2019 Lexus LX 450d 4WD Review

Lexus Luxury 4WD LX 450d

Lexus LX 450d Overview  

Back in January 1989 Lexus stunned the automotive world with the debut of the LS 400 sedan. Here was a Japanese manufacturer daring to encroach on the European prestige brand turf. Lexus produced, what was for many, a flawless sedan.

It has developed from nothing AWD SUV’s in the RX and NX range but for their premium 4WD SUV they have relied on the ubiquitous LandCruiser underpinnings. This brings many advantages and some disadvantages for the LX 450d. Make no mistake, the LX450d is a genuine 4WD though.

2018 Lexus LX450D 4WD

Lexus LX 450d External

It looks from a distance like a Sahara LandCruiser. It does carry the Lexus familial style though with the nose and grill, some extra features around the rear light binnacle and wheel and tyre combinations. The 20-inch standard alloys also feature a bright, machined finish with a sophisticated, multi-spoke design. They run 285/50R20 tyres. Both the auto levelling LED headlamps and daytime running lamps illuminate in an L-shape to express strong brand identity.

2018 Lexus LX450D 4WD

Lexus LX 450d Internal

It is inside where Lexus really differentiates itself from the donor vehicle. In typical Lexus fashion the interior is packed with features and function. Lexus has managed to improve what was already a sumptuous, luxurious cabin with a completely redesigned, premium luxury interior.

The changes include new steering wheel, console storage, full instrument panel, door trims, ornamentation, instrument display, multimedia screens and seats.

The enhancements are evident immediately upon entering the LX cabin, with new, silky white light from the all LED interior lamps, including the overhead console lamp.

The driver’s seat has a 12-way power function for the reclining angle, lumbar support, vertical adjuster and cushion front.

2018 Lexus LX450D 4WD

It is superbly comfortable. The front passenger seat has a 10-way power function to meet individual preferences. Front seats are heated only where in the LX570 they are heated and ventilated. The high grade leather-accented and wood-trimmed, electronically adjusted three spoke steering wheel provides comfort and increases functionality with a new control switch layout.

2018 Lexus LX450D

The dash is clear, easy to read and houses a 4.2-inch TFT display screen. There is also an adjustable HUD with current speed and navigational waypoints.

Driving-related switches, including off-road system controls, are positioned in the centre console while comfort-related switches are positioned on either side to enhance operability. The cup holders have also been repositioned for greater ease of use. However all this switch gear means that small storage areas are at a premium? Have I mentioned I am not a fan of the Lexus mouse system? Centre console contains a cool box for keeping drinks cold and even useful for some shopping.

2018 Lexus LX450D 4WD

Rear passengers are treated to reasonable space and luxurious features, via a rear console panel in the fold down rest that enables adjustment of the climate control and seat heating and cooling. New high definition 11.3-inch entertainment screens are installed on the front seat-backs for rear seat entertainment.

2018 Lexus LX450D 4WD

Surprisingly the diesel Lexus is a five seat only, which is better in reality. The fold down rear door provides practical load space but can also hamper accessing parcels at the rear of the boot etc.

Lexus LX 450d Features 

A 12.3-inch multimedia display features at the top of the centre stack to provide for crisp, high definition controlling of vehicle functions, including the 9 speaker Mark Levinson audio system and climate controls.

The LX facelift sees the audio updated with the latest multi-media system, a digital tuner and an AUX (VTR) input terminal on the front of the console for external video input. This display also shows the back monitor with four-camera multi terrain monitor (MTM) and panoramic view monitor (PVM).

LX 450d features a new clock design that is housed in a genuine metal casing with luxurious piano-black backing. The clock hands also illuminate to provide enhanced visibility and a feeling of luxury.

Other Lexus features include: four-seat independent control air conditioning, front cool box, front seat heaters, illuminated smart entry system with smart key card and smart start, optional ventilated/heated rear seats, LED ambient lighting in cabin and cargo area, touch-sensor overhead lighting, manual second-row sunshades and wireless charging tray for Qi-compatible phones.

2018 Lexus LX450D 4WD

Lexus LX 450d Engine and Drivetrain

The Lexus LX 450d is powered by a 4.5-litre twin-turbo direct-injection V8 engine, delivering 200 kW of power at 3600 rpm and 650 Nm of torque from 1600-2800 rpm, with Euro 5 emissions and a diesel particulate filter. This runs through a well tried and tested six speed automatic transmission that matches the diesel engine perfectly.

The new LX 450d has CUSTOMIZE mode as part of newly adopted Drive Mode Select. Drive Mode Select allows drivers to adjust key vehicle systems to suit their driving style and preferences. Modes can be adjusted via the circular knob beside the gear selector. Drive Mode Select communicates with LX 450ds powertrain, power steering, and variable gear-ratio steering, adaptive variable suspension and air conditioning system to suit different driving needs.

2018 Lexus LX450D 4WD

The CUSTOMIZE feature allows free setting of the powertrain, chassis and air conditioning to settings not available in the other five modes. Those five modes are NORMAL, ECO, COMFORT, SPORT S, and SPORT S+.

  • NORMAL mode balances fuel economy and performance to suit both suburban and freeway driving and is pre-selected when the vehicle starts. It can also be engaged by pressing down on the knob when any other mode is selected.
  • ECO mode optimises engine output, throttle opening and air conditioning to maximise fuel efficiency.
  • COMFORT mode lowers the damping force sets of the AVS system for improved ride comfort.
  • SPORT S mode provides dynamic acceleration and maximum steering feel by adjusting engine output, throttle opening and steering assistance.
  • SPORT S+ mode provides POWER setting for the drivetrain and adds SPORT settings for the steering.

2018 Lexus LX450D 4WD

Lexus LX 450d Driving Experience 

Lexus LX 450d has 4WD capability second to none in the prestige SUV segment. The full-time all-wheel-drive driveline includes two-speed transfer and variable fore-aft torque split via a Torsen mechanical limited-slip centre differential. A four-wheel hydro-pneumatic suspension package with adaptive variable suspension (AVS) and active height control (AHC) ensures optimum tyre contact with the road surface while minimising body roll and optimising ride comfort.

Lexus made a substantial investment during the LX development program in off-road driving aids. These include the Crawl Control feature, which helps the driver to manoeuvre over rough or difficult surfaces at low speeds, without the need for throttle or brake application. AHC, AVS and crawl control work cooperatively to ensure that the vehicle negotiates the roughest terrain with ease.

LX also has a multi-terrain ABS braking system designed to help reduce stopping distances on slippery surfaces such as sand or gravel.  LX 450d offers a wide view front and side monitor system as standard for off-road driving. The monitor allows the driver to identify, via cameras mounted in the grille and passenger-side mirror, potential objects that may be obscured from view. Off road this is invaluable and I have used it on a number of occasions.

This provides a clear view of the front and passenger side of the vehicle. LX 450d has a total of four cameras, including the back-guide and panoramic view cameras. It also has clearance and back sonar. The Lexus will tow 3500 kg with ease and with a tow ball rating of 350 kg there isn’t much it won’t tow behind. Diesels are simply better for towing.

2018 Lexus LX450D

Lexus LX 450d Safety

As you would expect, safety features play an important part in the LX570 story with Lexus Safety System+. The Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) combines four driver-assist technologies. These include pre-collision safety system (PCS), all-speed active cruise control (ACC), lane keeping assist (LKA) system (lane departure warning) and automatic high beam system (adaptive high-beam system (AHS).

The new model adopts a raft of additional active safety technology including: 10 SRS airbags, head-up display (HUD), blind spot monitor (BSM), rear cross traffic alert (RCTA), individual tyre pressure warning system (TPWS) and autonomous emergency braking (AEB).  The sway warning system (SWS) function monitors the vehicle’s position within the lane and the driver’s steering operations to detect sway – which may be the result of driver drowsiness, fatigue, inattention etc.

Lexus LX 450d Summary

For years Lexus resisted adding the diesel engine to their flagship model. Finally they have the ammunition to fight some of the competitors and in fact go one better than some. It comes in slightly cheaper than the LX 570 with a few minor features missing and five seats. However it is competitive amongst prestige SUV’s in that it combines a level of luxury expected (and beyond in some cases) with true robust 4WD capability.

Others will venture further than the dirt roads, but most will stop way before the Lexus even raises a sweat. This capability comes at the expense of a limousine ride, which is still excellent, but slightly compromised for the 4WD capability. The choice is yours as to what is more important. There is however a heap of room for five adults and luggage for a long trip.

2018 Lexus LX450D 4WD

Also look at

What’s Good:

  • Luxury features
  • Towing and 4WD capability
  • Interior space

What’s Not:

  • Lexus mouse controls awkward
  • No A/C seats – heated only
  • Cream carpet gets dirty easily

Model   Lexus LX450d

  • Model Price $134,129 MLP*
  • Engine 5 L V8 Diesel
  • Drivetrain 6 Sp AT 4WD
  • Power 200 kW @ 3600 rpm
  • Torque 600 Nm @1600 rpm
  • Safety TBA
  • CO2 250 g/km
  • Economy ADR 5 L/100 km
  • Servicing Capped Price
  • Tow Rating 3500 kg
  • Tow Ball Rating 350 kg
  • Warranty 4 Yrs / 100,000 km 4 Yrs Roadside Assist

Overall Rating:   86/100

  • Behind the Wheel 9
  • Comfort         9
  • Equipment         9
  • Performance         8
  • Ride & Handling 8
  • Practicality         8
  • Fit for Purpose         9
  • Design and Style 7
  • Lifestyle         10
  • Value for Money 9
2019 Lexus LX 450d 4WD Review


Lexus LX450d – For years Lexus resisted adding the diesel engine to their flagship model. Finally they have the ammunition to fight some of the competitors and in fact go one better than some.

About Rob Fraser 2002 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. In addition to 4WD he is an avid motoring enthusiast and has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since his teens. He has owned way too many cars in his time as well. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing.