Lexus has developed from nothing AWD SUV’s in the RX and NX range but for their premium 4WD SUV LX 570 they have relied on the ubiquitous LandCruiser underpinnings.
This brings many advantages and some disadvantages. They have finally dropped a diesel engine into LX and produced the LX 450d. Make no mistake, the LX450d is a genuine 4WD though.
From a distance the LX 450d looks like a Sahara LandCruiser. With similar size and shape that is to be expected, however it does carry the Lexus familial style though with the nose and grill, some extra features around the rear light binnacle and wheel and tyre combinations.
The 20-inch standard alloys also feature a bright, machined finish with a sophisticated, multi-spoke design. They run 285/50R20 tyres. Both the auto levelling LED headlamps and daytime running lamps illuminate in an L-shape to express strong brand identity.
It is inside where Lexus really differentiates itself from the donor vehicle. In typical Lexus fashion the interior is packed with features and function. The changes include new steering wheel, console storage, full instrument panel, door trims, ornamentation, instrument display, multimedia screens and seats.
The enhancements are evident immediately upon entering the LX cabin, with new, silky white light from the all LED interior lamps, including the overhead console lamp.
The driver’s seat has a 12-way power function for the reclining angle, lumbar support, vertical adjuster and cushion front. The front passenger seat has a 10-way power function. Front seats are heated only.
The dash is clear, easy to read and houses a 4.2-inch TFT display screen. There is also an adjustable HUD with current speed and navigational waypoints.
Driving-related switches, including off-road system controls, are positioned in the centre console while comfort-related switches are positioned on either side to enhance operability. Centre console contains a cool box for keeping drinks cold and even useful for some shopping.
Rear passengers are treated to reasonable space and luxurious features, via a rear console panel in the fold down rest that enables adjustment of the climate control and seat heating and cooling.
New high definition 11.3-inch entertainment screens are installed on the front seat-backs for rear seat entertainment.
Surprisingly the diesel Lexus is a five seat only, which is better in reality. The fold down rear door provides practical load space but can also hamper accessing parcels at the rear of the boot etc.
A 12.3-inch multimedia display features at the top of the centre stack to provide for crisp, high definition controlling of vehicle functions, including the 9 speaker Mark Levinson audio system and climate controls.
The LX facelift sees the audio updated with the latest multi-media system, a digital tuner and an AUX (VTR) input terminal on the front of the console for external video input. This display also shows the back monitor with four-camera multi terrain monitor (MTM) and panoramic view monitor (PVM).
Other Lexus features include: four-seat independent control air conditioning, front cool box, front seat heaters, illuminated smart entry system with smart key card and smart start, optional ventilated/heated rear seats, LED ambient lighting in cabin and cargo area, touch-sensor overhead lighting, manual second-row sunshades and wireless charging tray for Qi-compatible phones.
Drive and Engine
The Lexus LX 450d is powered by a 4.5-litre twin-turbo direct-injection V8 engine, delivering 200 kW/650 Nm. This runs through a well tried and tested six speed automatic transmission that matches the diesel engine perfectly.
The new LX 450d has CUSTOMIZE mode as part of newly adopted Drive Mode Select. Drive Mode Select allows drivers to adjust key vehicle systems to suit their driving style and preferences. Modes can be adjusted via the circular knob beside the gear selector.
Drive Mode Select communicates with LX 450ds powertrain, power steering, and variable gear-ratio steering, adaptive variable suspension and air conditioning system to suit different driving needs. The CUSTOMIZE five modes are NORMAL, ECO, COMFORT, SPORT S, and SPORT S+.
Lexus LX 450d has 4WD capability second to none in the prestige SUV segment. The full-time all-wheel-drive driveline includes two-speed transfer and variable fore-aft torque split via a Torsen mechanical limited-slip centre differential.
A four-wheel hydro-pneumatic suspension package with adaptive variable suspension (AVS) and active height control (AHC) ensures optimum tyre contact with the road surface while minimising body roll and optimising ride comfort.
Other features include: the Crawl Control feature, a multi-terrain ABS braking system and a wide view front and side monitor system as standard for off-road driving. The Lexus will tow 3500 kg and has a tow ball rating of 350 kg.
As you would expect, safety features play an important part in the LX570 story with Lexus Safety System+. The Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) combines four driver-assist technologies. These include pre-collision safety system (PCS), all-speed active cruise control (ACC), lane keeping assist (LKA) system (lane departure warning) and automatic high beam system (adaptive high-beam system (AHS).
The new model adopts a raft of additional active safety technology including: 10 SRS airbags, head-up display (HUD), blind spot monitor (BSM), rear cross traffic alert (RCTA), individual tyre pressure warning system (TPWS), The sway warning system (SWS) and autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
- Luxury features
- Towing and 4WD capability
- Interior space
Not so Good Bits:
- Lexus mouse controls awkward
- No A/C seats – heated only
- Cream carpet gets dirty easily
For years Lexus resisted adding the diesel engine to their flagship model. It comes in slightly cheaper than the LX 570 with a few minor features missing and five seats. However it is competitive amongst prestige SUV’s in that it combines a level of luxury expected (and beyond in some cases) with true robust 4WD capability.
Others will venture further than the dirt roads, but most will stop way before the Lexus even raises a sweat. This capability comes at the expense of a limousine ride, which is still excellent, but slightly compromised for the 4WD capability. The choice is yours as to what is more important. There is however a heap of room for five adults and luggage for a long trip.
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Facts and Figures: 2019 Lexus LX450d
- Engine: 4.5L V8 diesel producing 200kW/650Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Warranty: 4 years/100,000 km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $134,129