Taking a left turn off of I-10 outside of Palm Springs, California, we drove down a rutted, sand-blown track for a couple miles before ending up at a tall, rocky pile, an outcrop scaled somewhere between a hillock and a massif. After shifting the transmission into neutral, engaging the four-wheel-drive low range, and closing the ARB Air Locking differentials, we got even and steady on the throttle and pointed our truck—a seven-figure, one-off, overlanding concept known as the Lexus J201—up the steep, rocky face until all that showed through the windshield was dust and searing sky.
The truck handled the challenge with marked aplomb, cresting the ridge without a huff, and eventually leveling off and displaying the glories of what was on the other side: a meth lab. So capable was this vehicle that it was easy to forget that the platform that underpinned all of this ruggedness was Lexus’ posh, flagship SUV, the $88,000 LX 570. This jacked and tracked truck begs the question: Has Lexus gone rogue?
“Going rogue is actually part of who we are,” says Vinay Shahani, the brand’s vice president of marketing for America. “And we love to experiment. J201 is a rolling example of our belief in Always On, the idea of continual improvement no matter the time in a vehicle’s lifecycle.”