by Roger Biermann
Though it wears the Lexus badge and spindle grille, the reality is the Lexus LX570 is a dollied up Toyota Land Cruiser. Don’t write it off just because of that, though – as far as Toyota’s go, the Land Cruiser is both Luxurious and capable. In the changeover from ‘budget’ to exclusive, has anything been lost in translation? Now in its 10th year of the current generation, it’s beginning to feel its age, but with design updates in 2010, 2012, and 2015, the LX is still looking pretty fresh.
This may be based on the Toyota Land Cruiser, but inside the Lexus LX is nothing like the Toyota. Sure you have 3 rows of seats – the 3rd of which will power stow and fold to the sides of the cargo area to allow a massive storage area – but the rest has been dutifully overhauled. Plush leather seats can be optioned with automatic heating and ventilation – and even without, they’re supremely comfortable. Lounge on wheels comfortable. There’s also a heated wood and leather steering wheel available, and 4-zone climate control. The dash design is classy, with its centrally mounted analogue clock and wood and aluminum inlays – far beyond what the Toyota will offer you – and with a full-color heads up display. The infotainment system with 12.3-inch display looks gorgeous, but functionally, it lacks intuitiveness when compared to the systems from Audi and BMW.
The coil spring suspension in the LX boasts electronically controlled shock absorbers, and can also increase its height by up to 3 inches to allow for greater off-road ability. On-road though, it’s best left in ‘normal’ mode, as ‘comfort’ mode results in severe body roll and much head bobbing. The heavy variable ratio steering is hardly very direct, but in an SUV this big, it doesn’t have to be. However it tracks straight and true, and responds to inputs without feeling as if it’s about to wash out. It also manages the 6000lb curb weight in a manner that could even be described as nimble.
Off-road, jack the suspension up which increases approach angle from 25 to 27 degrees and the departure angle from 20 to 23 degrees and you’re ready to go. It may not be as good off road as a Range Rover, but it sure beats a Mercedes-Benz G-Class in non 4x42 trim.
The full derivative name for the LX is the LX570 – indicative of the only engine available. It’s a 5.7-liter V8 producing 383 horsepower and 403 lb-ft of torque, driving all 4 wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox. It may only shuffle the LX from 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds, but it’s rated as having a 7000lb towing capacity. The reality is that over 4500lbs it feels labored, so the journey’s likely to be an arduous one at full capacity. To make the most of the engine, it’s recommended to have the drivetrain in ‘Sport’ mode permanently.
The LX is hardly shy of specification. From the stow-away 3rd row of seats to the full color, fully animated heads up display, it has it all. Climate Concierge automatically controls seat heating and ventilation based on climate control temperature. Rear passengers even get the option of dual screen rear entertainment.
Safety is taken care of by a 360 degree camera, trailer sway control, 10 airbags, and vehicle stability control. The LX scores 4 and 5 stars for frontal crash and rollover protection respectively from the NHTSA.
It may share underpinnings and an engine with the Toyota Land Cruiser, but the Lexus LX has a lot more luxury to offer. A completely overhauled interior boasts thoroughly intuitive features and comfort arguably second to none. But it is feeling its age, and the drivetrain lets this heavy hitter down.