Engine: 3.4-liter twin-turbo V-6
Transmission: 10-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Torque: 479 lb.-ft.
EPA ratings: 17/city, 22/highway, 19/combined
Base price: $103,525
As tested: $110,360
Overview: Big, bold and brawny are words that describe the 2023 Lexus LX 600 F Sport three-row SUV. It’s a little old fashioned with its body-on-frame construction, but that’s also what makes it so rugged. This highly capable off-road platform is shared with the Toyota Tundra pickup and the Sequoia SUV. The Lexus LX 600 is the luxury version of those vehicles.
Walkaround: We must have missed the memo when auto manufacturers agreed to make front-end styling for SUVs and pickup trucks as imposing as possible. Maybe in these days of overcrowded freeways and aggressive drivers, such large grilles let lesser cars know that someone important wants you to move over. The LX 600 has smallish, nonretractable running boards and a standard size sunroof. The 22-inch wheels are noteworthy, but not ideal for actual off-roading. All-season or winter tires would make the LX 600 a plush way to get to and through wintertime mountains passes.
Interior: Front-row space, comfort and amenities are excellent, but space diminishes the farther back you go. Second-row captain’s chairs are comfortable; knee room suffers with the front seats all back, although recessed front seatbacks help. Third-row accommodations are for children or adults you dislike. The front-row center console doubles as a cooler, which is great on long trips. Our tester had the impressive Mark Levinson 25-speaker surround sound audio option ($2,660 extra), which provided auditory excellence beyond one in an audiophile’s home. Cargo space behind the third row could be better, but the floor is flat with no liftover. Third-row seats are power foldable.
Behind the wheel: The Lexus LX 600 is a highly competent SUV and probably much more athletic than most owners will ever need. Its Toyota Land Cruiser DNA and multiple drive modes mean that it can go almost anywhere it can fit. Lexus calls the bodywork “aerodynamically enhanced,” but mountain trails with tight trees and ragged rocks don’t care — so those styling enhancements are more for impressing fellow commuters. The smooth, powerful engine and seamless transmission are what matters for city and freeway driving.
Bottom line: Attraction is subjective. We like the essence, comfort, performance and functionality of the 2023 Lexus LX 600 F Sport. But its styling left us walking away when parked — as compared to repeatedly looking back as would happen with the stunning Lexus LC 500 Coupe. That may be petty and personal, but at six-figures, we expect an emotional connection. The Lexus LX 600 is a statement SUV — but we’d like more visual excitement.