Lexus entered India with the ES 300h sedan, RX 450h SUV and the gigantic LX 450d SUV. We will talk in depth about the LX 450d in this review. This was the car that we drove on our final leg of our test drive in Ooty.
It is HUGE! The Lexus LX 450d is nearly 5.1 metres long and 2 metres wide. Even standing in a parking lot, this SUV looks intimidating. Although when you compare to the car it is based on (Toyota LC200), the LX looks much more polished and urbane. The front again, is characterized by a super large Spindle grille and the large 3 eye LED headlamps. Even the fog lamps and the cornering lights here are projector units housed in a chrome-lined assembly. This behemoth will be easily identifiable out on the streets, thanks to its extra-large spindle grille and those intricate and large headlamps.
The sides again look plain, but muscular. The large door handles, oversized ORVMs and the chrome accented window line, all add to the drama. There are 18-inch alloy wheels in place, which indeed look a tad small for such a huge car. But that has its own benefits when taking the beaten path. So brownie points for it then! Move to the rear, and you will again find the spindle design around the taillight cluster. The taillights again get the family L-shaped LED detailing on them. The tailgate has a 2-part mechanism for easy loading. Weirdly enough, the tailgate can be closed electrically, but has to be opened manually only. Also, it is necessary to bring to notice that this is a 5-seater version of the LX, and the company will bring in a 7-seat version next year, that will probably be powered by a V8 petrol motor. As a result, this version gets a cavernous boot that can be extended by folding down the middle row manually.
Open the driver’s side door and there is no way you can get in without hauling yourself up with the help of the A-pillar mounted door handle. Once you get in here, you notice that you sit at least one level higher than most other full size luxury SUVs, and by that we mean the Mercedes-Benz GLS and the Volvo XC90. The cabin too is so wide that you have to stretch yourself quite a bit in case you need something from the glovebox. After settling in and absorbing much light from the huge glass area, you start noticing the dashboard and other day to day bits. The steering wheel for example, is similar to the one found in the RX 450h F-Sport and comes with paddle shifters on it. The instrument cluster is also huge, giving out loads of information in an old-school fashion. Old school we say, because there is a gauge that shows the engine temperature, engine oil temperature and even battery voltage. These features put us in the nostalgia mode for a bit and are something that we would love to see on a daily basis rather than some hi-res fully digital display.
The centre console is again filled with buttons. This time around there are dials and controls for the permanent 4-wheel drive system and of course, the infotainment system. Enter the rear seat and you wouldn’t find as much space as you expect due to its humongous exterior proportions. This SUV is based on a ladder frame chassis. This makes the vehicle tough, but compromises on interior space especially if compared to a similarly sized monocoque SUVs. Legroom isn’t bad though, and you can stretch out here too. Coupled with the low window line and the soft seat cushioning, this is a comfortable place to be in. There are two large 11.6-inch displays that are mounted on the back of the front seats. These can be controlled via a remote control that is housed on the rear centre armrest.
Other features on the Lexus LX 450d include the Lexus Climate Concierge. This system coordinates with the 4-zone climate control system and the seat ventilators to keep the occupant at their comfortable best, at a switch of a button. The rear of the front centre console also hides away connectivity options like Aux, HDMI port and even has the option to adjust the volume of the rear screens individually. Ambient lighting on the insides helps liven up the interior at night, while there is also the option of wireless charging for your smartphone on the front centre console. Not to forget, the 19-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system that sounds brilliant.
The Lexus LX 450d is powered by a 4.5-litre V8 diesel engine that churns out 262 HP of max power and 650 Nm of max torque. This beast of an engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox which permanently transfers power to all the 4 wheels. First impressions of this engine aren’t the best though. If you happen to stand next to the SUV with the engine turned on, you will realise that it has a very gruff note. This is exactly not what you expect from a Rs. 2.3+ crore car right?! But get inside the cabin and thanks to great cabin insulation, this engine feels creamy smooth even at higher revs. Power delivery isn’t linear and the 6-speed gearbox is slow in shifting gears. Press on the accelerator and it is only after a couple of moments that the engine starts pulling strongly; there is a rather dead zone before that, which is created by the rather slow shifting gearbox.
The Lexus LX 450d is based on Land Cruiser and carries with it its off-road prowess too. We didn’t really get to experience its ultimate potential, but by the looks of it, this Japanese beast can capably handle most of the off-road situations with ease. It gets loads of dedicated off-road features like Multi Terrain Select (with 4 modes – Mud & Sand, Loose Rock, Mogul, Rock & Dirt or Rock), 5-speed Crawl Control (that adjusts torque and brake on each wheel for maximum traction), Turn Assist, Variable Flow Control that lightens up the steering during tight turning manoeuvres, 360-degree camera and Active Height Control that automatically adjusts the vehicles height under different conditions. The ride on the road though felt stable but give it a pothole and it does tend to feel a bit jiggly due to its old school underpinnings. The hydraulic steering system feels heavy, and the brakes have the perfect stopping power with 18-inch discs upfront and 17-inch discs at the rear.
The Lexus LX 450d is available with 7 exterior colour options, 2 upholstery options and a single trim. The SUV of course, can be further customized too, in more than a 100 different ways. Safety features on the car include 10 airbags, ABS, stability control, hill assist control, engine oil monitor, heads up display and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
The Lexus LX 450d has a wide appeal, because of its size and not because of it too. For some the dimensions of this vehicle and the King-like drive feel are enough to seal the deal. But for others who see other parameters like luxury and practicality, won’t be disappointed too. At Rs.2.32 crore ex-showroom Delhi, this is a no-compromise, urban yet old-school SUV meant for the people who have king sized wallets.