2023 Lexus LX600 Ultra Luxury Review
You Can’t Escape That Grille
First off, I have to talk about the most obvious styling element on the Lexus LX 600: that grille. It employs Lexus’ controversial “spindle grille” theme, a design element that’s been present throughout Lexus’ lineup since it debuted nearly a decade ago. It’s spread like an invasive vine, seemingly becoming more intrusive with every new appearance. It’s culminated in this, the biggest spindle grille ever affixed to a Lexus — evidence of the brand’s insistence upon using it to define the entire aesthetic of its lineup.
I don’t think it works any better here than it does on other Lexuses with the possible exception of the stunning LC 500 coupe and convertible, where the grille actually fits with the spaceship-like styling of the rest of that grand tourer. Here, however, it’s distracting and ridiculously imposing, simply dominating the entire look of the vehicle. It means the LX’s best view is its rear three-quarters, but even from that angle, you’ll notice the odd proportions of this SUV. It has what looks like a short wheelbase with oddly long front and rear overhangs, especially when viewed from the side.
Complicating the aesthetic was the fact that my test vehicle was an F Sport Handling, a trim meant to be more sporty-looking and, potentially, more capable on-road. Cosmetically, it has blacked-out trim, a unique mesh version of the spindle grille, and unique badging, wheels, and bumpers. All other trims have a chrome grille that’s more distracting than the blacked-out version on the F Sport, but frankly, you may as well just go for broke with this styling: Opt for the chrome look that emphasizes the grille instead of the one that blacks it out, leaving the front with a big gap where a grille should be.
The verdict: Flashy to the point of gaudiness, expensive but flimsy-feeling, big outside but not inside, Lexus’ flagship SUV drives well but is disappointing overall.
Versus the competition: Competitors from BMW, Land Rover, and Mercedes-Benz are more luxurious and higher-tech, while Cadillac, Jeep, and Lincoln offer SUVs that are more reserved in their styling and more comfortable in their spacious cabins.
Let’s face it: Big, full-size sedans meant to showcase the best the brand offers are no longer the flagships of any of the world’s top luxury marques. That distinction has been passed to the full-size SUV, a more popular — and usually more expensive — choice than a traditional sedan. It’s understandable; big SUVs are generally roomier, with the ability to carry both people and stuff, and over the last three decades, they’ve evolved from their off-roader origins into luxurious, technological tours de force.