Minivans get a pretty bad rap here in the U.S. Since their invention in the early 1980s, they’ve essentially been received as altars to child rearing. There’s nothing very sexy about them. At least, not in the eyes of Americans. Not so in China, however.
Apparently the minivan doesn’t carry the same social stigma there as it does in the States. In fact, minivans are popular for executive transportation in China. This makes sense, if you think about it. Minivans are big inside and they can easily be transformed into luxurious spaces without much effort. As they’re built on car-like chassis, they can deliver a luxurious ride, too. It wouldn’t be so hard to crib a Rolls-Royce with a minivan, if you wanted.
With these keen characteristics in mind Lexus has created the brand’s first ever minivan — you guessed it — for the Chinese market. It’s called the LM and it looks like a surprisingly nice place to be, albeit it for two passengers.
You read that correctly. Lexus has a seating configuration for the LM that seats just two rear passengers. And the driver and folks being driven are separated by a glass screen in addition to a 29-inch display. Between the nearly fully reclining captains chairs is a touchscreen command center. From there, these elite riders can control climate and seat settings as well as bring up infotainment.
The rear occupants are surrounded by a 19 speaker sound system, the sound of which is only enhanced by the double-layer noise reducing glass fitted around the LM. If passengers get thirsty, a 14 liter fridge, that Lexus brags can hold two champagne bottles, is within close reach of the rear seats.
The LM comes standard with a 3.5 liter V6 engine. However, customers can step up to the 300h Hybrid model, which is powered by a four-cylinder engine and electric motor. Power can be pushed to the pavement through either the front wheels or through an optional all-wheel drive system.
It perhaps goes without saying that the LM will likely not be coming to American showrooms. That’s a shame, though, because it might just change the public’s opinion about the much-maligned minivan.