Vans are cool. I don’t make the rules. They just are. Unfortunately for us Yanks, there aren’t a ton of interesting vans available in the U.S. The Kia Carnival and Volkswagen ID.Buzz are helping bring Van Life™ back to the States, but we’re missing a genuine luxury van, such as the 2024 Lexus LM that just debuted at the 2023 Shanghai auto show.
The “LM” name stands for “Luxury Mover,” as the original Lexus LM debuted in 2020 as a premium chauffeur-driven MPV in the Chinese market. But burgeoning demand caused Lexus to rethink and redesign the new LM, and is now offering it in over 60 different countries, including Japan and most of European. Just not here.
Among the improvements made to the new Lexus LM are a 50% increase in chassis rigidity, a new adaptive suspension with a “Frequency-Sensitive Piston Valve” to smooth out suspension vibration, and even improved seat cushions. All the upgrades to the new LM were made for increased passenger comfort. It even has a “Rear Comfort” driving mode, which adjusts suspension, throttle, and steering settings to keep rear seat passengers as comfy as possible. Lexus also cuts down on cabin noise with a three-step approach: reducing generated noise (the source of the noise), sound entering the cabin, and sound absorption once any noise does make its way into the cabin.
Since most people use vans as utilitarian people movers, a luxury van’s design has to stand out if it wants to be taken seriously by premium customers. The Lexus LM will have no trouble there. The LM looks like a futuristic robot sloth with its funky high-tech version of Lexus’ signature “Spindle Body” grille, high hood line, and expressive headlights.
The LM will be available in four, six, and seven-seat configurations. The four-seat version is the most luxurious, with a partition separating the driver from the rear passengers, a fold-out table in the armrest, and a 48-inch widescreen display. Complimenting that 48-inch screen is a 23-speaker Mark Levinson sound system that turns the LM into a rolling movie theater. The four seats get heated armrests and ottomans, along with a clever “Warmth-Sensing IR Matrix Sensor” that detects the body temperature of passengers and adjusts the cabin temperature accordingly. The four-seat models are designed to be chauffeur-driven, while the six and seven-seat models are more versatile and can be used as limos or even for families.
Powering the Lexus LM is a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder hybrid or a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid, similar to the Toyota Crown.
Lexus hasn’t announced any pricing yet, but it won’t be found in American showrooms, regardless of cost. Hopefully, some cool new vans on the market will do well enough for Lexus—and any other brand brave enough to make a luxury van—to bring one here too.
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