Lexus LX450 Origins
Although the Lexus LX450 only enjoyed a two-year run of production, the Japanese luxury automaker was well ahead of the curve with the model, which preceded the slate of luxury SUVs that have been produced in the ensuing years. Unlike many of the luxury SUVs that emerged in its wake, the LX450 has legitimate off-road capabilities as well as a generous array of luxury features and amenities. The LX450’s formidable off-road capabilities stem mainly from its Toyota Land Cruiser base. Lexus ultimately chose to discontinue the LX450 in 1997 to make way for its successor, the Lexus LX470.About the Lexus LX450
Produced between 1996 and 1997, The Lexus LX450 is a luxury SUV that is essentially a rebadged version of the Toyota Land Cruiser from the same era. Still, at the time, the LX450 provided a nearly unparalleled combination of luxury and off-road capability. In addition to its impressive off-road capability, the LX450 also has a reputation as an enduring vehicle. While it may have only lasted for two years, the LX450 has been instrumental in helping Lexus establish its position as one of the leaders in today’s luxury SUV market segment.Lexus LX450 Features
1997 was the final year that Lexus produced the LX450. Like the 1996 model, the LX450 is essentially a mid-1990s model Toyota Land Cruiser fitted with a more attractive grille, new headlights, alloy wheels, body-side cladding, and a generous array of luxury amenities. The interior also spruces up with genuine leather upholstery and real wooden trim on the center console and door trims. Suspension tuning provides a smoother ride when the vehicle is driven on-road. Standard equipment for the 1997 LX450 includes automatic climate control, rear seat heating, full power accessories, an alarm system, and a 195-watt cassette audio system by Pioneer that boasts seven speakers. Other interior features include a 50/50-split third-row seat that enables the LX450 to accommodate up to seven passengers. This seat can also be removed and the second row bench folded down; this affords the LX450 90 cubic feet of cargo space.
In many other ways, the 1997 Lexus LX450 is identical to the Toyota Land Cruiser. For starters, it contains the same 4.5-liter inline-six, which produces 212 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. The LX450 has a four-speed automatic transmission that drives all four of its wheels through the vehicle’s permanent four-wheel-drive system. Gas mileage and SUVs remained at odds with each other in the 1990s, and the LX450 is certainly no exception. The model receives a rather dismal EPA estimate of 13/15 mpg city/highway.
When properly equipped, the LX450 can tow a remarkable 5,000 pounds, which is more than could be said of many of the luxury SUV models to emerge since then. Standard safety equipment includes four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, dual airbags, adjustable seats, and a first-aid kit. Lexus does not offer side airbags for the LX450.
Additional options for the 1997 LX450 include an improved stereo with a CD changer, a moonroof, differential locks, floor mats, and wheel locks.
Based on the Toyota Land Cruiser, the LX450 utilizes the same body-on-frame construction as well as a solid-axle suspension setup in the front and rear. As a Lexus, though, it is outfitted with softer springs in order to facilitate a smoother ride in general.Lexus LX450 Evolution
The Lexus LX450 was only produced for two years, between 1996 and 1997. During that time, the manufacturer made no changes to the model line. As there is only two years’ worth of LX450s, finding used models can be something of a challenge. Used models likely have high mileage. However, if you do find one and it checks out well mechanically, it’s entirely possible to drive this luxury SUV up to, and even past, the 200,000 mile mark.
If you are set on a used Lexus SUV from this period, it may be advisable to expand your search to include the Toyota Land Cruisers from the same period and even the Lexus LX470, which succeeded the LX450. The LX470 comes equipped with a V-8 engine that makes it more drivable but slightly more expensive.