2023 Lexus LX 600 Ultra Luxury review: Ultra Expensive
At $130,995, it's astronomically expensive and has only four seats. What's the point?
2023 Lexus LX 600 Ultra Luxury review with The Road Beat
Words and pictures by Mitchell Weitzman
Make no mistake about it, the Lexus LX 600 in Ultra Luxury trim is an exquisitely furnished and luxurious SUV. Using some of the finest materials inside, it's like rolling around in a mobile Bel-Air mansion. Driving wise, the LX 600 signals a vast improvement over the prior LX 570 thanks to some much needed chassis updates, while still retaining some real off-road ability thanks to a swath of tricks and skills in the electronics. Unfortunately, with a price of $130,995 as-tested and carrying only four seats, what's the point of this giant SUV?
Perhaps if you only have at most two kids, the four seats can work for you, but considering the average owner of a vehicle dubbed the 'Ultra Luxury' will never dare venture off the most perfect of pavement, why would you not opt for a well-equipped Mercedes S-Class at this price range instead and have a normal sedan? A vehicle this humongous and with only four chairs inside is nothing short of, well, wasteful, but then again luxury usually is wasteful. There is no shortage of luxury SUVs to choose from, most which all drive better than the Lexus anyways, and if you're willing to fork out this much coin for a luxury SUV, wouldn't you rather have something that isn't a Lexus? Like a Range Rover for example, or a Mercedes, because brand prestige is real and the Lexus badge doesn't have the same kind of cache as those luxury heavy hitters. Lexus has always earned so many props for delivering near-matching quality at a lesser price, but it's genuinely difficult to recommend paying extra for a Lexus, in this case one with only four seats in what is normally designed to be a vast machine used to carry as many people as possible. In short, as impressive as some parts of this LX 600 are, you'd have to be absolutely mad to buy one at this price, especially when a lesser LX 600 (and still highly luxurious ) can be yours for easily over $20,000 less.
With the price objective out of the way, the LX is a fine, if uninspired SUV. Despite the improvements over the LX model of yore, this still is an SUV that drives like it's already one generation old when compared to the big rigs now coming out of General Motors or the majestic newly designed Range Rover. Still, it is easy to drive, the ride quality is cushy to keep your bottom comfortable, and it's soothingly quiet at speed. All good traits then. But $130,000 good? I don't think so, as the LX 600 quickly becomes clumsy at hardly anything more than a leisurely pace.
You will at least find lots of tech toys in the back, such as dual TV screen for passengers and a center control module for entertainment and climate. Oh, and the back seats even recline and massage, though the front seats weirdly do not have any kind of massaging (how does that make any sense?). This is the rare car where it's actually more comfortable in the back seats than the front, and they are outrageously comfortable seats. I do find the two screens in the center of the dash odd as they don't flow together and therefore one looks like an aftermarket unit tacked on; If it were one large screen combined, things would look more harmonious here.
The twin-turbo V6 remains strong, albeit thirsty enough to make you believe it's a V8. Averaging just 16 MPG, it's far from what you'd consider economical. Oddly, the last LX 600 I tried and took on a road trip averaged a pretty stellar 23 MPG during the entire trip to Mt Whitney and back, yet this Ultra Luxury certainly likes to keep hydrated. The good news is that the V6 is rather potent, with a surprising punch in the midrange to motivate this heavy barge. The ten-speed transmission can have delays, though, and can clunk into drive or reverse, but it's mostly pretty polished, just not as seamless as the General Motors 6.2L V8 paired to their own 10-speed auto that you'll find in a Yukon or Escalade.
This is a fantastically luxurious car, but the point is lost on me and will also be lost on most consumers who would rather have a powerful Mercedes GSL 580 or a Range Rover for the same price. Having an SUV this big with only four seats seems to forgo the very point of having a large SUV in the first place, and because the off-road tools will never be used, you'd be better off with a luxury sedan instead. The LX 600 isn't a bad SUV by any means, because it does lots of things pretty well and is made with an undeniable high degree of finishing and quality, but this range-topping Ultra Luxury is not the one to choose.
2023 Lexus LX 600 Ultra Luxury
Price as-tested: $130,995
Pros: Unbelievable luxury inside; Off-road capability
Cons: Unbelievably expensive; Only four seats; Nobody will take it off-road