As a car journalist approaching 10 years service, there was one vehicle that immediately sprung to my mind for such a journey; the Toyota LandCruiser. City folk probably don’t realise it, but these machines are built for exactly this kind of long-distance, Australia-wide travel, across arid land and over varying terrain.
And in the upper regions of Queensland, LandCruisers are as common as a Camry in a capital city. But, given that most of our journey would be spent on highways, including plenty that are covered in very shoddy bitumen and gravel – and made more challenging by kangaroos and wombats, dead and alive – the next best thing would have to be the more premium and more comfortable, and ‘better handling’, LandCruiser-based Lexus LX.
However, in Australia the Lexus LX has only ever been offered with a thirsty 5.7-litre petrol V8 (official average of 14.4L/100km), called the LX 570. Up until earlier this year that is. Lexus Australia launched the LX 450d in March featuring the LandCruiser’s more popular 4.5-litre twin-turbo V8 diesel engine (the first diesel Lexus to enter our market). It produces 200kW and 650Nm, and offers a more respectable average consumption of 9.5L/100km. Perfect. That’s the car we need.
For this first part of our three-part review, we’ll introduce the vehicle and go over some of the features and specifications like in our conventional reviews, as well as pack it all up and hit the road. For the first leg we’re travelling to the Gold Coast, about 900km, just over the boarder into Queensland.