Lexus LX450: Used Car Reminder

Lexus LX450: Used Car Reminder

Some of my “used car reminder” posts are little more than a thinly veiled attempt at talking about a car I find interesting. This one, on the other hand, is different. In this case, I’m reminding you about a used car that you a) may have forgotten, and b) shouldn’t have forgotten.

The car in question is the Lexus LX450, which was sold for only two model years: 1996 and 1997. The reason I’m reminding you about the LX450 is that the Lexus is completely identical to the Toyota Land Cruiser in virtually every way. In other words: when you go searching for a used 80-series Land Cruiser, don’t forget to check the listings for the LX450.

Under the hood, the LX450 used the Land Cruiser’s 4.5-liter straight six, which made 215 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. It’s no dragster, but then again, that’s probably not why you’re considering an LX450.

Inside, the LX450 was pure Land Cruiser in every way, though Toyota says there’s more sound deadening. It was the same story outside, where the LX450 used styling that was every bit the same as Toyota’s, except with a little more body cladding.

I’ve heard a few people say the LX450 was “softer” than the Land Cruiser, and, in terms of suspension, that may be true. But it’s important to remember the LX450 also offered a crucial Land Cruiser option: locking front and rear differentials. Find one with this feature, and you can do anything the Land Cruiser guys can do.

In later years, the Lexus LX became more differentiated from the Land Cruiser. In 1996 and 1997, it was just the price: the LX carried a $7,000 premium from new. These days, they cost the same, which is why I’m reminding all Land Cruiser shoppers not to forget the LX450.

7 Responses to “ “Lexus LX450: Used Car Reminder”

  1. Colt M. says:

    Doug- Thanks for keeping this rig alive. I have owned 4 Toyota SUV’s including a 95′ 80 series. Damn if it wasn’t the most stable rig I’ve ever owned and just slow enough to keep you out of trouble. Rev that FZ-I6 past 2k rpm and it got too thirsty to race around, not that it was worth the trouble. This rig also had suspension components made 20 times stronger than any Prius, making it an excellent trail rig. I took it through 500+ miles of Montana rock crawling and it came out with nothing more than a few scratches underneath.

    I regret selling mine every day and look forward to the day when I can get another in the garage as a project. The 80 series Cruiser/LX is the last model of a truly amazing breed of solid and reliable off-road vehicles that we will likely never see an automaker produce again.


  2. Land Ark says:

    If I were forced at gun point to purchase an SUV – and this sort of thing must happen a lot based on how many SUVs are on the road – I’d pick one of three:
    Land Cruiser of this generation
    Supercharged previous gen Range Rover
    current Dodge Durango R/T

    I think the Lexus version shown here makes a statement that I wouldn’t want made for me. Though I just said I’d willingly own a supercharged Range Rover, so that should tell you something.

    • PJ says:

      But – if I were forced at gunpoint to buy an SUV, I’d select only these two:

      Volvo XC60, and Volvo XC90.

      I currently own two vintage Volvos so you can see where this is going. Even though the XC90 is considered by some to be a bloated pig I think it’s still one of the best-looking SUVs on the market. (Not to mention the safest.)

  3. Not a Goat says:

    Currently my daily driver is a ’97 Landcruiser and I love it every day. I almost bought the LX the same day I bought the TLC, but there were a few wierd things about the LX (like 4 totally different tires) that made me glad I got the one that I did. Mine has 282,000 miles on it and I still think it is a better vehicle than many newer cars with way less miles.

    I occaisionally long for the nicer details of the LX, and as I have shopped for something with less miles, the price difference between the TLC and the LX is really minimal.

    Sadly, the mileage may be finally be the reason I that I get rid of it… anyone have a brown diesel wagon or a 944 for sale?

  4. crtfour says:

    I have a thing for 90′s Toyota trucks. I currently have a ’97 T100 that I’ve owned for the last 14 years and it’s been by far the most reliable vehicle I’ve owned. Deep down I’d like to find one of these or a Land Cruiser to go with it.

    Doug, awesome site! You have a new follower.

  5. Wagon Mafia says:

    I agree w/ peteycrack… Now I want one. I just sold a ’99 Jeep Wrangler, and while it was fun, I will more than likely never buy one again (thank you shoddy Chrysler build quality). I still want an older, somewhat easy-to-repair-myself SUV for camping, and the Land Cruiser seems perfect. I love/hate these used car reminders…

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