There’s something very British about the sound of a new Range Rover Sport going full pelt down the main straight at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. The noise of the 4.4-litre V8’s exhaust note bouncing around the pit garages is almost like a Spitfire flying overhead with its distinctive Merlin V12 growling away.

Behind the wheel of the all-new SUV is Matt Becker, Jaguar Land Rover’s new vehicle engineering director and the man responsible for leading the team fine-tuning the Range Rover Sport. 

We say fine tuning because Becker has only been in his role for five months, following a seven-year stint at Aston Martin where he was responsible for, among many other things, the firm’s first SUV, the DBX – a competitor for the new Range Rover Sport.

Becker pulls into the pit lane and we jump in to what is the most luxurious Range Rover Sport cabin yet, dominated by the large 13.1-inch Pivi Pro infotainment screen. Having just jumped out of a new Range Rover the difference is clear – there’s no less luxury, but it feels like you sit lower in the Sport with the cabin surrounding you more. It just feels sportier, as it should do.

 
 

Becker guns the Sport away from the pit lane and we’re well in excess of the motorway speed limit as we approach Madgwick Corner, the BMW-sourced 503bhp V8 growling away but without the supercharged whine of the old JLR engines.

With barely a touch on the brakes and the smoothest of steering inputs the Sport is through the first corner and then flat out through Fordwater. Becker is not only a master at the art of setting up a car, he’s as skilled behind the wheel as pretty much anyone else you’ll find, with a reputation for being a drift king, too.

So will the new Range Rover Sport drift? “Yes,” said Becker with a smile, “although the roll stability control does interfere,” as it does when we exit Lavant on the throttle.

According to Becker, the building blocks of the Range Rover Sport were strong when he turned up, with much of the work now going on about tuning the software – something he and the team had been doing at the Nürburgring the week before.

“It’s got dual-chamber air springs and the same dampers as the DBX,” says Becker. “It’s got rear-wheel steer, which makes a big difference – the manoeuvrability is amazing and it’s so easy to drive.”

It feels it, too, with 700NM of torque catapulting the car out of the corners and Becker’s smooth steering inputs revealing a composed and controlled chassis – there’s barely any body roll or tyre squeal, despite the weight and speed carried through the corners.

 
After a couple of impressively fast laps, Becker turns left onto the outside of the circuit and onto a rough gravel track, probably about as off-road as most Range Rover Sports will go.

He switches from Dynamic to Normal mode, telling us a little about the changes that brings. “When you’re in Dynamic mode it changes the damping, the active roll control and the spring rates go to the higher spring rate,” he says. “When you switch back to normal mode it switches to the lower spring rate.”

 
 
As with the new Range Rover, which shares its platform with the Sport, the ride is hugely impressive. Even on the 23-inch wheels of our car, the Sport barely wobbles over the broken and bobbly surface. It’s quiet, too, as Becker agrees. “The rolling comfort and noise isolation on this car is amazing,” he says.
 

As the new boy in the business, Becker is still getting used to the JLR way, and his colleagues adapting to his way of working - which is deeply involved, as Becker is as much an engineer himself as the man responsible making the cars drive match the brands’ DNA.

He’s also been hugely impressed by the software teams at JLR. “There’s a lot of talent here – a lot of the software we write ourselves, which really adds value to the business.

 
“It makes life easier for me, too, because if there’s an element of software missing then it’s no problem – we can write the software ourselves. With off-the-shelf stuff you have more restrictions.

“The beauty of these cars is software over the air – it allows the engineers to go longer [in the development programme]. And in the future, you could have over the air feature updates – so if you had a sports car and you were going to the Nürburgring you could just buy the app for that circuit.”

Becker’s responsibility is for “all driven attributes” of JLR’s vehicles – including the upcoming all-electric new Jaguar models. That also means off-road ability of the Land Rover and Range Rover models, too, although our off-roading is limited to some mild low-grip stuff on the banking on the outside of Madgwick Corner, which the Range Rover Sport covers with ease.

From our brief test, the new car feels pretty much ready to go and already hugely impressive. So how much work has to be done on the car now? “We’re pretty much there to be honest,” said Becker.

That being the case, new Range Rover Sport customers have every reason to feel very excited.

The German car manufacturer Mercedes has decided to completely stop the production of its A class in three years, writes the daily "Handelsblat". Production will be discontinued from 2025, and no variant of the A class will be produced from then on, according to sources from the concern. According to Handelsblatt, Mercedes will also suspend production of the B-Class.

Both models, as stated, are considered unprofitable in the company. Mercedes announced in May that it plans to focus on luxury classes, and wants to sell more S-Class models, but also Maybach and AMG. Thus, whoever wants to buy a Mercedes in the future, will have to reckon that the cheapest model will cost from 40,000 euros onwards.

And the class, which went on sale in October 1997, is primarily associated with the "moose test", when this car model showed flaws during the tests of a Swedish media and overturned, Tanjug reported.

In response to this problem when facing sudden obstacles, Mercedes has installed a serial ESP vehicle stabilization program in the A-Class.

According to the BMW blog, a new report from a reliable source claims that the BMW M5 Touring will return for the third generation, after the short-lived E34 and E61 with V10 drive.

The new M5 Touring is reportedly returning in November 2024 (with the internal designation G99). Serial production is then expected to begin, approximately four months after the G90 M5 sedan is scheduled to arrive on the production line.

While the M3 Touring will remain a banned fruit in the United States, sources suggest that the new M5 Touring will also come to the United States. The report further states that the BMW M5 Sedan and M5 Touring will use the S68 engine as the BMW XM. That means the new twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 engine will run on an electric motor to deliver significantly over 600 horsepower.

 
 

Overview

Honda has given its 2023 HR-V a complete makeover, the better to combat the onslaught of desirable and stylish small SUVs that have flooded the market. The outgoing generation was practical and offered good value but it lagged the segment's best—the Hyundai Kona, the Kia Seltos, and the Mazda CX-30—in almost every way. No surprise then that the new HR-V looks totally different from the outgoing model. The new HR-V shares its platform with the Civic and uses a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated inline-four from Honda’s compact sedan. Gone, sadly, is the outgoing model’s trick second-row Magic Seat, which flipped down to make the HR-V one of the most flexible cargo-friendly small SUVs. But the new generation is wider and longer, which Honda claims benefits interior space. Independent rear suspension replaces the old model’s torsion beam setup, a change that promises to improve ride-and-handling. The new model also receives updated infotainment features and more modern driver-assistance technology.

 

What's New for 2023?

Honda's smallest crossover has been completely redesigned for the 2023 model year and goes on sale this summer.

 

Pricing for the 2023 HR-V has increased slightly over the outgoing model, and the mid-range EX trim has been dropped. Of the three remaining trims, we think the Sport makes the most sense, and we appreciate it’s slightly more aggressive exterior styling: it’s the only trim that comes with 18-inch wheels, the largest offered.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

In Europe, the HR-V is powered by a hybrid powertrain borrowed from the Insight and Accord but the U.S. version comes with a traditional gasoline 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s good for 158 horsepower. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the same engine serves as the base powertrain in the Civic. In the HR-V, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder feels lethargic and gutless, but since the SUV shares its platform with the Civic, we could see a 180-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter or a hybrid powertrain join the lineup down the road. For now, front-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) are the standard arrangement but all-wheel drive is available as an option on all trims. The outgoing HR-V didn’t deliver the quiet athleticism we expect of Hondas, but this new generation corrects that with a chassis inherited from the spry Civic.

2023 honda hr v ex l

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

Fuel economy estimates are highest on front-wheel drive models, which are rated at 26 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. Going with all-wheel drive drops the city rating to 25 mpg and the highway rating to 30 mpg. When we get a chance, we’ll take the new HR-V on our 75-mph highway fuel economy test route and report its results here. For more information about the HR-V's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The HR-V adopts a more modern interior design inspired by the redesigned Civics’; it’s both classic and attractive. The front seats are comfortable and supportive while providing a wide range of adjustment. The outgoing model offered Honda's novel second-row Magic Seat, which allows the rear bench to flip and fold to create an especially low, flat floor. That feature helped the HR-V lead the segment in cargo capacity despite its diminutive size. Unfortunately, the new HR-V has abandoned that feature, but Honda claims that the new model’s cargo bay is larger and that lift-over height has been reduced to aid with loading heavy items.

 

Infotainment and Connectivity

All models come with either a 7.0- or 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; the larger display offers wireless connectivity for those features, but it’s limited to the top EX-L trim. Also standard on the EX-L is a wireless smartphone charging pad. We expect to also see features such as SiriusXM satellite radio, in-dash navigation, and a Wi-Fi hotspot, at least as options.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Honda offers a host of driver-assistance technologies on the HR-V, including an adaptive cruise control system and a lane-keeping feature. For more information about the HR-V's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking
  • Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Standard adaptive cruise control

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Honda's standard warranty package is fairly basic, and rival SUVs such as the Kona and Seltos come with much longer coverage plans. Buyers of the Toyota C-HR will find a two-year complimentary maintenance plan, but Honda offers no such perk.

Specifications

 

2023 Honda HR-V
Vehicle Type: front-engine, front- or all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICE
Base: LX, $24,895; Sport, $26,895; EX-L, $28,695

ENGINE
DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 122 in3, 1996 cm3
Power: 158 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 138 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm

TRANSMISSION
continuously variable automatic

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 104.5 in
Length: 179.8 in
Width: 72.4 in
Height: 63.4–63.8 in
Passenger Volume: 98–99 ft3
Cargo Volume: 24 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 3150–3350 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 8.3–9.0 sec
1/4-Mile: 16.4–17.0 sec
Top Speed: 115 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 25–26/30–32/27–28 mpg

As a reminder, the Mercedes Vision EQXX concept covered 1,008 km in April with a single battery charge, with about 15 percent more capacity.

EQXX went on another trip around Europe, and this time the result from April was exceeded because this concept has now covered 1202 km.

The journey began in Stuttgart, Germany, continued in Unterturheim, and then visited France before embarking on the last part of the trip to Great Britain. That part also included a stop at the Mercedes-AMG F1 base in Brackley before heading to Silverston and the famous race track. There waited Mercedes Formula E champion Nyck de Vries who drove the car 11 laps on the track until the battery ran out.

After a journey of 1202 km, which lasted 14 hours and 30 minutes over two days, the Vision EQXX headed to the Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrain headquarters in Brixworth, UK, to recharge its batteries, before its next public outing - the famous Goodwood Climb .

The Lada Granta in the Classic edition is devoid of the shackles of electronics, and its engine emits exhaust gases into the atmosphere as it did a quarter of a century ago.

According to the announcements, the naked Grant has gone on sale, Index.hr reports. Apart from being offered to the Russians with a monthly installment of less than 93 euros, this is a model that now costs a little less than 11,690 euros in cash, which is still significantly more than in previous announcements. Again, this is a family car powered by a 1.6L 90 hp petrol engine combined with a five-speed manual transmission.

But there is a "but". All in all, it is an engine that has dropped from the Euro 5 norm to Euro 2, and on average allegedly consumes 6.5 liters. The list of equipment includes electric windows, heated mirrors, trip computer, daytime running lights and preparation for a 4-speaker radio.

As you can see, ABS and airbags are not on offer, and the same goes for electronic stability control. The new Lada drives on 14-inch steel wheels and has a three-year warranty.

All in all, the Lada Granta Classic is currently the cheapest new car on the Russian market, and without sanctions and standards, it would be the cheapest model in the rest of Europe. Let's say that Lada Niva will soon be coming under the same direction.

 
 

The verdict: The 2022 Bronco Raptor delivers on just about every promise Ford made when the off-road SUV debuted, with incredible off-the-lot capabilities that seem up to tackling almost anything owners can throw at it.

Versus the competition: The Bronco Raptor has the specs and abilities to match or beat the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 off-road, and it can more than hold its own on-road, too.

Ford used to have the high-performance, factory off-road market cornered with the F-150 Raptor, but in the last few years, Stellantis — parent company of Jeep and Ram — has one-upped the Blue Oval with vehicles like the Wrangler Rubicon 392 and Ram 1500 TRX. Both vehicles subscribe to the “put a powerful V-8 in it and it’ll be fine” way of thinking, while Ford has taken a different route with the F-150 Raptor by giving it incredible off-road prowess but dropping its V-8 engine for a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6. Though Ford has ceded the horsepower war for now, the automaker has confirmed that an F-150 Raptor R, powered by a V-8, is on its way.

The Bronco Raptor makes more horsepower and torque than the regular Bronco courtesy of a larger twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 engine, and the Raptor version is so significantly upgraded that the two barely look alike. But is it worthy of the Raptor name? To find out, we traveled to Palm Springs, Calif., at Ford’s invitation to drive it on- and off-road. (Cars.com pays for its own airfare and lodging when attending manufacturer-sponsored events.)

Driving the Bronco Raptor on the Street

Like the F-150 Raptor, the Bronco Raptor is a sloppy kind of fun on pavement; it’s not perfect, but it’s not meant to be. The twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 producing 418 horsepower and 440 pounds-feet of torque makes the Bronco Raptor feel quick but not blindingly fast. The 10-speed automatic transmission shifts smartly.

Steering feel and handling are significantly improved over the regular Bronco, too. The Bronco Raptor has a much more advanced suspension with heavier-duty components borrowed from the F-150 Raptor, upgraded steering components, increased rigidity and significantly increased track widths of 73.2 inches in front and 73.6 inches at the rear. That’s a whopping 8.2 inches wider in front and 8.6 inches wider in back versus a base Bronco. The Bronco Raptor’s brakes are also borrowed from the F-150 Raptor and do an admirable job of uneventfully bringing this 5,700-plus-pound SUV to a stop. All the tweaks to turn a Bronco into a Bronco Raptor have also resulted in a maximum towing capacity of 4,500 pounds, a 1,000-pound increase.

The V-6’s adjustable exhaust note leaves a lot to be desired even in its loudest Baja setting. The Sport drive mode includes aggressive downshifting and automated throttle blips as you decelerate, but the engine sound simply isn’t as pleasing as the throaty rumble of a V-8. There’s also a fair amount of road and wind noise in the cabin, though it’s worth remembering that the Bronco’s doors and roof are removable; it’s a fair trade to me. The standard 37-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires are fairly quiet at speed, too, which isn’t always the case with off-road tires.

Visibility is an issue, with the Bronco’s large front windshield pillars restricting the driver’s view when cornering. The giant full-size, rear-mounted spare tire and taillight assembly is big enough to hide entire cars. It can make highway driving feel fraught when you’re in the passing lane because you can’t tell if someone is right behind you.

Fuel efficiency is probably low on the list of concerns for Bronco Raptor buyers, but with gas prices near record highs, it’s worth knowing what you’re signing up for with this SUV. It’s EPA-rated at 15/16/15 mpg city/highway/combined, and Ford recommends more expensive premium gas. Lowly though those ratings may seem, they still mostly best the Wrangler Rubicon 392, which requires premium and is EPA-rated at 13/17/14 mpg.

Who Cares About on the Street? What About Off-Road?

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the Bronco Raptor feels incredibly capable off-road, equally adept at high-speed desert running and low-speed rock crawling. I got a chance to beat the hell out of the Bronco Raptor and never felt like I was even close to reaching its limits. What impressed me about this experience, however, was that we drove on regular off-road trails as opposed to an off-road loop specifically created for the event. It’s never shocking when a vehicle completes a course made just for it, but that wasn’t the case here.

At low speeds, the Bronco Raptor is nimble and, for the most part, easily managed. Modulating the gas pedal is fairly easy, though in Rock Crawl and 4-Low, it sometimes lurches forward as the transmission upshifts into 2nd gear. For more technical sections, it might be wise to put the transmission into Manual and hold it in 1st gear.

The Bronco Raptor also comes standard with all the off-road goodies of the regular Bronco, including Trail One-Pedal driving and Trail Control off-road “cruise control,” as well as the nifty Trail Turn Assist. The one-pedal feature was useful on tricky downhill sections, but two-footing it was easy, too.

The Bronco Raptor’s ground clearance is 13.1 inches — 4.8 inches more than a base Bronco and 1.6 inches more than a Bronco with the Sasquatch Package. It’s also 2 inches greater than a Wrangler Rubicon 392 with the Xtreme Recon Package, or 0.2 inch more than a regular Wrangler Rubicon with the package. The Bronco Raptor’s approach, departure and breakover angles are 47.2, 40.5 and 30.8 degrees, respectively. A base four-door Bronco is 35.5, 29.7 and 20 degrees, and the Sasquatch increases them to 43.2, 37 and 26.3 degrees. Wrangler Rubicons with the Xtreme Recon Package are either 47.4, 40.4 and 26.7 degrees without the 392 V-8 or 46.7, 39.8 and 24.5 degrees with it.

The biggest hindrance to slow-speed off-roading in the Bronco Raptor is a familiar problem for vehicles bearing the Raptor name: It’s wide. It’s nearly as wide as the F-150 Raptor, in fact, measuring 86.9 inches wide with the side mirrors out and 85.7 inches with them folded. The F-150 Raptor is 86.6 inches wide with its mirrors folded and 96 inches wide with them extended. Xtreme Recon Wranglers, meanwhile, are 79.3 inches wide.

Like the F-150 Raptor, the Bronco Raptor is legally required to have marker lights because of its extreme width. In practical terms, this means you could end up in some tight situations off-road or get free pinstriping from local flora. However, the Bronco Raptor’s wheelbase is 116.5 inches, or nearly 30 inches shorter than the F-150 Raptor’s, which results in much better low-speed maneuverability.

As good as it is at the low-speed stuff, the Bronco Raptor feels even better when it gets to stretch its legs a little — and with 13 inches of front and 14 inches of rear suspension travel, it really can stretch them. The upgraded HOSS — High-performance, Off-road, Stability, Suspension — 4.0 suspension includes Fox-brand live-valve shocks that are 3.1 inches in diameter and suspension height sensors that take measurements 500 times per second and can then adjust the damping as needed.

Speeding through the desert, the ride is remarkably controlled for the terrain, and the suspension travel makes bottoming out and hitting the jounce stops an actual challenge. For optimum drivetrain performance, the Bronco Raptor also has a uniquely tuned Baja mode for even more desert-running fun. Besides the loudest active exhaust setting, it activates a specific turbo anti-lag calibration that Ford says increases performance during desert runs. You might even call it a … Baja blast (sorry).

Off-roading at any speed is punishing to a vehicle, and Ford has beefed up the Bronco Raptor’s underpinnings. The regular Bronco has a Dana 44 rear axle, but the Raptor gets a Dana 50 heavy-duty rear axle. The front half-shafts have been upgraded, and there’s more underbody skid plating than on a regular Bronco. After noticing during testing that hitch-receiver covers kept getting lost, Ford even gave the hitch receiver and plugs their own little “beaver tail” to try to prevent that from happening to owners.

Looking Like a Raptor

Inside, the interior remains mostly regular Bronco, but with Raptor-specific touches like carbon-fiber and Code Orange accents, as well as unique graphics in the standard digital instrument panel. Despite all the cool graphics and the useful Sync 4 infotainment system with physical controls and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the most important thing during my drive was the Code Orange 12 o’clock stripe on the steering wheel, which helped me keep the front wheels pointed in the correct direction when following the spotters’ directions.

The interior being mostly Bronco is both good and bad: It feels roomier than a Wrangler, and the control layout is wonderfully intuitive and easy to use, but it doesn’t make the Bronco Raptor feel unique, and the quality is a little below the Jeep’s. There are also convenient grab handles — especially useful during high-speed off-roading.

One of my favorite trends among automakers is the inclusion of “Easter eggs” — fun, little details and surprises — in and/or on vehicles, and the Bronco Raptor has some nice ones, including the years a Bronco won the Baja 1000 on the heat extractor vents and the coordinates for Johnson Valley, Calif., where the Bronco Raptor was developed and where I drove it. There are many others, as well, so good luck finding them.

Should You Buy a Bronco Raptor?

A better question might be “Can you buy a Bronco Raptor?” And the answer is: Probably not — or at least not easily, and likely not for its already hefty starting price of $70,095 (including destination). Orders for the 2022 model are already closed, per Ford’s website.

Should you get in line for a 2023 model, then? I enjoyed my time in the Bronco Raptor so much that it has rocketed up my “cash out my 401(k)” list, but I’d also want to move somewhere where I could get to use its full abilities regularly. That’s the rub with the Bronco Raptor: It lives up to the Raptor name and is so good that not using it properly feels like a real shame to me. Or maybe you just think it looks cool, and that’s enough for you. It might be enough for me, too.

https://www.cars.com/articles/2022-ford-bronco-raptor-a-better-bronco-in-nearly-every-way-450885/

Bentley has prepared a new Continental GT Mulliner, which will make its public debut in a few days at the Goodwood Speed ​​Festival.

Described as "the fastest, most dynamic and most luxurious member of the Continental range", the Continental GT Mulliner is powered by an upgraded version of the 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine, which features 17 kW / 24hp more.

This includes 485 kW / 650 hp and 900 Nm of torque, enough to accelerate from 0 to 100 km / h in 3.6 seconds and a maximum of 335 km / h.

In addition to a more powerful engine, the new Continental GT Mulliner stands out with a 'Double Diamond' matrix front grille, with distinctive styling complemented by matching vents on the front fenders in the same silver and black design, with the Mulliner logo. They are available in light chrome or glossy black, while the side mirror covers (which project the "Mulliner" logo on the asphalt when the door is opened) can be satin silver or black.

As for the interior, customers can choose from a wide range of shades and materials, including all types of veneers and seams. The Mulliner logos are embroidered on the seats, and the Breitling watch is located in the middle of the center console.

Also, the Continental GT Mulliner has all-wheel drive electronics, a limited-slip electronic differential and adjustable suspension, as well as available carbon-ceramic brakes.

The price has not been officially announced yet, but it is expected to be more than 200,000 pounds.

As Tanjug reports, starting from July 1, Tesla cars will be banned from entering the Chinese coastal district of Beidaihi for a period of at least two months.

An annual gathering of the Chinese leadership is being organized in that place during the summer months, an official of the local traffic police confirmed to a Reuters reporter today.

The decision of the Beidai authorities was announced only a few weeks after Tesla's cars were banned from driving on some roads in the city of Chengdu in central China in early June, which coincided with the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to that city, Reuters reports.

An official from the Bejdaihi Traffic Police Brigade, who declined to be identified, did not give reasons for the move, but said it was a "national issue".

"An official statement will be issued soon," the local police official said.

Tesla did not immediately respond to the request to comment on this decision of the Chinese authorities.

Beidaihi, a resort located east of Beijing, traditionally hosts a summer meeting of senior Chinese officials, at which personnel issues and political ideas are discussed behind closed doors.

The owner of the company Tesla, Elon Musk, once said that Tesla's cars do not spy in China or anywhere else, and that in case that changes, the company would be shut down. Months later, Tesla announced that all data generated through systems installed in Tesla cars in China would be stored in that country.

 
 

The verdict: Flashy to the point of gaudiness, expensive but flimsy-feeling, big outside but not inside, Lexus’ flagship SUV drives well but is disappointing overall.

Versus the competition: Competitors from BMW, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz are more luxurious and higher-tech, while Cadillac, Jeep and Lincoln offer SUVs that are more reserved in their styling and more comfortable in their spacious cabins.

Let’s face it: Big, full-size sedans meant to showcase the best the brand offers are no longer the flagships of any of the world’s top luxury marques. That distinction has been passed to the full-size SUV, a more popular — and usually more expensive — choice than a traditional sedan. It’s understandable; big SUVs are generally roomier, with the ability to carry both people and stuff, and over the last three decades, they’ve evolved from their off-roader origins into luxurious, technological tours de force.

The redesigned 2022 Lexus LX falls into this category. This new version of the LX is based on the latest global Toyota Land Cruiser, which is no longer offered in the U.S. This heritage gives the LX impressive off-road technology, a powerful engine and a commanding driving position that lets you see the world before you crawl over it with four-wheel-drive traction. As the flagship of the Lexus brand — more even than the LS 600 sedan — the LX also features attention-grabbing styling, new tech and an eye-watering price that should ensure some exclusivity. But is the new Lexus LX a worthy flagship for the Japanese luxury brand? Does it have the tech and touch to justify its lofty price tag?

You Can’t Escape That Grille

First off, I have to talk about the most obvious styling element on the new LX 600: that grille. It employs Lexus’ controversial “spindle grille” theme, a design element that’s been present throughout Lexus’ lineup since it debuted nearly a decade ago. It’s spread like an invasive vine, seemingly becoming more intrusive with every new appearance. It’s culminated in this, the biggest spindle grille ever affixed to a Lexus — evidence of the brand’s insistence upon using it to define the entire aesthetic of its lineup.

I don’t think it works any better here than it does on other Lexuses with the possible exception of the stunning LC 500 coupe and convertible, where the grille actually fits with the spaceship-like styling of the rest of that grand tourer. Here, however, it’s distracting and ridiculously imposing, simply dominating the entire look of the vehicle. It means the LX’s best view is its rear three-quarters, but even from that angle, you’ll notice the odd proportions of this SUV. It has what looks like a short wheelbase with oddly long front and rear overhangs, especially when viewed from the side.

Complicating the aesthetic was the fact that my test vehicle was an F Sport Handling, a trim meant to be more sporty-looking and, potentially, more capable on-road. Cosmetically, it has blacked-out trim, a unique mesh version of the spindle grille, and unique badging, wheels and bumpers. All other trims have a chrome grille that’s more distracting than the blacked-out version on the F Sport, but frankly, you may as well just go for broke with this styling: Opt for the chrome look that emphasizes the grille instead of the one that blacks it out, leaving the front with a big gap where a grille should be.

Slightly Better Inside, But Still Behind

The LX’s interior is available in a couple of flavors. The F Sport trim I drove had a look best described as spicy given its Circuit Red leather interior. While I applaud Lexus’ chutzpah in including color in its interiors, I’m not sure the F Sport treatment really works on an SUV like this. With its odd mix of off-road equipment, upright driving style and copious mass, “sporty” is the last word I’d use to describe this behemoth SUV — and no amount of aluminum trim or flashy red leather will affect that. Other leather-laden trims are more in keeping with the LX’s ideals, featuring muted blacks, some lovely tans and even an unusual white/Peppercorn maroon treatment, all of which work better in this kind of vehicle.

The most unfortunate bit is that despite its various premium materials, there’s just a sense that the interior isn’t quite up to snuff for the LX 600’s price. Even the least expensive version is almost $90,000, while the most expensive one approaches $130,000, and the material quality and overall feel of the interior just don’t match that price. There’s too much hard plastic, too many cheap-feeling pieces — too much Toyota in this Lexus flagship. Even closing the doors, which are skinned in aluminum to save weight, makes the truck feel cheap thanks to their super-light feel; there’s no heft to them at all, which is not what one expects in what’s supposed to be a substantial SUV. Contrasting an LX 600 with a Mercedes-Benz GLS, for example, reveals a stark divide; perceived quality and perceived luxury is simply lacking from Lexus’ purported flagship.

 

 Two Screens Are Better Than One?

The controls layout is also a bit busy, with two screens where one might have served better. A 12.3-inch upper screen includes Lexus’ new touchscreen multimedia system, which is a vast improvement over the old joystick-controlled version but still falls short of its competitors’ more sophisticated systems,  including BMW’s iDrive and Mercedes’ MBUX. Compared with those systems’ gorgeous graphics, slick menu transitions, and sheer volume of features and information, Lexus’ system seems basic and ordinary, with no more content than you get from your standard Apple CarPlay or Android Auto apps — which are also displayed on that large upper screen. The native navigation system is the same way, but using it now requires a monthly subscription — a daft idea when virtually everyone already has multiple navigation apps on their connected smartphones.

The lower screen is intended to display things like vehicle system status, climate control, four-wheel-drive equipment mode and more. Thankfully, Lexus hasn’t gone the “glass cockpit” route with its interiors (yet), so there are still buttons and toggles for the controls, making it decidedly easier to use than the latest touchscreen and touch-sensitive-control hijinks from Mercedes-Benz. But it seems unnecessary to have two screens in the vehicle, and Lexus put the one with the most used features farthest away from the driver. The whole thing could have been done better.

Comfortable Seating (for Some)

Comfort is decent only in the first row. The seats up there are thronelike, with an upright position that puts you high in the saddle, though the steering wheel feels rather low. This is great for outward visibility, which is top-notch, but it makes you feel a bit like you’re driving a bus.

Overall spatial efficiency in the LX is disappointing; it’s surprisingly small inside for an SUV this size. Second-row comfort has inadequate legroom for such a large vehicle, and the third row is nearly unusable for adults. Granted, the LX is on the smaller end of the full-size SUV spectrum, joined down there by the BMW X7, Infiniti QX80 and Land Rover Range Rover. American-style full-size luxury SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Jeep Grand Wagoneer and Lincoln Navigator dwarf the Lexus LX but aren’t as easy to maneuver or park. Still, this doesn’t explain why sitting comfortably in the LX 600’s second row requires front-seat passengers to move their seats forward and up; otherwise, there’s very little leg- or foot room in the second row. Nor does it explain why nobody can be seated in the second row while raising or folding the third row (the second row must be moved forward to accomplish this task).

The Saving Grace: Driving It

What saves the Lexus LX from being completely relegated to the “no thank you” pile is its driving experience. It may not feel as up to snuff in terms of opulence as many of its competitors, but its driving experience matches them. The LX is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine (the V-8 is long gone) that pumps out a healthy 409 horsepower and 479 pounds-feet of torque. It’s mated to a super-smooth 10-speed automatic transmission that drives all four wheels through standard full-time four-wheel drive. The F Sport version also features a sport-tuned suspension, which is silly for a vehicle like this — and didn’t make much difference in how the vehicle handled versus the non-F Sport version I drove.

Everything about driving the LX is smooth. Acceleration, transmission shifts and the ride are all smooth and well controlled. In typical Lexus fashion, the idea is to not upset its passengers’ Zen, and the LX most certainly achieves this. It’s still a big, top-heavy, somewhat tippy-feeling SUV — really a Toyota Land Cruiser underneath — but it’s been so well massaged by Lexus’ ride and handling engineers that you’d never connect it with its lesser origins if you didn’t already know. Ride quality is excellent in spite of the F Sport’s big 22-inch wheels (20-inchers are standard), and there’s very little wind noise, just some whoosh from the sideview mirrors. Steering is precise (if rather numb in terms of feedback), and the LX is at home both performing around-town errands and cruising stately down the highway. It also has a significant level of four-wheel-drive equipment aboard thanks to its Land Cruiser roots, including a Multi-Terrain Monitor with under-vehicle cameras; Multi-Terrain Select, which can electronically control various drive systems for off-road driving ; and even a Crawl Control mode for getting unstuck from deep sand and mud. None of this is likely to be used outside the Middle East, but it’s there in case you’re feeling particularly adventurous on your way home from your local Prada boutique.

Priced to Keep It Rare

Top luxury SUVs are all capable of creeping over the $100,000 mark, and the 2022 Lexus LX is no exception. It’s priced to play squarely in the field, with a starting price of $88,245 (including destination fee) for a base LX 600. There are four trim levels above that one with varying degrees of additional standard equipment and different interior color options, culminating in the LX 600 Ultra Luxury trim, which costs $127,345. My test vehicle, an LX600 F Sport Handling, rang in at $105,005.

A Mercedes-Benz GLS450 is nearly $10,000 less expensive to start. It’s also less powerful, though it can be had in a top Maybach trim for well over $160,000 if you add everything. The same is true of the BMW X7, which is even less expensive to start and available in Alpina XB7 guise for nearly $150,000. The bigger American luxury SUVs are a better match price-wise, and they handily outclass the latest LX in interior space, onboard technology and sophistication.

The 2022 Lexus LX 600 is essentially a status symbol for people who absolutely must have one. Drivers looking for a better-packaged, more luxurious and more comfortable SUV might want to consider the bounty of other options.

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