No one ever said overlanding or off-roading couldn’t be done in luxury. For one, quite a few owners have taken vehicles like the Audi Allroad and Porsche 924 rather far from paved roads. Not to mention, that’s the whole point behind luxury SUVs like the Range Rover. But for an overland-ready luxury SUV that won’t break down on you, a Lexus LX470 makes a far better choice. Especially one that’s already been prepped for the excursion.
The J100 Lexus LX470: a luxurious Land Cruiser
Despite its high price tag and impressive off-road features, the Toyota Land Cruiser isn’t necessarily a luxury SUV. Although the US never received the 70-Series Land Cruiser, the 80-Series we did get wasn’t significantly plusher. However, for those who did want a higher-end Land Cruiser, Toyota created the 1995 Lexus LX450, based on the 90s 80-Series.
This was replaced in 1998 with the Lexus LX470, based on the 100-Series Land Cruiser, which Autotrader calls “one of the most unbreakable SUVs ever made.” It has a 4.7-liter V8, rated at 235 hp and 320 lb-ft, Motor Trend reports. Initially available with a 4-speed automatic, it was replaced by a 5-speed in 2003. Ostensibly, it was to improve fuel efficiency. But even so, it still only gets 12 mpg city and 16 mpg highway, MT reports.
However, as a luxury overlanding body-on-frame SUV, the Lexus LX470 delivers. The poor fuel efficiency was in part due to its full-time 4WD system, complete with transfer case. Plus, the LX470 came standard with height-adjustable hydraulic suspension. More ground clearance when you need it, easier entry when you don’t.
Inside, the SUV featured heated and power-folding mirrors, heated leather seats, multiple power outlets, and a 6-disc CD changer. Stability and traction control were added in 2000, with navigation following in 2001. Bluetooth and a backup camera became standard in 2002. That year, the Lexus LX470 also became the first vehicle to offer an optional night-vision system.
In terms of refinement, the Lexus LX470 out-classed many of its contemporary rivals, such as the Lincoln Navigator. Plus, it has seating for 8. At least one owner, though, wanted to give it even more overlanding potential, Motor1 reports. And their creation is now up for grabs.
Prepping the Lexus LX470 for overland duty
As you can see, the 2005 Lexus LX470 shown below isn’t exactly stock, Bring a Trailer explains. Just about the only untouched parts are the paint and the V8.
Underneath, this 2005 LX470 has a 2.5” RadFlo lift kit, remote-reservoir shocks, Metal Tech rock sliders, custom OME heavy-duty springs, and fully-overhauled suspension. Not even the differentials and 2-speed transfer case have been left stock, HiConsumption reports. The latter received a Marlin Crawler low-speed gearset, and the former now have air lockers. And the SUV now rides on 17” wheels with BFGoodrich KO2 A/T tires.
The SUV’ now has new Dissent OffRoad bumpers. The front one has a Warn winch and an ARB air compressor. The LX470 also has a wide assortment of Rigid off-road lights. This includes a roof-mounted E-Series light bar, 3 Q-Series spotlights, 2 D-Series fog and floodlights, an 8” bumper light bar, and bumper-mounted reversing lights.
But overlanding is about more than just off-roading. Luckily, this Lexus LX470 has that covered, too. It comes with a FrontRunner roof rack complete with a sliding stainless-steel table, an Alu-Cab rooftop tent with an awning and a collapsible ladder, and an air-adjustable foam mattress. There are also 2 roof-mounted solar panels and a shower with a hot water heater.
Inside, the SUV has an ARB floor and storage kit, complete with an internally-organized drawer kit. On top of that, it has additional rear-mounted USB chargers and an ARB 63-quart fridge. Plus, in addition to the standard DVD entertainment system, heated seats, and Bluetooth, this Lexus LX470 also has a CB radio. However, the rear footwell is taken up by an extra 11-gallon fuel tank.
Making your own
Turning your own Lexus LX470 into something like this doesn’t come cheap. BaT reports the previous owner spent roughly $64,000 on modifications. However, their loss is your gain. As of this writing, this 2005 LX470 is listed on BaT for $38,000. And a master Toyota technician performed all the upgrades.
But, if you prefer making your own milder take on a luxury overlanding SUV, the barrier-to-entry is somewhat low. The average Lexus LX470 sells for $10,000-$20,000 on BaT. Sub-100,000-mile examples are typically on the higher end of that scale, Autotrader reports. Which is actually slightly cheaper than the average price of the contemporary Land Cruiser.
If you do end up buying an LX470, be sure to check if the V8’s exhaust manifolds have been cracked or repaired. However, if the SUV’s hydraulic suspension has started to fail, there are modern replacements available at lower-than-OEM prices.
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