited to playing in the dirt, though mechanically every LX 600 is well equipped. A locking center differential means the power gets where it needs to, and there’s plenty of that power from the 409-horsepower, twin-turbo V6. The suspension on this Ultra Lux has active height control, raising and lowering as needed based on either driving conditions or driver selection. And the ride quality is generally good, though again taller sidewalls would do a better job of soaking up minor road imperfections.
Here we see Lexus’ signature Nori Green Pearl paint, which really looks much better in person than I can manage to convey in photos. It doesn’t do much to minimize the signature spindle grille, however, but overall the LX isn’t all that objectionable to look at.
Mercifully, Lexus has retired the old touchpad infotainment controls and moved toward modernity with a 12.3" display, replete with wireless Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay. These work seamlessly. A second screen is displayed below the big one for HVAC controls, though most controls can still be managed with buttons and toggles.
As I write these words, I haven’t yet checked my lottery tickets. So I can’t say that I’d be someone necessarily in the market for something like the 2023 Lexus LX 600. I don’t see myself living the Ultra Lux lifestyle. Plus, I enjoy driving too much. The fun to be had here is for the passengers in the back seat.
[Images © 2023 Chris Tonn/TTAC.com]
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Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in ebay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.
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