2008 Lexus LX570

2008 Lexus LX570

Single-task screwdrivers and one-purpose pliers do their specific jobs better than any multitask tool, but the convenience of having a whole toolbox in your pocket is worth some small sacrifices. That's why every handyman loves a Leatherman. Like the Toyota Land Cruiser on which it's based, the Lexus LX570 is the Leatherman of the automotive world.

The LX570's $74,565 base price may start to look like a bargain when you consider all the vehicles it renders superfluous. You can sell your muscle car, for starters, because the big SUV has plenty of brute force. Its 5.7-liter V-8 produces 383 hp and 403 lb-ft of torque - a shocking 115 more ponies and 75 more lb-ft than last year's LX470. With huge grunt everywhere in the rev range and six gears to choose from, 60 mph arrives in an estimated 7.4 seconds, and the big SUV has to be electronically restrained to 137 mph. Yikes, that's fast.

Your pickup truck can go, too. At the press of a button, the LX570's rear seats electrically tuck into the sides of the cargo area, freeing up rear cargo space. Fold up the middle row of seats, and you could fit the contents of a small house in back. And, since the LX570 can tow 8500 pounds, you might be able to bring the house with you, too.

The LX570's four-zone climate control uses twenty-eight vents to keep all eight passengers comfy. Yeah, eight of them - looks like you can sell that five-passenger luxury sedan. Four of those passengers can have their tushes toasted if they so desire, and as for anyone who starts to complain about the lack of legroom in the third-row seat, the optional 450-watt, nineteen-speaker Mark Levinson Reference Surround audio system will drown them out nicely. (You might as well sell your home entertainment system, too; the Levinson system probably sounds better.)

With nine inches of front wheel travel, the LX570 can probably out-off-road your off-roader, so go ahead and put that up for sale as well. This third-generation LX has lost a little of its off-road credibility (ground clearance is 0.9 inch less, and approach and departure angles have suffered slightly as a result of longer overhangs), but its ride height automatically rises three inches when low range is engaged.

What about the drawbacks? The LX570 might be able to imitate all those other vehicles, but it doesn't master any of those cars' specific functions. A muscle car is quicker because it weighs about half of what the LX570 does. The LX570's interior is too nice for the nasty stuff you'd want to haul in a pickup bed, and its rear seats can't be removed easily. And a luxury car is smoother, quieter, and more comfortable - the LX's truck suspension pitches and heaves constantly. Oh, and the driveline clunks when you're moving off from a stop. And fuel economy is abysmal. And . . . wait. That's not the point. No one complains when it takes a few seconds longer to tighten a screw with a Leatherman.

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