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2021 Lexus LX Overview

Lexus’ large luxury SUV gets some slight changes for the 2021 model year, with a new Sport package being introduced for three-row models. Additional changes are largely cosmetic, but Amazon aficionados will be pleased to find that Alexa compatibility has been added to the LX’s infotainment system. As welcome as that change is, the LX’s infotainment still leaves a lot to be desired. Thankfully, the LX offers a lot more than just tech.

Built on the same platform as the Toyota Land Cruiser, the LX is as much “go” as it is “show,” with the chops to tackle the trail and the looks to turn heads (as long as you don’t pinstripe it too badly out on the trail). For help in the looks department, the Sport package adds unique 21-inch wheels, special trim, and a choice of Atomic Silver, Black Onyx, or Eminent White Pearl paint. Three-row models also have the new option of the Inspiration Series #2 package, which gets you blacked out 21-inch wheels, trim, badging, and lenses, and adds red aniline leather upholstery inside.

You can also get the LX with only two rows instead of three, but the engine stays the same regardless. A monster 5.7-liter V8 sits beneath the hood, ready to deliver the full force of its 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Unfortunately, impressive as those numbers sound, it’s simply not enough to motivate the LX at anything other than a leisurely pace. Zero to 60 mph will take more than seven seconds when the competition is doing the same trot at least a couple of seconds faster. And don’t think you’re trading speed for efficiency either. With a gas-mileage rating of 15 mpg combined, the LX is one of the less-efficient vehicles you can buy today.

But if you’re headed to the gas station more often than you’d like, at least you’ll be doing it with authority, because every LX rolls with full-time four-wheel drive (4WD), and comes standard with five multi-terrain modes, a locking limited-slip center differential, and an adaptive suspension.

From the factory, the LX comes pretty well equipped, with four-zone climate control, leather, 14-way power seat for the driver and 12-way for the front passenger, LED headlights, and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen. However, many will want to add the Luxury package for the nicer leather, heated steering wheel, and heat and cooling for the front and second-row seats. Plus, if you go for the Sport package, you get all the features from the Luxury package added in.

That all sounds very good, but it’s about where the good news ends. This generation of LX has been around since the 2008 model year, and it’s definitely showing its age. The competition is faster and more efficient, has more space for cargo and passengers, rides better, and has better tech. Amazon Alexa is nice, but the LX still doesn’t offer Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, or even WiFi. It may share the same underpinnings as the Toyota Land Cruiser, but the Land Cruiser can tow another 1,100 pounds over the LX’s 7,000-pound limit. The bottom line is, the LX is nice, but there are simply better options out there right now.


A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.

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