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.