Lexus took a giant step in 1996 into the highly competitive SUV market with the new LX 450, a full-size sport/utility that featured luxury appointments throughout. Under the refined Lexus styling cues beats the heart of the Toyota Land Cruiser. LX 450 was positioned at the top of the full-size luxury sport/utility market and designed to appeal to older buyers who wanted uncompromised 4-wheel-drive prestige and performance sheathed in luxury accouterments. The LX 450 stepped out smartly whether at the country club or marina, or on a muddy trail or icy road. Primary competition came from the Land Rover Range Rover (in price, not size), General Motors' Suburbans (in size, not price) and the new Acura SLX luxury SUV. Lexus said that, despite the LX 450's similarity to the Toyota Land Cruiser, the luxury SUV targeted a more family-oriented buyer.
Just like the Land Cruiser, the LX 450 was available as a single model only -- a 4-door with full-time 4-wheel drive. The one-and-only engine is a 24-valve 4.5-liter dohc inline 6-cylinder with 212 horsepower, mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. A locking differential system was optional. The LX 450 was loaded with such standard features as automatic climate control, leather interior with wood trim, a premium sound system, a power tilt/slide glass sunroof and unique alloy wheels. It also toted Lexus's heralded dominance of the J.D. Power and Associates Customer Satisfaction Index.
Not many changes were made for 1997.
The LX 450 was renamed to the LX 470, hence the upgrade to a 4.7-liter V8 engine with 230 horsepower, which remained until 2002, while the car itself sold through 2007.
As of January 4, 1996:
- $47,500 (1996 Lexus LX 450)
As of September 4, 1996:
- $48,450 (1997 Lexus LX 450)