Lexus LX
Lexus LX570 -- 07-30-2009.jpg
Manufacturer Lexus
Parent company Toyota Motor Corporation
Production 1996–present
Assembly Tahara, Aichi, Japan
Class Mid-size SUV (LX 450)
Full-size SUV (LX 470/570)
Body style(s) 4-door SUV
Layout Front engine / full-time 4WD
Related Toyota Land Cruiser

The Lexus LX is a full-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) sold by Lexus since 1996. Three generations of the Lexus LX have been produced, all based heavily on Toyota's long-running Land Cruiser series of SUVs. The first generation LX 450 debuted in 1996 as Lexus' first entry into the SUV market. Its successor, the LX 470, premiered in 1998 and was produced through 2006. The latest third generation Lexus LX 570 debuted at the New York International Auto Show in April 2007 as a complete redesign for the 2008 model year.

The latest two generations of the Lexus LX have featured a V8 engine powertrain, a welded steel unibody shell combined with a full-size steel ladder frame (body on frame construction), and the capacity to seat eight passengers (LX 470 and LX 570). The first generation LX 450, classified as a mid-size SUV, featured an inline-6 engine and capacity for seven passengers. The second generation LX 470 shared exterior styling with the Toyota Land Cruiser Cygnus, sold in Japan. The LX ranks as Lexus' largest and most expensive luxury utility vehicle, sized above the GX and RX series of SUVs. It was Lexus' most expensive offering until the LS 600h.

First generation (FZJ80)[edit | edit source]

First generation
Lexus-LX-450 01.jpg
Also called Lexus LX 450
Toyota Land Cruiser Cygnus
Production 1996–1998
Engine(s) 4.5 L 1FZ-FE I6, 212 hp (158 kW) SAE & 275  ft·lbf @ 3,200 rpm
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic (A343F)
Wheelbase 112.2 in (2850 mm)
Length 189.8 in (4821 mm)
Width 76.0 in (1930 mm)
Height 73.6 in (1869 mm)

1996–1998[edit | edit source]

The LX 450 was released to the U.S. in early 1996 as a 1996 model; Canada received the LX from 1997. The LX 450 was Lexus's first entry into the SUV market and was almost entirely based on the sixth generation 80 series Toyota Land Cruiser. Differences between the LX 450 and the Land Cruiser lay in a restyled, more luxurious interior and softer suspension settings.[1] The LX 450 was powered by a 4.5 liter, twin-cam, four-valve inline-6 engine which produced 212 horsepower (158 kW) and 275 ft·lbf (373 N·m) of torque. Both front and rear axles were solid. Externally, the LX 450 was largely identical to the 80 series Land Cruiser, with the exception of the grille, side body cladding, and wheels.[1] Side running boards allowed step-up access into the vehicle's cabin.[1] The vehicle was also fitted with additional sound-absorbing insulation.[1]

1996–1997 LX 450 (FZJ180)

Onboard amenities included leather seats and seating capacity for up to seven passengers in three rows of seating.[1] The third row seat seat was accessed by tilting the second row bench seat forward. The third row itself could be folded to the side for more cargo area, and the second row seat could fold down for further space.[1] The vehicle also came pre-wired for the Lexus remote telephone system, and was equipped with a remote entry key system.[1] The three available options consisted of a console-mounted 6-disc CD changer, electronic front and rear locking differentials, and a power moonroof.[1] At the time of its 1996 debut, the LX 450 was listed in the U.S. with a manufacturer's suggested base price of $47,995.[1] This was approximately a $7,000 price premium over the Land Cruiser, which had a base price of $40,678 for 1996.[1]

1997 Lexus LX 450 (FZJ80; US)

Targeted against luxury SUV competitors such as Land Rover/Range Rover, the LX 450 sold over 5,000 units in 1996 and over 9,000 units in 1997. At its launch, the LX 450 sold out its initial production allocation, resulting in a two-month wait list; surpassing initial expectations which had called for 4,000 units sold that year.[1] The LX 450 was brought to market as U.S. buyers showed greater interest in large SUVs; these vehicles had grown popular because of their high driver's vantage point and truck-like characteristics.[1] Lexus customer research also revealed that one in six owners were purchasing large SUVs to add to their garages.[1] An additional factor was the U.S.-Japan trade war of the mid-1990s. At the time, the U.S. government threatened to place 100% tariffs on all Japanese luxury import cars, but not including SUVs. The LX 450 was produced as a rebadged model (in contrast with other Lexus efforts which were independently or divergently developed from Toyota vehicles), giving Lexus a model that was exempt from the tax.[2] Ultimately however, a gentlemen's agreement was reached and the threatened tariffs did not materialize.

1996–1997 LX 450 forward cabin (FZJ80)

The LX 450 replaced the Toyota Land Cruiser in the Canadian market starting after 1996, reducing internal competition (big expensive SUVs have traditionally faced a difficult market in Canada) and avoiding the issue of selling a rebadged model (except for GM, Ford and Chrysler, rebadged models in Canada have not met with success). For a 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) vehicle, the LX 450 was regarded by some critics as underpowered,[3] leading to the shortening of its model cycle (despite sales increases) and replacement with a V8-powered successor.

The LX 450 was the top-ranked full-size sport utility vehicle in J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Survey, with the lowest number of problems experienced by new owners during the first three months of ownership.

Second generation (UZJ100)[edit | edit source]

Second generation
Lexus LX 470 Cashmere Beige Metallic.jpg
Also called Lexus LX 470
Toyota Land Cruiser Cygnus
Production 1998–2007
Predecessor LX 450
Engine(s) 4.7L 2UZ-FE V8, 268 hp SAE & 328  ft·lbf @ 3,400 rpm
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic (A343F)
5-speed automatic (A750F)
Wheelbase 112.2 in (2850 mm)
Length 192.5 in (4890 mm)
Width 76.4 in (1941 mm)
Height 72.8 in (1849 mm)

1998–2002[edit | edit source]

The second generation LX 470 debuted in 1998. The second generation model shared the same floor plan and most body panels with the Toyota Land Cruiser (100 series), and differed in its front appearance and a more luxurious interior. Exterior design differences included a quad-headlamp forward fascia with larger grille, and different wheels. The LX 470 was powered by a LEV-certified 4.7-liter V8 engine, which was later upgraded to produce 268 horsepower (initially 230, then 235) and 328 ft·lbf (445 N·m) of torque. The LX 470 was rated to tow 6500 lbs.

Lexus LX 470 (UZJ100; GCC)

The front gained an independent suspension arrangement and the optional electronic locking front and rear differentials were dropped. Suspension features included Adjustable Height Control (AHC) and Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS). The AHC hydraulic suspension could raise the vehicle for off-roading, but return to a normal driving height reducing the center of gravity and wind resistance. The lowest setting for when the vehicle was stopped allowed for easier entry, exit and loading. AVS alters shock absorber firmness in under 2.5 milliseconds at each wheel individually selecting from a range of 64 settings depending on road conditions and driver input such as steering-wheel activity, braking and acceleration. The AVS system used a switch for the driver's preferences including "normal", "comfort" and "sport" modes.

Lexus LX 470 (UZJ100R; Australia)

A DVD-based navigation system, Nakamichi stereo with in-dash six-disc CD changer, electrochromic side mirrors, and a smog sensor for the HVAC system were offered.[4] Standard and optional features differed over the model years. The Lexus LX was named by J.D. Power and Associates as the best luxury SUV in initial quality in 2000, 2002, and 2004.[5][6] Kelley Blue Book gave the LX its Best to Hold Value Award in 1998, 1999, and 2000.[7] In 2005, J.D. Power named the LX 470 the most reliable luxury SUV over a three year period in its Vehicle Dependability Study.[8] In a 2000 comparison with four other premium SUVs, the LX 470 took first place.[9] In another comparison test in 2003, the LX 470 placed second behind the Cadillac Escalade. However its Mark Levinson audio system and navigation system were the highest rated in their respective categories.[10] For 2000 models, Vehicle Stability Control and brake assist were made standard.

2002–2007[edit | edit source]

The optional Night View feature, an infrared camera safety system, was offered as an option in 2002. This was the world's first active automotive night vision system and projected information on the windshield using a head-up display; the driver could vary brightness using a dimmer knob. Additionally, the 2003 LX 470 came equipped with a Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) system. The previous steering system's ratio was fixed at 19.8-to-1. The revised model could vary steering ratios from 12.4-to-1 to 18.0-to-1 depending on driving conditions, allowing the driver to apply less steering input to maneuver in tight places such as parking lots. However, by changing the steering's ratio on the highway, minor adjustments made by the driver would not create excessive vehicular movement.

1998–2002 LX 470 (UZJ100R) front interior

During 2002 for the 2003 model year, Lexus made minor tweaks to the interior and exterior which included larger standard 18" wheels, replaced the previous 4-speed automatic with a 5-speed automatic, and bumped power up from 230 hp to 235 hp. This updated engine now met CARB ULEV-II emission standards. For safety Lexus added front row side torso airbags and side curtain airbags, electronic brakeforce distribution and rain-sensing windshield wipers as standard equipment. An 11-speaker Mark Levinson premium sound system and a DVD Rear-Seat Entertainment System (RSES) were made optional. Other major new features included Lexus Link, an emergency service similar to GM's Onstar, in North America.

In 2003 for the 2004 model year, Bluetooth became optional, and a backup camera came with the navigation system. In 2005 for the 2006 model year, another refresher took place including the addition of LED tail lamps to replace the previous units. Lexus also added VVT-i to the engine and further increased its power to 275 hp. During 2006, for the final model year, 2007, Lexus produced 400 "Limited Edition" LX 470s with Black Onyx paint, stone leather interior, and specialized badging and scuff plates.

Third generation (URJ200)[edit | edit source]

Third generation
LX 570 Mercury Metallic.jpg
Also called Lexus LX 570
Toyota Land Cruiser
Production 2007–present
Predecessor LX 470
Engine(s) 5.7L 3UR-FE V8, 383 hp SAE & 403  ft·lbf @ 2,200 rpm
Transmission(s) 6-speed automatic (AB60F)
Wheelbase 112.2 in (2850 mm)
Length 196.5 in (4991 mm)
Width 77.6 in (1971 mm)
Height 75.6 in (1920 mm)
Curb weight 2,719. kg (5,994 lb)
Fuel capacity 24.6 US gal (93.1 L/20.5 imp gal)
Related Toyota Land Cruiser

2007–present[edit | edit source]

On April 4, 2007, Lexus debuted the 2008 LX 570 at the New York International Auto Show. The LX 570 was a complete redesign of the LX, and the first version of Lexus' largest SUV to premiere before its expected Land Cruiser counterpart. The LX 570 features a new ULEV-II certified 5.7 L 3UR-FE V8 engine.[11] Total engine output is rated at 383 horsepower (286 kW) and 403 ft·lbf (546 N·m) of torque. The more powerful engine helps give the LX an increased towing capacity of up to 8,500 pounds. The engine is tied to a six-speed sequential-shift automatic transmission with an all-new 4WD system which uses an electronic Torsen center differential.[12] Notably, the latest LX loses the plastic lower body side cladding leaving the paint exposed and Night View is discontinued.

Lexus LX 570 (URJ200; Europe)

Compared to its predecessor, the LX 570 is 4 inches (102 mm) longer overall and 1 inch (25 mm) wider, while retaining the same wheelbase length. A third of the frame's body mass is made from high-tensile steel, along with the entire B-pillar, and all three crossmembers which are made from hydroformed steel. Like the Toyota Tundra the tow hitch is integrated into the frame.

The front suspension now uses double wishbones replacing the previous torsion beam which offers 9 inches (230 mm) of suspension travel while the rear continues to use a multi-link suspension with a solid rear axle for strength and durability. The LX 570 comes standard with 20 in (510 mm)-wheels, a four-wheel electro-hydraulic suspension with an updated six-setting Active Height Control (AHC) system that can raise the vehicle by three inches or lower it by 2 inches (51 mm) from its normal ride height using a knob located in the center console. The front suspension's air bag spring rates are also variable but not continuously like a fully active suspension arrangement.

Lexus LX 570 (URJ200; Europe)

The Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) provides more immediate damper firmness adjustments which are diagonally cross-linked linked through a mechanical system using hydraulic fluid similar to the 4Runner's X-REAS system. Other performance features include a Crawl Control (more advanced version of Downhill Assist Control) system which will negotiate off-road obstacles in both forward and reverse at low speeds by automatically providing throttle and braking inputs for less experienced off-road drivers, an interior lever allows the driver to reduce speed as the vehicle travels. A multi-terrain anti-lock braking system allows for shorter stopping distances on surfaces such as sand or gravel. Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards on hills or slippery surfaces.[12] According to its manufacturer, the LX platform has logged 240,000 test kilometers through subtropical forests, the Australian Outback, and various American deserts.

The LX 570's interior design includes a number of the amenities, standard and optional, featured in the 2007 LS 460, such as semi-aniline leather seats, four-zone climate control, a 19-speaker 450 Watt Mark Levinson surround sound stereo system with hard drive memory storage, a hard-drive based navigation system, XM satellite radio with NavTraffic is standard, a two-piece power liftgate/tailgate and Lexus Intuitive Park Assist, a sonar parking assist feature. Other features include Bubinga wood trim (a form of African rosewood also used in private aircraft and high-quality instruments), a center console cooler for storage of cold drinks, power sliding rear seats, power third row seats, and a 9-inch (230 mm) DVD rear-seat entertainment system.[12] A new Wide-view Front and Side Monitor system uses a camera mounted on the grill giving a 180 degree view in front and another camera mounted on the passenger side of the vehicle's side mirror helps eliminate blind spots on the side at low speeds useful in parking lots or off-road adventures.

Lexus LX 570 (URJ200) forward interior

The LX 570 also features the updated Lexus fifth generation hard drive based navigation system with an 8 inch high-resolution VGA display. Lexus' keyless SmartAccess with an ultra-thin "smart card" key is standard along with 10 airbags including knee airbags for driver and front passenger as well as second row side torso airbags, the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) is standard, while the Pre-Collision System (PCS), and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control systems are available options.[12] Active front headrests are featured, debuting this Lexus safety feature for the first time on an SUV in the U.S.

The new LX will not be sold or offered to the Japanese market, but is available in Russia, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Middle East, and North America by Lexus, and in these regions Toyota also sells the related Land Cruiser. The LX is not available in the rest of the world or in Europe, where the Toyota LandCruiser 200 is sold. Its major competitors are the Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX56, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, and Audi Q7. In 2009, the LX 570 received J.D. Power's top score among all vehicles in its Initial Quality Study.[13]

Sales[edit | edit source]

Sales data for the Lexus LX are as follows, sourced from manufacturer yearly data.

Generation Model(s) Calendar year Total sales (U.S.)
LX 470 2000 14,732[14]
2001 9,320[14]
2002 9,231[15]
2003 9,193[15]
2004 9,846[16]
2005 8,555[16]
2006 5,595[17]
2007 2,468[17]
URJ200 LX 570 2008 7,915[18]
2009 3,616[19]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Krebs, Michelle (1996-02-04). "Hitting the Trail in Soft Leather", The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-31. 
  2. Dawson, Chester. Lexus: The Relentless Pursuit, p. 161. 2004: Jon Wiley & Sons, NJ.
  3. "LX 450 profile". (2008-02-29). Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  4. "Full Test: 1999 Lexus LX470 All Hail the King!". (1999-01-01). Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  5. "J.D. Power and Associates 2002 Initial Quality Study". Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  6. "J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Initial Quality Study". Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  7. "Kelley Blue Book-Models to Best Hold Its Value". CARFAX. Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  8. "Lexus Ranks Highest in Vehicle Dependability for the 11th Consecutive Year". Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  9. "Inside Line: News, Road Tests, Auto Shows, Car Photos and Videos". (2009-01-22). Retrieved on 2010-04-14.
  10. "2003 Large Luxury SUV Comparison Test". (2003-04-02). Retrieved on 2010-04-14.
  11. "Inside The Most Powerful Toyota Engine Ever - Consumer Feature". Truck Trend. Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 LX 570 press release[dead link]
  13. "2009 Initial Quality Study (IQS) - Import Nameplates Capture 15 of 22 Segment Awards". J.D. Power and Associates (2009-06-22). Retrieved on 2009-07-06.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Lexus sales figures 2000-2001". (2010-09-13). Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Lexus sales figures 2002-2003". (2010-09-13). Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Lexus sales figures 2004-2005". Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Lexus sales figures 2006-2007". Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  18. "Lexus sales figures 2008". Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  19. "Lexus sales figures 2009". Retrieved on 2010-10-30.

External links[edit | edit source]

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