TRAVIS LANGNESS: The Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and the Lexus 600, offer a similar set of virtues. Perhaps, you want to tow a big boat to the mountains. Or more likely scenario, you need three rows of seating for your family, and you want something that's got a little bit of off road capability, too.
The Grand Wagoneer and the 600 are both great examples of SUVs that can pull off all those tricks, or at least they say they can. This is what we hope to find out.
Before we go into the details, though, press Like and Subscribe, got little belly bell on the side, too, while you're at it. And for a cash offer on your car today, go to edmunds.com/sellmycar.
So what are these? Well, they're both big, full-size, three-row luxury SUVs with price tags over $100,000. These ones are pretty well equipped.
It's been 30 years since you could get your hands on an all new Wagoneer, or Grand Wagoneer, in this case. And even before that, it was an iconic nameplate for Jeep.
The Lexus LX 600, it has similarly big shoes to fill, since the Land Cruiser is no longer available in the United States, and it's built on the global Land Cruiser platform, it might be the closest thing we can get to that kind of off road luxury. For Jeep, it's one of the most expensive vehicles they've ever made, and they're going to have a hard time breaking into the upper echelons of the luxury space.
For Lexus, they're defending the Land Cruiser name without actually having a Land Cruiser badge. And that's a vehicle that's loved globally. So which one comes out on top?
These aren't sports cars, so styling isn't the number one thing. But it is worth looking at for a moment. And the LX, I like. It kind of looks like the old 570-- it's not a completely different look. And I think that's a good thing. It's got some nice creases along the side, and it doesn't feel slab sided.
But when you move up front, woo, that is a big grille. And Lexus has been doing that for a while, but luckily, you could have the F-Sport, which has a different, more blacked out grille, and honestly, I would choose that one.
The Grand Wagoneer is significantly larger. And it looks it. It's about 14 inches longer, nose to tail, than the LX. There are some styling elements I like about the Grand Wagoneer. The grille, for instance, I think, makes it look pretty sleek up front.
But from the side, it's got kind of a slab thing going for it. It looks just like one big piece of metal. Sure, there's a couple of nice creases here and there that draws the window line back well, but these big pillars between the first and second, and second and third row, they stand out. And the chrome surrounds make it a little bit worse.
Both of these are at the top of their respective heaps. The Lexus LX 600 we have here is the ultra luxury, not to be confused with the regular luxury. And the price tag is over $125,000.
The Jeep, while it's less expensive, isn't that much less expensive. This one, the series three Grand Wagoneer-- not to be confused with the standard old regular Wagoneer-- is over $110,000. And that's about as expensive as they get. So they better be pretty nice on the inside. Let's take a look.
The inside of the LX feels like $130,000 vehicle. Everything seems put together really well. And I do like this setup, even though it's a little bit difficult to learn at first.
This is a touch screen up here-- no Lexus touch pad stuff down below. And this one is a touch screen for all of your climate control stuff, which there's a nice duplication of buttons in case you don't want to take your eyes off the road for too long.
Then you've got your drive mode selectors and your off-road equipment. Your four wheel drive selection here. And even below that, you have duplication of buttons for heated and ventilated seats up front.
Now, strangely, you don't get massaging seats in the front of the Lexus, you get them in the back. But you do get massaging seats in the front of the Jeep, but not in the back. I don't know, they just decided where to put their massaging seats.
Another cool feature that the Lexus has, that Land Cruisers of yore have had, is this cool box in the center, as they call it. Or the chilled center console. So you can put your drinks in there, then you've got cool drinks whenever you get where you're going.
Now it does take up a lot of space, and that's one of my biggest complaints about the interior of this LX, is this massive center console has no small item storage. There's two places for a smartphone, and two cupholders, but if you've got a small bag, or a purse, or something you want to put up here, forget about it. And other things, like your keys, don't have anywhere to go but the cupholders, which is not great.
SPEAKER 1: Travis!
TRAVIS LANGNESS: Oh, hello there, welcome back to the car review of the Lexus LX 600. This is the ultra luxury part. On this high end version, you have a massaging, heated and ventilated rear seat, and I have the controls here to move the front seat completely forward, minorly inconveniencing anyone that would be sitting there. And then I can extend that foot rest and go into full business class lounge mode. This is really nice.
Now, if I take the seat and decide that I want to sit up again, I can do so. And this feels really plush. It's the benefit that you get from not needing to accommodate a third row.
But it's a pretty hard sell to get up to $130K price point just for this one seat. Because the driver's side can't do it.
The interior of the Grand Wagoneer is a really nice place to be, especially on this series three trim. But I'm not quite sure it's $110,000 nice. Sure, there are some nice materials, nice stitching, but you can tell by touching some of the items, they're made out of a little bit lower quality material, and some of the padding is a little bit firmer. Things aren't just forgiving.
This is definitely a highlight of the interior. These screens are super high resolution, and it's excellent touch screen responsiveness. You can click any of these touch screen buttons and you get an immediate response. Plus, they're really well contrasted. So even though not all of these are duplicated, in terms of physical buttons, they're easy to select.
And if you want to, you can go ahead and turn on another screen over here for the passenger to control their audio and video stuff, as well. Cool trick-- hidden behind this lower screen is a set of USB charging ports. There's two USBC and two traditional USB for the front, and then another one for the rear, so you can hook up a device and play your HDMI cable or your USB for the passengers in the rear.
Plus this is where the wireless smartphone charger is hidden. And if you want, you can just hide it away.
Now, the center console here I think is much better organized than in the Lexus. There's this little sliding tray with more USBs here. I think we counted and there's somewhere near 20 USB connections in here. You can keep all your devices charged.
Plus, the cupholders here, larger than the Lexus. And when you lift this up, guess what? There's a cool box in here, too. So the Lexus isn't the only one with a cooler.
The second row of the Grand Wagoneer has plenty of space. Lots of legroom, lots of foot room. Unfortunately, it doesn't do the cool trick of folding the front seat forward and going into full recline mode. But there's plenty of space back here for me to recline on my own.
Now, that is kind of a weird thing that I just had to do-- I had to use my hands to manually adjust the seat. It's $110,000, and manual? Ew-- where's the power buttons?
Before we get in the third row, I did want to show you the center console in the second row here, which has the same type space as the front row, along with the USB chargers there. And a massive storage cubby-- you could fit a lot of stuff in here. Big purse, whatever you need.
Then, there is the button that moves this seat forward-- I'll close the door behind me here-- and then, I will bring this seat back and put the headrest up. I am more than comfortable back here. There's a ton of space and you can move your feet laterally across the back.
There's no transmission tunnel hump in the center here. This is plenty enough for two or three adults. You've got more USB connections back here, USB and USBC on both sides. I mean, what more could a family with too many smart devices want?
So you've got a big three-row SUV, you probably want to know a little bit about cargo space. Well, in this case, it's not technically a three row configuration. At the top trim level, the ultra luxury, which is what Lexus sent us, there is no third row. Which means you get more cargo space back here. But what if you did have a third row?
Well, those seats come pretty close to the back glass here, and cargo space drops down to 11 cubes behind the third row. That's like almost as small as a Camaro, which is like 9 cubes. Not great.
Thankfully, if you fold the second and third row, you get about 70 cubic feet of cargo space in the back of an LX. Now, the Grand Wagoneer has significantly more. Even behind this third row, it's rocking about 27 cubic feet of cargo space, much more than in LX with a third row.
Then there's the fact that if you fold down the second and third row in this one, you're getting about 84 cubic feet of cargo space. Pretty significant.
Let's load up some luggage and see just how much it takes to fill these up. We got four bags, two big, kind of checked bag size. Get it up tall-- you can't see out of the back. Carry on ones will fit lengthwise. And maybe loaded up top like that.
Sure, it kind of works. Let's see how these fit in the back of the Lexus, though. Now, without the third row, this is much easier. I'll tell you what, though, with the third row, there's no way all four of these are going in the back. That's easier.
Loading height is about the same on these. So if you only have four people and pack light, the Lexus might work. But honestly, folding down those seats in the Jeep would be pretty easy to do, and you'd be able to fit a lot more stuff.
Follow the logic here, I'm going to fold down the third row-- pretend like I don't need it, which will do it for me. Taking some time, but not forever. And then the other side.
And that is a big, flat space with no intrusions. I could almost sleep back there. And I'm going to load the luggage in-- carry-ons, could fit a lot more of those, load this one in, and load this one in. No problem. You can fit probably double that in here without even having to look at luggage in your rearview mirror. Not bad.
And I know this isn't exactly apples to apples, we're comparing a two-row versus a three-row, and we've got a vehicle that's 14 inches longer, nose to tail, but I think it's worth the added utility that you get. Unless you're concerned with garage space and parking in a tight city, this one is clearly more useful if you've got a big family and a lot of luggage.
The biggest difference between the old LX 570 and this, the LX 600, is the fact that they replaced the V8 with a twin turbo V6. It gets more powerful, and it gets quicker. And to my mind, it feels better to drive.
The 10 speed automatic transmission is smooth, shifts well, it doesn't wander when it's going up grades-- it's not trying to find a different gear. The steering and handling are really strange, in that when you first enter a corner, it feels pretty stable. But then there's almost a delayed body roll. And there's a lot of it.
It's not what you really expect from a 6,000 pound, three-row SUV, but it's disappointing. And it makes the LX not a vehicle I would want to drive on a daily basis. The pedal calibration isn't great-- so you don't get a lot of action in the first 20% to 25% of the throttle, and you have to figure that out as you go.
Now, you can change drive modes. There's comfort, normal, eco, than sport, and sport S-plus, which sport is a little bit more responsive.
Ride quality in the city is excellent. You're not going to be jostled around just going over potholes or road imperfections. Especially, if you live in a place with rough roads.
But when you get on the highway, the LX is a little bit floaty. Even if you fiddle with the suspension settings, it doesn't get firm enough for my liking. It feels a little bit too bouncy on the highway.
I am not a fan of these driver aids. There are tons of beeps and bings. The adaptive cruise control throttles down your speed when you're going around a corner, even if it's not a very heavy corner. And the backup monitoring system, the cameras just seem too sensitive when you're parking.
I back up into my parking space in my garage all the time, lots of different vehicles, and this Lexus likes to slam on the brakes when it thinks I'm getting too close. And I know I've got plenty of space.
The audio quality, however, from the 25-speaker stereo, is excellent. If we didn't have to worry about copyright laws, I would crank up the volume and play something from the new Encanto soundtrack. It's really nice.
The tech interface, well, leaves some stuff to be desired. Slight learning curve with the two-screen setup. But honestly, I like it, and it's pretty easy to use on a daily basis.
And finally, seating comfort, these seats are excellent. I've spent hours and hours and hours in this LX over the last week or so, hundreds of miles, and I have no complaints about seat comfort.
The Grand Wagoneer drives a little o, more like a Ram 1500, unsurprisingly, because they share some parts. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Honestly, I kind of prefer this driving experience to the one in the Lexus. Sure, the Lexus has nicer interior materials, but this feels more steady on the highway.
Yes, you get more bumps that are translated into the interior but it feels solid on the road. And it doesn't feel as sloppy around corners. The steering isn't exactly sharp, but it definitely is weighted better, and there's seemingly less body roll. Even though this is a heavier vehicle, it's quicker.
But this one's got the 6.4 liter V8. The standard Wagoneer here has the 5.7 liter. And the 6.4 liter V8 is really powerful. Punchy, too. With the eight-speed automatic transmission, you have no problems with passing power on the highway.
Then, there's tech. I really like the screen used in this Grand Wagoneer. It's large, and it's clearer to see than the Lexus's. It is further down, too, which means you have to look away from the road a little bit more when you're doing a command, but it doesn't get in the way. It's not in your line of sight, and the visibility up front is a little bit better as a result.
The driver aids are much better tuned in the Jeep. There's not as many false alarms from the forward collision mitigation system. And there aren't as many intrusions when it comes to lane keep assist. And the adaptive cruise control, much better tuned.
Honestly, if I'm going to pick between the two of these just on driver aids alone, it's the Jeep, for sure. Now, they're not perfect, it doesn't have an excellent following distance when it comes to the adaptive cruise control, but I like the system a lot better than I like the one in the Lexus.
The McIntosh stereo in the Grand Wagoneer is excellent-- really good audio quality. But I do have a gripe with it in that it doesn't really get loud enough. The Lexus system just cranks it up to 11 much better. And nobody wants to hear me sing, even myself, so I won't be able to drown that out with the stereo.
Seating comfort in the Grand Wagoneer is a little bit firmer than they are in the Lexus. And they're not uncomfortable-- they'll probably break in a little bit better over time.
How do these two do at the test track? Well, it's a story of numbers, and the first number is how much they weigh. The Lexus LR 600 weighed in at over 5,900 pounds, pretty hefty. But the Grand Wagoneer tipped the scales at over 6,300 pounds. That's a big difference.
Thankfully, the V8 of the Grand Wagoneer was able to win out. While the Lexus went zero to 60 in 6.3 seconds, and did the quarter mile in 14.5, the Grand Wagoneer did zero to 60 in 5.9 seconds, and the quarter mile in 14.3. Now, those aren't big differences, but it does mean a heavier vehicle can go quicker thanks to more power.
Then, there's fuel economy. The Grand Wagoneer is rated at 15 mpg combined, not a great number. But not terrible considering the powertrain under the hood.
Thankfully, because they replaced the V8 with a twin turbo V6, the Lexus gets a fuel economy estimate from the EPA of 19 MPG combined. So it wins that category outright.
We'd be remiss to not talk about off-roading in a discussion about a Jeep and something that's based on a Land Cruiser. But these aren't exactly the off-road friendly trims. So let's talk about what they do share in common.
Both of these are riding on 22 inch wheels with all season tires-- not all terrains. They're both four wheel drive, they both offer crawl control systems, and off road cruise control systems that will regulate your speed in the dirt. And they both offer a number of different selectable drive modes to adapt to things like sand, rocks, or mud.
But you're not going to be crawling up any rock faces. These are such long, wide vehicles, you're not really going to fit in tight spaces on trails. And while the LX 600 is based on a Land Cruiser, it's still really heavy. And honestly, it's not the most enjoyable kind of off roading, or at least, not to my mind.
And the Grand Wagoneer, yes, it's got more ground clearance than the LX 600, at least in its highest raised suspension mode. But this thing is 6,300 pounds, it's got some long overhangs.
So if you want to go mudding, I'd recommend picking something else entirely. Maybe like a Sequoia TRD Pro, for example.
Oh, and then there's towing. Now, both of these have body on frame style construction, which is more akin to a full size pickup truck. I mean, that's what they're both based on underneath, essentially. And both of them have results in the towing department that reflect that.
This Grand Wagoneer has a maximum towing capacity of 10,000 pounds, which is really impressive. And the Lexus has a maximum towing capacity of 8,000. Not as much, but still quite a lot.
There are some big differences, though, that show to me that the Jeep is much more concerned with towing and doing so easily. For starters, the Jeep has a trailer brake controller. What is a trailer brake controller?
Well, if you've got a big trailer, it's got its own integrated brakes. So when you connect the trailer to the hitch, you also hook up a four or a seven pin connector, and then you use your trailer brake controller to set the brakes on the trailer.
And if you're going down a long grade, you're not going to cook the brakes on your SUV, because you're breaking both the vehicle and something heavy behind it.
The Lexus, while it can theoretically tow 8,000 pounds, doesn't have a trailer brake controller. You can't get one. Doesn't even come on the ultra luxury version that's nearly $130,000. And that's a pretty big omission.
Then, as you can see in front of us, they've both got covers over their tow hitches. Which is fine, I get it, an aesthetic choice, you don't always want to see where your tow hitch receiver is. But there's the differences in how they come off. And they'll show you that now.
Underneath the Jeep, there's little kind of screw tabs that you can take off pretty easily, just by hand. Then there's another one here in the center, and finally another one here on the side. Getting those out was easy.
The Lexus, however, big difference. It's got these kind of annoying tabs that you need a flathead screwdriver, or maybe even a knife for, and you have to get underneath there and really see what you're doing. OK, that wasn't super hard.
And then, slide that out. It's more of a struggle. And sure, it came off in about the same time, but someone who tows a lot is going to have that solution on the top of their list. It's just easier to work with.
So which one of these comes out on top? Where would I spend my money, if I were in the $100,000 price bracket, and I wanted a three row luxury SUV? I would probably get a Mercedes GLS, or a Lincoln Navigator, maybe a Cadillac Escalade. Look, these two have virtues of their own, but neither one of them leads the class.
Yes, the Grand Wagoneer is excellent at providing space. It's really big on the inside. But fuel economy estimates are pretty abysmal. And it doesn't really seem to match the $110,000 price tag. So maybe go looking for a standard Wagoneer, if that's what you're eyeing.
The Lexus LX 600 feels ultra premium on the inside. It's got a really nice interior. But issues with tech and strange driving characteristics make it a non-starter for me. And especially in this ultra luxury trim, where you don't get the third row. Look, I get it, there's some appeal to that Land Cruiser underpinning lifestyle, but it's not the one for me.
Which one would you choose? Let us know in the comments below. And tell us your thoughts on both of these vehicles as it stands.
Five D as in delta.
SPEAKER 2: Pardon me?
TRAVIS LANGNESS: No, pardon yourself, cancel.
SPEAKER 2: What can I help you with?
TRAVIS LANGNESS: Cancel, cancel, cancel, cancel.