Lexus LX 600 Luxury SUV: Go Big and Go Fancy 

But is it right for families? The 3rd row isn't easy to access, though great updates and pampering in the redesigned Lexus LX 600 will make buyers happy

Lexus Lx 600 Feature Image

Pampering passengers is the goal, but is this luxury SUV ideal for families? 

If there was ever an SUV with a loyal and dedicated fan base, it’s the Lexus LX full size luxury SUV. It’s capable off road, it’s luxurious and it has room for all your people and stuff.  Families throughout the years have loved it for the confidence it gives in winter weather, its ability to climb those slippery mountain roads in winter and crawl across creeks and sand dunes in summer. Enthusiasts love it because it can easily be modified for even more off road capability, and everyone loves its reputation for reliability and needing little in the way of repairs over time.  Then, the Lexus LX is known for its elegant interior, plush leather seating and its commanding presence on the road. With the recent redesign for the 2022 model year, the Lexus LX 600, with a starting price of $88,000, is more of all that. 

Related: The 2022 Lexus LX 600 is Almost Here and This is What We’re Giddy About

A Look At The Side View Of The Lexus Lx 600 Shows Its Classic Suv Size And Shape

A look at the side view of the Lexus LX 600 shows its classic SUV size and shape. Photo: Scotty Reiss

New Name, but (Mostly) Subtle Changes

With this redesign, Lexus renamed LX “600.” And while you might think that indicates a larger, more powerful engine, it actually has a smaller engine, though it does produce more power and better fuel economy — if only slightly better. How is that possible? Well, the LX 600 has the Toytoa Tundra to thank.  For 2022, Toyota moved to using only 3.5L V6 twin turbo engines rather than the V8s they’d used for their full size-trucks and SUVs. The V6 twin turbo generates 409 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft of torque and has a tow capacity of 8,000 lbs. That is an increase of 26 horsepower from a smaller engine; the prior model had a V8.  And yes, it gets better fuel economy. The V8 engine gets about 14MPG; the 2022 model is estimated to get about 19MPG, though we got about 17 during our test drive. Still better than 14. 

Related: 2020 Lexus LX 570: $100K+ for the Long Haul

New Tail Lights And A New Lexus Badge Distinguish The New Lexus Design From The Last Design

New tail lights and a new Lexus badge distinguish the new Lexus design from the last design. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A New, Modern Exterior Look

On the outside, the LX 600 is all Lexus: it has the commanding hourglass grille (Lexus calls it the spindle grille) and the sharp even slimmer lightning bolt-like headlights that we’ve become used to seeing, though the grille seems to take up even more space on the front of this SUV. TThe biggest difference is on the rear of the Lexus LX 600: The Lexus name is spelled out across the tail gate, framed by new tail lights and capped by a light bar. The gate itself has been flattened, creating an overall look that is fresh and modern. It feels good. Other than those design details, the size, shape and commanding presence of the LX remain the same. 

Related: 2023 Lexus RX: New Surprises From One Of The Originals

The Spindle Grille On The Lexus Lx 600 Is The Face Of The Promise Of This Suv

The spindle grille on the Lexus LX 600 is the face of the promise of this SUV. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Much Needed Interior Updates Add a Modern Look and Function

The same may be said about the interior, too. Lexus didn’t so much redesign the interior as correct and update details that will make time in the car easier, more convenient and more comfortable. On first glance, the interior may seem more reorganized than redesigned; Lexus created a distinct center console and command center that features the climate control panel and driver assistance features, including the off road settings. Under the climate control panel is a small cubby with USB ports and controls for heated and cooled front seats. Just in front of the cubby is the gear selector, a smaller, more compact shifter, and where the multi-media track pad might have been is a wireless phone charger, nestled between off road buttons and cupholders.  The result is one of the best center consoles in any car. It’s very well organized; the cubby is big enough for even those with large hands to reach in to retrieve something small, and everything is easy to reach. But the best is the location of the phone charge pad. I tend not to rely on these because they are slow to charge—though I’m ever hopeful I’ll be pleasantly surprised some day—but even so, its’ a great place to store your phone. You know where your phone is and it’s accessible if you need it; it won’t slide off when you go around a corner and it’s perfectly sized for my large iPhone 13+. 

Related: 2021 Lexus: All You Need To Know About The Upgraded Lexus LX, GX And ES

The View From The Driver'S Seat In The Lexus Lx 600

The view from the driver’s seat in the Lexus LX 600. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Fantastic new Multimedia System Replaces the Track Pad

That phone charge pad takes up the space that was formerly occupied by the ill-fated and very divisive touch pad media controller. Those of you who hated it, rejoice. The media system now has a touchscreen and is voice activated. Yes, voice activated. Once you tap the settings button and activate the wake word, all you have to do is say “Hey Lexus” and the system comes to life. It can turn on the seat heaters, navigate to Starbucks and find the closest bathroom. This is a two-tier system: one free, and one paid. The paid version adds smart cloud-based navigation and more features, and it’ll store your navigation searches so you can access them even if you don’t have a cellphone signal. The free version operates on stored navigation and operates basic functions, like setting the cabin temperature and changing the radio station. Both are really good.  And of course, there’s wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The big difference is that with built in navigation, you’ll see turn by turn directions in the head up display, which you won’t see if you use Apple CarPlay; navigation will only appear on the multimedia screen. Overall, the system looks and functions well. It takes a bit of playing with to get past the learning curve, but don’t most? 

Finally, the LX Has an F Sport Edition – and It’s Fun to Drive

You might think that adding a sport trim to this oversized family-friendly SUV is overkill. But the truth is, an SUV this large can be really fun to drive. So why not make it more fun? That’s the idea behind the F Sport edition, which was the model we test drove. It adds sporty details like red leather upholstery, F Sport badges and an F Sport mesh grille. And, it adds Sport+ mode, so you can front load all that torque and horsepower for fast starts at a green light, or for complete confidence merging onto the highway.  In sport mode or not, the Lexus LX is fun to drive. Having all that mass and power in your hands is fun. During my time with the LX I really loved climbing into the drivers seat and commanding the ship; I learned to use the cameras and mirrors to pull into tight parking spots, though the high ground clearance helps, too.  Out on the road it simply soars. Alone, I stepped on on the accelerator and took off quickly from traffic lights. And I can see how you may not even notice a full load of people and towing a trailer; the twin turbo engine is quiet and capable and the suspension gives you solid, stable footing. 

Accessing The Third Row In The Lexus Lx 600

Accessing the third row in the Lexus LX 600. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Not as Family-Friendly As You Might Think

This is where Lexus loses me and where owners will have to come up with workarounds: this full size SUV isn’t as functional and flexible as its competitors. Here’s why: the third row is not easy to access and captains chairs are only available in the top of the line Ultra Luxury trim, which is more like a limousine and it does not have a third row (neither does the base model).  The three-row versions, the Premium, F Sport and Luxury editions, each require the center seats to be folded and flipped (with a push button, thankfully) to access the third row. It’s not convenient and it’s not easy, so this is a third row you’d only use when absolutely necessary; certainly not on a daily basis.  And, for families with children in car seats, the third row can be almost a no-go. If you have kids car seats in the outboard seats you’ll need to uninstall one of them to reach the third row. That’s a tough ask.  However, for kids in booster seats that can easily be moved to access the third row, or for families with teenagers, the LX 600 may be just what you need. There’s plenty of head and leg room in the center row, and even the third row, once you climb back there, isn’t completely uncomfortable. 

This Is A Cool Box That Opens From Either The Driver'S Side Or Passenger'S Side, And Rear Seat Passengers Can Open It From The Rear It Too

This is a cool box that opens from either the driver’s side or passenger’s side, and rear seat passengers can open it from the rear it too. Photo: Scotty Reiss

But, There’s a Cool Box!

What families will find cool is the cool box in the center console under the arm rest. This will keep a few drinks, snacks or medicine out of the heat and at a cool but not cold temperature. And, the arm rest is accessible from the rear seat; a button on the back allows second row passengers to open the box from the rear. 

The Rear Seat Is Roomy And Has Some Nice Amenities For Passengers

The rear seat is roomy and has some nice amenities for passengers. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What the Lexus LX Costs

Pricing for the Lexus LX 600 starts at about $88K, a $2,000 increase from 2021. Considering all you get in new design and tech, that’s not a huge increase. And with the long spans of time between redesigns and historically high resale prices, it could be a good investment to buy now and hold on to it for a decade. Here’s how the pricing breaks down: 

  • Lexus LX 600, with leather seating for 5, heated power front seats, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, open pore wood trim details, moonroof, 20” wheels, off road features including multi-terrain select and full time 4 wheel drive, wifi, Lexus Interface multimedia system, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Amazon music streaming, 4 SUV ports, tow package and the full suite of Lexus Safety System features including adaptive cruise control, road sign reader, lane departure assist and blind spot monitors, $88,245 
  • Premium adds a third row, heated steering wheel, 2 additional USB ports, head up display, heated second row seats, customizable ambient lighting, motion activated lift gate and adaptive suspension,  $96,345
  • F Sport adds F Sport design details, 22” wheels, F Sport tuned suspension, cool box, $102,345
  • Luxury adds wood and leather steering wheel, vented rear seats, one touch power folding seats, rear seat sun shades and Mark Levinson premium sound, $104,345
  • Ultra Luxury has 4 passenger seating with diamond stitched leather upholstery, heated, vented and reclining rear captains chairs with massage, a power ottoman on the right seat, center console with armrest and table, wireless phone charge pad and digital rear view mirror, $127,345

I have to admit, this car is fun to drive and in the Ultra Luxury edition, fun to ride in. It maintains its mastery for off roading with full time 4WD. For families with two teens, who need a lot of interior room and 8,000 lb.  tow capacity, the Lexus LX is a great choice. But it’s more likely to appeal to buyers with horses and dogs, or friends and a boat, or 5-star RVers. And to anyone who wants to go big and go fancy.

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss