Lexus LX570 Review: Texas-Sized Size, Capability, and Luxury
We take to Texas in a vehicle as large and brash as the Lone Star State itself.
Dallas, Texas, is as awash with oil money as it ever was—but now Plano, a city in the Dallas metroplex, is home to Toyota Motor North America's headquarters. What vehicle better to epitomize the confluence of Dallas, Toyota, and Texas-sized, well, anything than a Lexus LX570? We can't think of anything else either.
On a recent trip to the area, then, we smiled at the sight of a two-row variant of the chromed-out family hauler waiting for us near Love Field Airport. Its naturally aspirated 5.7-liter V-8 produces a stout 383 horsepower and 403 lb-ft of torque and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. On the drive out of the city and into the countryside, that powertrain moved the big SUV with authority under full-throttle acceleration, the naturally aspirated engine issuing a satisfying baritone, while partial stabs of the throttle still deliver plenty of forward motion. The lack of forced induction is a nice reminder of some of the advantages to doing things the old way.
Speaking of which, the LX570 still has a hydraulic steering rack. It's a bit of a slow tiller and there's lots of highly placed mass to manage, so this luxury behemoth isn't what we'd consider to be a "handler," but there is actual, real feedback through the steering wheel. The four-piston front and single-piston rear brakes proved up to the task of slowing the LX as we loped around the Dallas area, too, although we didn't do any towing, which would have perhaps been a better test of their fortitude.
The newly available two-row configuration worked great for our purposes as well—we had four passengers in tow from the airport to our local accommodations, and the extra space created by the lack of additional seating went straight to our massive pile of luggage. We even had the chance to hit a pockmarked trail on the way to a ranch—owned by this author's uncle—50 miles outside of Dallas. The unpaved surface was nowhere near burly enough to bother fiddling with the LX's drive and terrain settings, but we were nevertheless happy to be driving a proper SUV with lots of ground clearance and fat-sidewall tires.
Inside, top-level materials and plenty of creature comforts guaranteed that all aboard were comfortable during every leg of the journey. The driver enjoys the same plush leather upholstery as everyone else but our example also had the $150 optional upgraded heated steering wheel—not that it proved necessary, but it was still a nice perk for the chauffeur. Our car was also equipped with the Luxury package, which upgrades the leather to semi-aniline spec with contrast stitching and brings heated and ventilated seats to both the front and outboard rear passengers. Oh, and also adds LX-badge puddle lights. While there are obvious tells that the current LX traces its roots back to 2007, this old-school vibe combined with the modern amenities means you don't really care all that much. The interior's biggest weakness is a dearth of places to stash today's ubiquitous accessory, smartphones.
It'd be criminal to not discuss the exterior, which still looks bold. The boxy shape actually works well with Lexus's signature "spindle" grille shape, although the actual opening is perhaps a touch too massive. At least our test vehicle also featured the optional $745 21-inch split-10-spoke wheels, which help balance out the grille some.
While we didn't get a chance to fiddle with much of the LX's laundry list of off-road-oriented features—and they're exhaustive, given this Lexus is highly capable off the beaten path—a few still came in handy on the road. The active height-control system and adaptive and variable suspension went were employed at various points of our drive, keeping the 5,800-pound ute's body motions in check, its underbelly unscraped, and imparting some semblance of efficiency on the highway by lowering the body by close to an inch at higher speeds. And in examples with no third row, the LX570 is actually 200 pounds lighter.
Lexus's Safety System+ is also standard. This includes adaptive cruise control, a must for sustaining the Lone Star State's high speed limits on long stretches of lonely interstates. The automatic high beams were also a boon given the inky blackness of Texas nights away from the big city.
At $88,940 after destination and handling, the Lexus LX570 isn't cheap. It is, however, an enduring icon of durability and luxury. There's so much standard equipment baked in, and so much rugged capability on tap, that it's still worth considering even among SUVs that are more than a full decade newer. If you don't quite understand why it maintains a fervent following, we suggest you simply slide behind the wheel of one.
|2019 Lexus LX570 Specifications|
|ENGINE||5.7L DOHC 32-valve V-8; 383 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 403 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, 4WD SUV|
|EPA MILEAGE||13/18 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||200 x 78 x 75.2 in|
|0-60 MPH||7.2 sec|
|TOP SPEED||137 mph|