It's amazing how quickly the Lexus LX570 has aged. When this monster SUV debuted for the 2008 model year, it felt ridiculously fast, very comfortable, and seemed enormous. In 2011, the LX570 feels much older than it should because of the myriad buttons, knobs, and levers to control the various suspension, 4wd, climate control, and audio systems. For the most part the array of controls is explained well with illustrations of each individual switch's function, but the sheer number of things that can be adjusted is a bit intimidating. Land Rover does a much better job of batching the various 4wd settings together with a clear icon to explain the terrain that matches the system's setting. Even Jeep has made this pretty clear with the Grand Cherokee.
The LX570 is based on the Toyota Land Cruiser, which has an incredible off-road legacy and is known around the world for its durability. Unfortunately those roots show in places they shouldn't. The Land Cruiser has signature rear seats that fold outboard, so the LX gets them, too. There are six buttons to control the powered movements of the 50/50 split rear seats! Sadly none of these powered movements provide a flat load floor that spans the entire area behind the second row of seats. Lexus should examine an Infiniti QX56 to see how the third row of seats could fold down and forward to create a nearly flat load floor that is much better for loading with cargo.
Even with the firmest damper setting, the LX570 pitches itself into a turn with more body movement than any vehicle should have in 2011. I completely understand the off-road heritage and capability that Lexus offers buyers, but other manufacturers have better on-road ride quality with just as much off-road capability as Lexus has here.
The 5.7-liter V-8 that powers the LX570 has aged much more gracefully than the rest of the vehicle. Power delivery is very good, especially considering the vehicle's considerable curb weight. I found the six-speed automatic to be very agreeable with smooth upshifts and reasonably quick downshifts when I floored the accelerator. I'd like to see a little better fuel economy since the Infiniti QX56 is rated at 14/20 mpg and the Lexus only returns 12/18 mpg, but big SUVs aren't the poster children for fuel economy anyway.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor