- This custom-built 2022 Lexus LX600 will make its debut at Overland Expo West.
- A 2.5-inch lift is one of many modifications that improve the SUV's off-road readiness.
- An Off Grid Trailers Pando 2.0 camper that's capable of tackling rugged terrain is also in tow.
Toyota may no longer import the Land Cruiser to our shores, but its Lexus luxury arm still sends us the mechanically similar LX600. Despite its shared mechanical pieces, the LX600 lacks a dedicated off-road variant. Fortunately, the folks at Overland Expo are taking things into their own hands with a custom 2022 LX600 that serves as this year's Ultimate Overland Vehicle.
Following in the tread marks of last year's Ultimate Overland Vehicle—a custom 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X—this off-grid-ready LX600 incorporates a multitude of aftermarket components to improve its off-road capabilities. Credit Mule Expedition Outfitters for turning this once-ordinary LX600 into a bonafide trail-conquering machine.
The boxy Lexus SUV isn't the only piece in this overlanding puzzle, as an Off Grid Trailers Pando 2.0 camper is also in tow. This is no run-of-the-mill camper, either. With a claimed 8.0 inches of wheel travel and 24.0 inches of ground clearance, the Pando 2.0 is ready to tackle tough terrain. A 360-degree articulating hitch ensures its presence has little effect on the Lexus it's attached to.
This camper has all the luxuries of home too, including a sleeping area capable of holding a queen-size mattress, an air-conditioning system, a shower enclosure, a hot water system, and a rear galley kitchen. The latter bit holds up to 33 gallons of fresh water for the sink. A dual-burner cooktop and a pizza oven that's hidden within the camper's slide-out storage space mean going off-grid doesn't require sacrificing hot meals.
Yet the Pando 2.0's capabilities are only as good as those of the vehicle it's attached to. The accompanying LX600 features a number of enhancements that improve upon the stock body-on-frame SUV's shortcomings.
Notably, an ARB Summit MKII front bumper replaces the stock setup. Along with seriously improving the LX600's approach angle, the aftermarket bumper houses the likes of Comeup's SOLO Series 12.5 winch, ARB's Intensity IQ off-road lights, and Midland Radio's Bull Bar Antenna, which works to improve the reception of the interior-mounted Midland MXT-575 GMRS radio. A 2.5-inch suspension lift by way of Total Chaos-sourced suspension pieces, Radflo's 2.5 Diameter Remote Reservoir shock absorbers and coil springs, and a set of 17-inch wheels from Icon Dynamics wrapped in knobby Kenda Klever R/T tires further contribute to the Lexus's off-road prowess.
Those in need of additional sleeping spaces will be glad to know this LX includes a Prinsu roof rack with a rooftop tent and an associated awning. Complementing the new front bumper is a CBI Offroad dual swing-out rear bumper that carries a full-size spare tire, a 5.0-gallon jerrycan, and traction boards. Opening the rear hatch reveals a Dometic CFX3 45 refrigerator and other goodies, including an auxiliary power management system.
All this kit is sure to take a hit on the 409-hp LX600's performance, as the only upgrade to the twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter V-6 comes courtesy of a MagnaFlow Overland Series cat-back exhaust. Consider the last LX600 we tested clocked in at just shy of 6000 pounds and needed 6.1 seconds to make its way to 60 mph. With thousands of pounds of accessories in tow and attached to it, this custom LX600 will likely need a couple of extra ticks of the second hand to hit the mile-a-minute mark.
Then again, this LX600 is the Ultimate Overland Vehicle, not the Ultimate Accelerating Vehicle, so quick acceleration isn't really a necessity. The sure hit this kit will have to the LX600's fuel economy is likely more troublesome, as keeping this rig fueled up will mean less time spent off the grid and more time spent back in urban society pumping gas.