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Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past


During its long life on the assembly line, the Lexus LX has acquired many myths. It looks like this test drive will be largely devoted to debunking them. For example. After all, are you sure that this Lexus is comfortable on any roads? But no, it’s not. Are you also sure that it doesn’t slow down at all? And here you are wrong! Perhaps you have heard that it is more economical than the gasoline 570? Again, not there. Finally, is this mastodon, in your opinion, terrible to drive? You can’t agree with this either!

The game of question and answer could be continued further, but it is still better to start citing facts verified by a long test drive under our – rather sharp – statements. Some of which will surprise even the owners of such as we have on the test, Lexus. But before that, a little history.

Too lazy to read? Watch the video test of the Lexus LX 450d SUV :


After the Second World War, the Japanese auto industry, which rose from nuclear ashes, showed Kuz’kin’s mother to literally the whole world. His greatest creation, of course, was the Land Cruiser. The phenomenally passable and incredibly reliable “tractor" turned out to be necessary for absolutely everyone: from the American military to Canadian lumberjacks. It was also bought by ordinary Americans, whom the reliability of Japanese cars made them quickly forget all grievances for Pearl Harbor.

But success in the low-end Toyota class was not enough, and in the late 1980s in the United States they took on the fast-growing premium segment, creating the Lexus sub-brand. In 1992, Lexus becomes the most popular import brand in the US, ahead of BMW and Mercedes. At the same time, the brand annually leads the reliability ratings. As a result, by the mid-1990s, local automakers were predictably howling, and the government was talking about 100 percent duties on the damned Japanese luxury. But the list of cars for which additional taxation began to apply included only passenger models – the luxury SUV class then simply did not exist.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

Representatives of the Japanese brand panicked and hysterically grabbed the last straw. As a result, the first LX became perhaps the most quickly created Japanese car. Engineers grabbed what was at hand – Land Cruiser 80, which at that moment already had three wheels in the past. They slapped a new L-shaped grille on it, loosened the suspension slightly, added noise insulation, and sent it to the USA in 1995, calling it the "LX 450" in honor of the 4.5-liter 1FZ engine that was under the hood of the Land Cruiser 80.

They also added $7,000 to the $40,000 they were asking for a regular Land Cruiser. And it was a success! Lexus immediately overtook Range Rover to become the best-selling luxury SUV in the US. The not very fresh, not very large and not very powerful Land Cruiser 80 with two axles, wrapped in leather, turned out to be head and shoulders more comfortable, and most importantly, more reliable than all local competitors, which, in terms of driving characteristics, were more reminiscent of trucks. At first, Toyota could not even cope with demand, and the LX had to wait 2 months – an inconvenience unprecedented at that time.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

By the way, duties in America were not introduced then, but Japanese marketers were not going to refuse LX. And in a calm atmosphere for several years, they created a new generation based on the Toyota Land Cruiser 100 introduced in 1997. At that time, the LX 470 was a car from the future. After all, the front axle was replaced by an independent suspension, and interwheel locks became electronic. The hydraulics changed the clearance and adapted to the driving conditions, the steering sharpness was also variable. And a picture from an infrared night camera was projected onto the windshield – for the first time in a production car. Under the hood was the now legendary "millionaire" 2UZ. In addition, it was already a little more difficult to confuse this SUV with Toyota.

But the emergence of the first generations of the Escalade and Navigator in the late 1990s prevented Lexus from becoming an absolute monopolist in this class. Yes, they were not as comfortable and technologically advanced, but, apparently, they aroused patriotism in Americans. Nevertheless, the 470 version became the most successful generation of LX in the US market and expanded to other markets, including ours.

Only nine years later – in 2007 – it was removed from the assembly line. Then the third, current generation based on the Toyota Land Cruiser 200 was introduced. Bigger, heavier, more powerful, softer and more luxurious, with an atmospheric UR 5.7 under the hood and a free Torsen differential between the axles, but with the same frame structure and rear solid axle. And not at all because the consumer wanted it that way or the operating conditions demanded it. Because it was easier that way.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

In this generation, the LX 570 has become a truly global model. But in its – conditionally home – market in the United States, alas, it began to lose ground under pressure not only from new local competitors, but also from representatives of the German auto industry, who presented their GL and Q7.

In 2012, the first restyling only slightly refreshed the appearance and did not really affect sales in the United States, but in 2015 the car has already changed very seriously and for the first time received a diesel engine and a 450d index for certain markets. The 570 version got an eight-speed automatic transmission. The soundproofing of the engine compartment was improved and the brakes were increased. In this form, it has been sold with us for the fifth year already, just waiting for the change of generations.

Price and equipment

The base diesel LX comes with 18-inch wheels. And, frankly, he looks the most flawed with them. Although such a "base" – for 106 thousand dollars – is the best choice, all that remains is to buy normal disks.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

Our version of the Black Edition is 10 thousand more expensive. Too much, in fact, for 21-inch (albeit forged) wheels, styling and a Mark Levinson audio system! In addition, the “base” has rear seat ventilation and wireless charging, which are not in the Black version.

The petrol LX 570 costs too much – from 122 to 128 thousand rubles.


At the heart of the LX is still the old-school construction with a frame and a solid rear axle – the joy and pain of this car. The same goes for the very old V8. For them, the LX is loved and hated.

And today it is much more difficult for this Lexus to live in its niche than for the almost identical Land Cruiser 200 in its own. After all, the LX is less and less tasked with winning off-road, without which the question of the need for these outdated technologies becomes very relevant. At the same time, frameless competitors, updated every three years, go ahead in terms of everyday comfort and equipment.


Lexus fans are sure that with its electro-pneumatic-hydraulic suspension, the LX is the most comfortable car on the planet. But it is not so.

Small seams of the road, even paving stones, shagreen under temporarily removed asphalt or, for example, signal markings on the tracks of the LX dissolve without a trace somewhere far under the frame. Even on 21" wheels. It is with such suspension settings that it is customary to extinguish tiring seams on the endless concrete highways of the United States.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

But where are we, and where is the USA? Most of Kiev’s endlessly repaired roads are a realm of medium-scale bumps. Influxes, humps, large seams and subsidence – our 450d just doesn’t really like such an average amplitude. Huge unsprung masses go into battle: the rear axle, those very reliable steel levers and huge wheels, the jumps and vibration of which cannot be completely overcome by either frame dampers or hydraulic shock absorbers (which, however, also weigh a lot and also belong to unsprung masses).

Because of the really good soundproofing of the bottom of all this, you almost don’t hear it, but on battered urban asphalt you constantly feel a small but annoying vertical shaking and bouncing. And on larger bumps, the body begins to wobble.

You can reduce this wobble by holding the suspension in sport mode, but then there is even more shaking and vibration. At the same time, 18-inch wheels will practically not affect the driving experience, since the problem lies not so much in the stiffness of the tire, but in the weight of the wheel and in the hydraulic settings. And you also need to remember that in the second row of seats all this is twice as noticeable as in front, because of the bridge. That’s why reducing the weight of at least the wheels is of great importance for this SUV, and why on 21-inch alloy wheels with the same rubber profile, the 570 LX feels stiffer than the forged 450.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

Then why do many people love these cars so much, and why are they called super comfortable? The answer to this question can be found by testing the LX in action on bad roads. When the road ends, almost nothing changes inside the Lexus. And even more – a small annoying shaking disappears somewhere. And if a little bouncing suddenly starts to confuse you on large pits, then you just need to increase the speed.

The only weak link in such races, of course, are the relatively low-profile tires on the 21-inch rollers. That’s why I recommend putting 20-inch ones here, even for the city.

But after a week of driving on city roads, all these impressions are quickly forgotten, and you again notice how your back gets tired from shaking. Again, I want to transfer to some German crossover with air suspension.

So, alas, for driving on asphalt (even not very smooth), the LX is not the best option. However, most of those who drive such cars will definitely not understand me. The thing is that they are usually transplanted into the current LX either from previous generations of the same model, or from even less comfortable Prado or Pajero.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

X7, GLS, and even more so Range Rover, if you don’t overdo it with disks and don’t order all kinds of sports suspensions, ride in the city much more comfortably: pneumatic dampens vibrations better, and light aluminum independent suspension arms work out small bumps more quickly. But the main thing is that without a heavy frame, the car has a much lower center of gravity, so it simply wobbles less.

Because of this, frameless crossovers are more comfortable off-road. But it is more comfortable in these conditions for the driver, and not for the car. And this state of affairs will not last long. At best, regular expensive repairs of the entire chassis, which in any case will not save you from the subsequent deplorable state of the body.

Toyota, with its body separated from the road by the frame, thick steel levers and just an eternal bridge, with the worst bullying, only once every 100 thousand km will ask you for several thousand dollars to replace the hydraulics in a circle and all the rubber bands.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

Therefore, I admit that the LX and Land Cruiser are the best you can buy today for driving on very bad roads. But I refute the myth of uncompromising comfort in the city.


Yes, all the LXs that were produced from 1995 to 2015 were indeed very bad at braking. The only exception is the compressor version of the Supercharger for Kuwait. And after finalizing the brakes in the restyled versions of 2015, according to the owners, nothing has changed.

Let me remind you that we consider 40 m to be safe enough braking from 100 km / h, and our anti-record for today belongs to Isuzu D-Max – 49 m. Quite a passenger Highlander stopped at 44 m, Lexus RX – at 42 m, and the record still belongs to Audi S6 – only 36.5 m.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

We measured the LX braking dynamics several times, because the result we got from the first one exceeded all expectations – 37 m! But you also need to take into account that regular Dunlop tires are not the best. It turns out that the three-ton LX stops better than the Lexus RC coupe.

The thing is that in 2015, Japanese engineers changed a lot in the brakes. Mechanisms have become larger and much more efficient. But they still need to be changed. Why? The problem is that for all their effectiveness, these brakes are completely unbearable: they simply cannot withstand such efforts and loads, many pads fall out over 7 thousand km, discs deform, hoses swell under pressure, and sometimes even burst, four-piston calipers come out out of order (often they just wedge).

That is, if you drive slowly around the city, then your native brakes will be enough for your eyes. In this context, engineers should pay tribute: the pedal is pleasant, the deceleration is smooth, and even if you suddenly encounter an emergency situation, it is enough to drown the pedal, and the car will simply bury its nose in the asphalt.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

But if you drive faster than the speed indicated on the signs, if you chip the engine, if you often ride on the highway, or if you use this car (or the same Land Cruiser) as an escort car on the tail of some S-Class, improving the brakes for this car is must-have.

Light inside and out

It is noticeable that on the outside, the LX is trying to keep up with modern Germans. There are already enough diodes in the turn signals so that it does not look like a New Year’s garland, as in the RX, the illumination of the thresholds is with smooth dimming, there are projectors in the mirrors with the logo. Seeing all this, you begin to worry that something is not right here. “Everything is too stylish, but is it definitely a Japanese car? ..”

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

But when you open the door, you exhale: "It’s okay, Japanese, for sure." Because another backlight from the projections turns on, but with a different brightness and a different temperature. Inside, the light is very simple, one might say, it does not exist at all. Although I understand those who will be happy about it. After all, the "disco" in German cars can really strain.

Top matrix BladeScan headlights, which are now only in the RX and LS, our SUV will receive, alas, in the next generation. Now we need to be content with the transitional option. Six separate diodes in each headlight supposedly also have to cut something there, but I failed to notice this. In addition, the automatic high beam sometimes turns on at random, and you immediately get a “response” from an oncoming truck. But the headlights shine more or less brightly, and this is already good for a virtually American car.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

By the way, more advanced optics is one of the few significant advantages of Lexus over Toyota. But, alas, it clearly falls short of the top-end matrix or, even more so, laser optics of German competitors – neither in terms of functions, nor in terms of brightness.

There is no luggage compartment lighting at all. Yes, somehow the ceiling shines, designed immediately for the third row of seats (which we do not have), and for the trunk. But it is small and dim, so it does not affect the situation in any way.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

On the one hand, there is the largest trunk in the class, if you do not order the third row. In addition, not just the backs of the seats fold up – it folds, adjoining the front seats, the entire chair as a whole. On the other hand, it is simply impossible to use this trunk on a daily basis. There are no nets, no hooks, no organizers, and there are no railings with dividers either. Everything needs to be cut by yourself.

The lower flap of the lid will not allow you to reach the opposite wall of the trunk, and what slows down this Lexus better than it accelerates, then all loose things will be neatly folded there. Because of this, it is really more convenient to get things out of the trunk from the second row by folding the seats.

There is no simple curtain covering the contents of the trunk (although Toyota has one). Branded rubber mat looks wretched. There is a lot of dust in the niche for the jack (it is drawn in from somewhere outside), which means that it will soon be in the cabin. And the power trunk lid breaks all records for closing time. Where is luxury, Lexus?


Interior designers tried their best to make the interior not like a Land Cruiser, more expensive than a Land Cruiser, more premium … In a word, so that no one would ever compare these cars. Happened?

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

No. After all, they still had to work within the framework of a finished body, a finished architecture, and even a ready-made set of many components. As a result, there are quite high-quality materials and there is a certain feeling of high cost, but your feelings are still primarily responsible for the high vertical landing, low window sill line and, of course, the layout of the cabin, which will not let you forget that you are sitting in the first place in SUV.

Yes, this car inspires confidence, certainly inspires the respect of others, evokes a feeling of absolute dominance on the road, but at the same time it imposes its own indelible restrictions on the comfort that we, “spoiled” by German luxury, expect from a new car with such a price.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

By the way, unlike most other frames, the height of the cabin is sufficient. If there is no hatch in the configuration that eats up additional centimeters, then even if you are under 2 m tall, there will be no problems with landing.

This is despite the fact that the front seat is raised high enough and collapses well. In addition, an extendable cushion and a large range of steering wheel height adjustment come to the rescue when landing.

The problem lies elsewhere (remember the story). This body was not designed for the luxury class, but primarily for large expeditionary SUVs. First, three people were supposed to fit in front. Secondly, to control the situation, the driver should sit as close to the window as possible. Therefore, the steering column here is strongly displaced towards the door. And this parameter is so fundamental in the layout of the car that it just cannot be changed. And no one was going to do it, apparently.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

It’s a strange feeling, because you’re sitting backed into a corner in a huge, full of space car. For the driver’s left elbow, even in the KIA Sportage there is more room than here. That’s why, with wide seats and a huge central armrest, you still feel a little limited here.

The ergonomics of the button layout is a separate issue. Imagine that you have a ready-made salon in which you need to add more and more new features for 20 years. After a while, all the "adequate" places are already taken! … Therefore, it is not surprising that the camera buttons, for example, are hidden behind the wheel here, so they need to be pressed "blindly". But what I’m not used to is the slippery wooden insert on the steering wheel and the lumbar support, which presses almost under the shoulder blades … I won’t say anything about the miserable multimedia system – everything has already been said before. Well, at least with the help of some unofficial manipulations, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can already be installed here. Then the use of navigation maps will cease to be a mockery of oneself.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

The climate system works great. There is ionization, an air humidifier and the “Concierge” function, which, in addition to the above, also controls ventilation and seat heating. But the Mark Levinson audio system – as for this salon – is rather weak. And I would not draw such conclusions if I had not heard how the audio systems of the same manufacturer sound on LC or ES models. To make the system sound really good, you need to at least make acoustic preparation of the doors. Because they are completely empty. Because of this, they are light, which directly affects the “quality” of sound when they are closed. That is why, and also because the Land Cruiser and LX lend themselves very well to additional sound insulation, owners often modify them immediately after leaving the cabin.

Second row

The rear sofa is a pain for both the LX and the Land Cruiser 200. Between themselves, their sofas differ only in that in the LX the “climate” control is located in the armrest, and in Toyota it is on the tunnel. And Lexus also has premium options: curtains, heating, ventilation. And a longitudinal electric drive, which is not needed at all in a five-seater car.

The sofa itself is terrible. The chairs are low, so the knees of the riders are very high (and this applies to people of any height). The insufficient angle of the seat blockage does not allow you to sit waddling – you constantly move out. At the same time, there is enough headroom here, so if desired, a normal sofa could also be installed.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

The armrest is located too low, so you can’t lean on it in any way. When the back is tilted (and it has a very good range), a step is created exactly in the lumbar region. And it certainly does not help to relax. For rear passengers, there is no USB charging – there is only a 12-volt outlet.

Manageability in the city

If you switch to LX after any other urban crossover, it really seems slow, rolling and clumsy. And you believe in it so strongly that you are afraid to test its limits, try to go smoother, slower into turns, slow down in advance and not overdo it with speed.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

And in this “adaptation” period, you are afraid of him and do not understand, but he annoys you and infuriates you with his dampness. This period is very long. But a few weeks later everything changes. Or rather, you change and completely lose the habit of making sudden movements, slow down before turns, slow down in advance and smoothly, and, most importantly, all this ceases to excite you.

All! The first stage is completed – the stage of "running in". But no, you didn’t break in the car, but he did you. You broke and gave up, renounced the past. But at the same moment you notice that you have already ceased to be afraid of him. The second stage begins – revenge. Relationships seem to start from scratch. Once you get used to the weight and size, the steering and pedal responses, you start to allow yourself more to explore the limits of what the LX can do. And only now you realize that these borders are not as close as you thought. As everyone thinks.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

In sport mode, the hydraulics really cut roll very noticeably. Rulish a little sharper – and the disaster does not occur. The grip is still sufficient, and even the ESP is silent. Pleasant, of course, is not enough, but the phobia to roll over gradually dissolves.

A separate issue is the steering wheel. Toyota went down the path that is not the most popular in this class. To make the huge frame more stable and manageable, the steering wheel is a wholehearted steering wheel.

It fulfilled its task – it is now more difficult to make a mistake in a turn or, being distracted, get off the trajectory. Yes, and the feeling of control over the car is really more than in the Land Cruiser 100 or in the same Escalade.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

But at the same time, the steering wheel here is the main source of discomfort. In the parking lot, twisting it with one hand simply will not work. At low speed, the gear ratio changes, supposedly to make it more convenient, but with increasing sharpness it does not become easier. On the track, in order to level out the driver’s mistakes, the reaction softens on the contrary, but there is no zero here, and you still need to constantly taxi up. After a couple of hours, the brushes start to get tired.


In dry terms, the dynamics of the test Lexus LX 450d are frustrating. The promised result of 8.5 s to the first 100 km/h could not be repeated: the best result of our measurements (from two pedals) was 9.5 s. And the declared 210 km / h Lexus is also not gaining: acceleration stops at a speed of about 190 km / h. Although it is quite possible that the reason for such indicators is the low quality of diesel fuel.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

But it feels like this SUV doesn’t need to go faster: because of the high center of gravity and soft suspension, it already seems like a cannonball, easily crouching when accelerating to the rear axle. On the track, of course, overtaking is a little more boring, but you can: there are enough dynamics.


Under the hood there is a 4.5-liter 1VD FTV 4.5 diesel engine with two turbines, producing 272 hp. with. and 650 Nm. Exactly the same engine is installed on the Toyota Land Cruiser, only there it produces 249 forces (an echo of taxation recently).

Cast iron non-sleeved block, intercooler, EGR, particulate filter, hydraulic lifters – the engine is very interesting, it is in fact the first diesel V8 from Toyota. It was first installed in 2007 on the Land Cruiser 70 for Australia. Then he gave out 205 forces and was equipped with one turbine. A version with two turbines in the same year was presented at the then debuted 200-ke.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

In 2015, it changed the nozzles to piezoelectric ones and added a particulate filter. At the same time, it was first installed on the Lexus LX. At the same time, his image was shaken. Although, of course, everything is relative. Because in comparison with modern German turbodiesels, it is very reliable. But in comparison with other Toyota engines …

If you do not take into account all sorts of small and rare "sores", most of which Japanese engineers corrected over time, then the motor has only three global problems.

The first is the failure of the left turbine. Most often due to the fact that the dirt from the fuel and EGR breaks the impeller. Usually everything is done by replacing the turbine cartridge. The procedure is tolerable.

The second – perhaps the loudest – apparently defective batch of piezo injectors from Denso. They cracked and corny filled the engine with fuel. Few people were lucky to identify the problem in time, so the motor failed completely. This problem manifested itself in the first thousand, respectively, either the nozzles or the entire engine were changed under warranty (how lucky). lately there have indeed been courts and people have been returning cars to dealers. We requested statistics from Toyota Ukraine, and they confirmed that we really had six such cases (less than 0.5%). As of today, the issue is considered resolved. It does not occur in new cars, but in old ones, if it has not yet made itself felt, then it should not.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

The third – global – is the increased wear of the cylinder-piston group. Soot appears under the compression rings, the rings expand and break the cylinders. And bullies. Yes, Toyota has bullies too.

It is desirable to change the oil and filter on these engines every 7 thousand km, despite the fact that the scheduled mileage between two maintenance is 15 thousand. As elsewhere, the EGR is clogged here. Its condition must be monitored, if necessary, cleaned. And this motor is not very desirable to keep at high speeds for a long time. And there is a problem with this: in tandem with diesel engines, both the LX and the Land Cruiser 200 have a six-speed automatic transmission, and at high speed these gears, in fact, are not enough.

While on the 570, the gearbox has eight gears, which is why at high speed on the highway, the LX 570 is even more economical than the diesel version. Our measurements at a speed of 150-160 km / h showed 17 l / 100 km, at a speed of 110 km / h – 12 l / 100 km. On the other hand, in the city, the average indicator during the test was 14 liters per “hundred” (in economy mode, you can invest in 12 liters). At the same time, the LX 570 in the city easily consumes more than 20 l / 100 km.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

By the way, the confident speed on the LX on the highway is up to 160 km / h: thanks to the very heavy steering wheel, long base and heavy weight, the car confidently holds the trajectory. You can still change lanes, and it’s still quiet in the cabin at these speeds.


The Lexus LX is a very difficult off-road vehicle to evaluate unambiguously. How cool he is in some areas, just as flawed in others. But no matter how hard this Lexus tries to become a versatile and modern car, it does not really succeed.

Lexus LX 450d: not yet out of the past

And those who are faced with a choice will have to answer the main question for themselves: “Are its unique capabilities so in demand for me that I put up with its shortcomings?”

But no matter how old-fashioned the Lexus LX may be, it is not yet the time to write it off completely anyway. At least not in our latitudes.


Post source: wekauto.ru

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