Lexus crossover celebrates 20th anniversary

1995 – The LX 450 luxury sport utility was announced

20 years have gone since the world’s largest luxury automaker, Toyota, gave the automotive world a shake up by unleashing the Lexus LS 450. That car was born out of a project that began in 1983 to create a flagship automobile that could challenge the best any other brand offered.

Rapidly developed in the mid-1990s as a result of threatening US trade sanctions on Japanese luxury cars, the LX 450 started production in November 1995 and was released to the US in January 1996; Canada received the LX from 1997.

The LX 450 was Lexus’s first SUV and was almost entirely based on the sixth generation Toyota Land Cruiser. Differences lay in a restyled, more luxurious interior and softer suspension settings. The first LX 450 rolled off the production line in December 1995.

The LX 450 was powered by a 4.5 liter, twin-cam, four-valve inline-six engine that produced 160kW (215hp). Both front and rear axles were solid. The vehicle had additional sound-absorbing insulation. Amenities included leather seats and seating for seven passengers in three rows, the third row accessed by tilting the second row bench seat forward, which could be folded for further space. The vehicle was pre-wired for the Lexus remote telephone system, and had a remote entry key system.

At the time of its sales debut in early 1996, the LX 450 was listed in the US at a suggested base price of $47,995 (about $7,000 over the Land Cruise). After 1996, the LX 450 almost replaced the Land Cruiser in the Canadian market.

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