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Lexus LX 450d 2018 off-road review

The price of fuel probably doesn't feature too highly on a 'Things to Worry About' list for people who can afford a luxury SUV. If you're spending more than $130,000 on a vehicle then, chances are, you glide on through service station forecourts with nary a concern about the cost of go-juice, but nevertheless Lexus has introduced its diesel-sipping LX 450d to the ever-growing arena of upmarket wagons. It has a claimed fuel consumption of 9.5L/100km – using just under five litres per 100km less than the eight-seater LX 570, its petrol stablemate.

But does this five-seater up-scale offering deliver much in the way of anything different to any other pricey people-mover, other than the fact it's an oil-burner? Read on.

Price and features - Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

Price as tested on our five-seat LX 450d is $136,000. The base RRP is $134,500 and our Lexus had premium paint (Sonic Quartz), which adds $1500; no other options were fitted. 

It is absolutely packed to the rafters with high-quality stuff, which is no surprise really because, at this price, you’d expect nothing less. Standard features include a 12.3-inch high-definition screen with nine-speaker, seven-channel audio system (with “digital sound processing”), satellite navigation, and four-zone climate control air-conditioning with climate concierge function and nanoe technology (claimed to purify the air and moisturise hair and skin, according to Lexus). It also has heated front seats, leather-accented trim, a wireless phone charger, cool box, rear-door sunshades, 20-inch alloy wheels with 285/50R tyres, tyre-pressure warning, LED headlamps, daytime running lamps and sequential turn signals.

The LX 450d is fitted with 20-inch alloy wheels. The LX 450d is fitted with 20-inch alloy wheels.

There are seven exterior colours and two leather-accented interiors from which to choose.

The LX 450d does not have any enhancement packs.

Engine and transmission - What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

The Lexus LX 450d has the LandCruiser's 4.5-litre twin-turbo direct-injection V8 engine, producing 200kW@3600rpm and 650Nm@1600-2800rpm. All of that power and torque arrives evenly and smoothly, helped no end by a slick six-speed sequential-shift transmission.

The 4.5-litre twin-turbo direct-injection V8 engine, produces 200kW/650Nm@1600-2800rpm. The 4.5-litre twin-turbo direct-injection V8 engine, produces 200kW/650Nm@1600-2800rpm.

It has a full-time 4WD system, dual-range transfer case and off-road tech that includes multi-terrain anti-skid brakes, crawl control and a four-camera multi-terrain monitoring system with back guide and panoramic view. 

Design - Is there anything interesting about its design?

It has that signature Lexus jagged space-age grille, chunky shoulders and beefy back end that suit a luxury SUV dreamed up by folks craving a significant presence and plenty of attention for their product.

Bulky side-steps, an upswept raked profile, scalloped side panels and moon roof all top what is a cool combination of eye-friendly design factors. It's a slick mix of low-level cool and high-end style.

Take a look for yourself and make up your own mind whether you like it or not.

Bulky side-steps, an upswept raked profile, scalloped side panels and moon roof all top what is a cool combination of eye-friendly design factors. Bulky side-steps, an upswept raked profile, scalloped side panels and moon roof all top what is a cool combination of eye-friendly design factors.

Practicality - How practical is the space inside?

It certainly feels like Lexus designers and engineers have maximised every last millimetre of interior space; there is stacks of room inside with plenty of real-world usable storage spaces, including cup-holders, door pockets and spots for keys, phones and other stuff.

The heated steering wheel, stylish analogue clock, wireless charger, Lexus climate concierge (coordinating all four-zone temperature controls), cavernous centre-console cooler box, and rear-seat entertainment system are all nice touches but pretty much assumed at price-points lower than this one.

The 12.3-inch high-definition media touchscreen is clear and bright and easy to operate, but the Remote Touch Interface, the control near the shifter, is very annoying to use. The toggle/selector is too sensitive, skipping past your actual choice over and over again, while you try to manipulate it just so, so it lands on the option you wanted.

The 12.3-inch high-definition media touchscreen is clear and bright and easy to operate. The 12.3-inch high-definition media touchscreen is clear and bright and easy to operate.

The second-row seating is plush and the seat sections are easily slid forward and tilted.

Lexus claims the 450d offers 909 litres of cargo space if there are five occupants; and 1431 litres if there are only two occupants. If you have some casual weekend touring in mind, with a spot of camping, then this Lexus should cope with your gear, no worries.

  • Lexus claims the 450d offers 909 litres of cargo space if there are five occupants. Lexus claims the 450d offers 909 litres of cargo space if there are five occupants.
  • If you have some casual weekend touring in mind, with a spot of camping, then this Lexus should cope with your gear. If you have some casual weekend touring in mind, with a spot of camping, then this Lexus should cope with your gear.
  • With the rear seats down there is 1431 litres iof boot space. With the rear seats down there is 1431 litres iof boot space.

What's it like as a daily driver?

It’s supremely comfortable and very quiet, wth that customary cocoon-like enclosed sensation that you only ever truly get in a vehicle this far away from cheap.

The 450d is 5080mm long, 1980mm wide and 1865mm high. It has a 11.8m turning circle. It has an official kerb weight listed as between 2510kg and 2740kg.

For something with so many kegs onboard, it’s capable of punching off the mark with a respectable bit of pace; handy for city-street bursts to slip through traffic gaps.

It never feels cumbersome; it actually feels quite light on its toes. In fact this Lexus tends to be more than a little bit floaty at times. You can select different suspension settings – comfort, normal or sport – to suit your preference.

Visibility is generous all-round with clear sightlines in all directions; besides, the reversing monitor with 360-degree view helps if your views are hindered.

Steering is generally active but it does exhibit quite a lot of under-steer on twisting country roads. It has paddle-shifters if you’re that inclined.

The LX 450d rides on 20-inch alloys and 20-inch Dunlop Grandtrak PT2As (285/50F20 112V) – a combination which is fine for bitumen-based outings, but we’d ditch it for rubber with more sidewall to allow for greater freedom to adjust tyre pressures to suit rough terrain.

What's it like for touring?

The Lexus 4WD system is working off the back of proven Toyota LandCruiser heritage, so you'd be safe in assuming it's effective in the rough stuff – and it is, very much so.

This is a luxury off-roader with serious 4WDing DNA, namely from its LandCruiser stablemates. While you’d be loathe to take it anywhere off-road where there’s a remote possibility of it sustaining damage, it’s certainly, in theory anyway, very capable of tackling difficult terrain.

For those into off-road-spec numbers: approach angle is 25 degrees, ramp breakover angle (23), departure angle (20), and running clearance (225mm).

It has a dual-range transfer case, and off-road modes in the Multi-Terrain Select system include Mud & Sand, Loose Rock, Mogul, Rock & Dirt or Rock. In addition to all the tech tweaks that take place out of sight to suit your off-road selection, there is also a Multi-terrain Monitor, which shows an almost-360-degree view around the vehicle, courtesy of four cameras, maximising driver vision through tight and tricky terrain. Very handy.

The five-speed Crawl Control, which includes ongoing real-time adjustment of torque and brakes on each wheel independently, works to maintain traction at low speeds.

When off-road, the Lexus’s Active Height Control automatically adjusts ground clearance at each wheel to suit the terrain.

It has a 93-litre fuel tank; it does not get the 45-litre second fuel tank that the LX 570 has.

Maximum towing capacity is 3500kg (braked) and 750kg (unbraked).

Fuel consumption - How much fuel does it consume?

Lexus claims the LX 450d will achieve a 9.5L/100km figure from combined-cycle driving (that's 4.9L/100km more frugal than the LX 570 is capable of). Lexus reckons, based on that figure, that the diesel LX has a potential range of almost 1000km on a full tank (93 litres) of fuel.

We recorded 12.7L/100km during daily driving (city and suburbs) and 13.5L/100km with some light off-roading thrown into the drive mix.

Safety - What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

Ownership - What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

Warranty is 4 yrs/100,000km. Service intervals with indicative pricing (exc GST) are: six months/10,000km: complimentary; 12 months/20,000km: $535.56; 18 months/30,000km: $598.11; 24 months/40,000km: $800.32; 30 months/50,000km: $502.44; 36 months/60,000km: $676.23.

If you're in the market for the best-of-the-best SUV wagon, then you could do a lot of worse than get in a LX 450d. It looks good, is packed with standard features and is supremely comfortable. The 450d also has an suite of safety tech worthy of the hefty price-tag and it works well as a daily driver and has plenty of touring potential, even though we doubt it'll ever get anywhere near achieving those claimed fuel-consumption figures with real-world usage. Sure, you could instead climb in a second-hand, well-looked-after, never-been-off-road LandCruiser 200 Series and spend the money you save, by not buying this new Lexus, on aftermarket and camping gear, camping fees and also hiring a team of four people to follow you on mopeds everywhere and constantly tell you what a great driver you are – but that's not the point with vehicles of this ilk. They may not be aimed at hard-core off-roading buyers, but they are cushy, classy, and cityified – and, in that respect, they're incredibly well-built for purpose.

What do you think of the Lexus LX 450d? Too much posh for you? Or not enough? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

$134,500

Based on new car retail price

Daily driver score

3.8/5

Adventure score

3.8/5

adventureguide rank

  • Light

    Dry weather gravel roads and formed trails with no obstacles, very shallow water crossings.

  • Medium

    Hard-packed sand, slight to medium hills with minor obstacles in all weather.

  • Heavy

    Larger obstacles, steeper climbs and deeper water crossings; plus tracks marked as '4WD only'

Price Guide

$134,500

Based on new car retail price

This price is subject to change closer to release data