Sport-utility vehicles have become more car-like over the years, but some buyers still want the beefy demeanor of the first truck-based models. The Lexus LX 570 provides it, along with a satisfying dash of luxury.
What is it?
The Lexus LX 570 is a full-sized, V8-powered SUV. It bucks the current crossover styling trends and stands resolute in looking and driving like a truck. Like one of its competitors, the Range Rover, the Lexus LX series continues as a boldly boxy testament to the way SUVs were made when they came into being.
Pricing and trims
LX 570 prices start in the mid-$80K range for the two-row trim, which the three-row is just over $90K in base price. Add the $1,190 Luxury Package (heated and ventilated seats, four-zone climate control, perforated leather and puddle lamps) and the $150 heated steering wheel and the $1,295 delivery fee, and you’ll be unfolding bills totaling $93,465.
That’s for the tested 2018 model; you’d add another $450 for the 2019. You’d look to the LX 570’s Toyota Land Cruiser platform-mate for a lower price point.
The big LX 570 news for 2019 is the Inspiration Series, which hops on the industry-wide trend toward trim that’s glossy black. Similar special editions populate both Lexus and Toyota lineups this year.
The rear view illustrates how the Inspiration Series mutes the trimmings and places more visual focus on the LX’s contours.
Inside, the Inspiration Edition hits your eyes with a high-contrast scheme in black and white.
LX-themed puddle lights are illustrated by the Inspiration Edition but are available in others via the Luxury Package in 2018 models. These lights are standard in all 2019s.
The puddle lamps are an example of a traditional truck slowly being updated with trendy features. Another indication that the LX is old-school is its sunroof – just a simple sliding panel, with no panoramic option. It’s another clue as to the LX’s true appeal.
Typically we look to the the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) for crash-test results, but neither the LX 570 nor its Land Cruiser platform twin have been tested.
However the LX does have just about every active safety feature that Lexus can muster, including pre-collision sensors. The laws of physics would also tend to be on your side, as the LX 570’s 5,800-pound curb weight is about a ton more than a typical mid-sized sedan’s.
With nearly three tons of truck to move, the 5.7-liter V8 under the hood of all LX 570s still manages to feel strong. Torque is the important number when there’s a lot of mass to motivate, and this mill cranks out 403 lb.-ft. of it, making the LX 570 feel a lot more nimble than it should. Lexus recommends premium fuel.
The LX 570’s transmission is a sharp-shifting eight-speed unit with electronic controls and a Torsen limited-slip differential to help get power to the wheels. It is eager to upshift to save gas, but it will quickly downshift if you want to spin up the V8 to its 6,000-rpm redline.
Ride and handling
You’d expect a vehicle of the LX 570’s weight to feel ponderous, but thanks to its electro-hydraulic suspension with load and height control, this SUV felt planted and steady in its week with us. It’s unobtrusive to the point that you forget you’re driving such a massive vehicle, which is likely the point.
The front perches are very comfortable, with kind contouring and firm padding.
The ventilated seats in our tester were especially appreciated in our Houston driving venue, where the scorching heat was overcome with arctic air conditioning and nicely cooled seats.
Rear seats in an SUV are usually the king’s thrones, but that’s not true in the LX 570. Perhaps in another nod to its traditional approach, rear legroom is less than 35 inches, which is what you’d find in a compact hatchback like a Ford Focus. At least the views are wide-open, and there are screens to distract the outboard passengers.
The second-row seats tip up easily for access to the row behind.
As you can see, both the second and third row seats sit close to the floor, making travel a knees-up affair.
The third row seats easily move up and out of the way with simple touches of buttons.
The split tailgate is another old-school nod that comes in handy when you want to sort out your cargo before loading it.
Infotainment and controls
The words ‘supple’ and ‘soothing’ come to mind when considering the LX 570’s instrument panel, and the center screen adds to the good feelings with clear graphics and a wide screen.
The joystick controller mounted next to the shifter isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s enough haptic feedback to help you train yourself to memorize the screen’s control maps and then guide the pointer through them without taking your eyes off the road for too long. Takes practice, but the studious will get there.
The LX 570’s roots in traditional SUV values means it is wildly overbuilt for its upscale and mostly suburban buyers.
But don’t let that stop you. If you don’t mind V8 gas consumption, the extra mass reigned in by the electro-hydraulic suspension can impart a feeling of safety that all the airbags in the world can’t offer something smaller.
It makes the LX 570 a vehicle that can seem uncompromised in fundamental ways, which could be exactly what you’re looking for.
2018 Lexus LX 570
Base price: $90,630
Price as tested, including $1,295 destination charge: $93,015
Luxury Package: $1,190
(includes heated and ventilated front- and second-row seats, four-zone climate concierge, semi-aniline perforated, leather–trimmed interior, LX projector door lamps)
Heated wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel: $150
- Powerful engine
- Steady handling
- Clear visibility
- Notable mass
- V8 consumption
- Limited second- and third-row legroom