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The Lexus ROV Concept is a luxurious off-roader that runs on hydrogen

Driving over harsh terrain can also be a posh experience

This isn't one of the comfy chariots Lexus that normally makes. PHOTO FROM LEXUS

The last thing you’d expect a Lexus to go is off the beaten path. Sure, the Land Cruiser-based GX and LX models are quite capable SUVs but realistically, the roughest terrain these vehicles will encounter is the occasional unpaved parking lot at a makeshift events place. In fact, most owners will probably have dedicated off-roaders from other automakers.

The ROV Concept must be an indication that Lexus does want to get its customers playing in the mud with its cars. “ROV” stands for recreational off-highway vehicle, and it can go through gnarly surfaces while being extremely friendly to the environment.

It can play in the mud and look cool at the same time. PHOTOS FROM LEXUS

This dune buggy has a tubular frame, exposed suspension, and large all-terrain tires. Despite the limited real estate found in the bronze bodywork, the design team has managed to incorporate distinct Lexus cues such as the spindle grille, sharp body lines, and the blade-like light signatures at the front and the back.

Meanwhile, the cockpit adheres to Tazuna (Japanese for “rein”) concept with just a simple gauge pod so there aren’t any unnecessary distractions for the driver. As for the rest of the interior, you won’t find kiriko glass here, but the seats have integrated suspension elements and are wrapped in hard-wearing synthetic leather.

Somewhere in the back is a tiny 1.0-liter hydrogen engine. PHOTOS FROM LEXUS

We mentioned that the ROV has nearly zero emissions, but this isn’t an EV. Instead, it uses a 1.0-liter engine running on hydrogen. There aren’t any specifics in terms of power output, but Lexus says that “it produces a pleasing engine note with responsive torque delivery.”

Oh, and it also engineered with the Lexus Driving Signature, but we’re not entirely sure how that would translate off-road. Just expect it to be fun and rewarding to drive wherever you take it.

The interior clearly has no space for a premium audio system. PHOTOS FROM LEXUS

We think it’s nice to see manufacturers exploring other alternatives for internal combustion rather than just going all-in toward electrification, especially when it’s demonstrated on something as fun and as unorthodox as the ROV Concept. We don’t know if Lexus will push through with producing this vehicle, but our fingers are crossed.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.