Christopher Little

Mammoth: 2014 Lexus LX570

The Lexus LX570 is like your grandmother’s parlor: big, leather-clad, and a bit dated. This luxury behemoth packs eight seats and eight cylinders on top of some serious 4×4 capabilities. Debuted in 2007 and refreshed in 2012, this third-generation LX570 is one of Lexus’ two remaining body-on-frame SUVs. Based on the Toyota Land Cruiser, Lexus’ larger-than-life SUV packs in more comfort, more features, and more bling.

Lexus LX570 1

The LX570 needs a commercial-grade drivetrain to move its 3 ton mass. The 5.7L V8 is the same engine found under the hood of the Toyota Tundra we tested last winter. With 383hp and 403lb ft torque, there’s enough power to propel the LX570 and tow 7,000 lbs. The Lexus also shares the same 6-speed automatic transmission. Behind that, however, is where the LX differentiates itself from the Tundra. The Lexus features full-time four-wheel drive with a Torsen limited-slip locking center differential. The standard 40:60 torque split is adjusted automatically based on conditions.

Lexus LX570 2

Further off-road capabilities come when you toggle the array of switchwork on the center console. It’s one of the few luxury SUVs to feature  selectable low-range and Active Height Control. At low speed, the LX570 can add two inches of ground clearance. Just as easily, it can lower itself substantially to ease entry/exit. The Lexus can also modulate its brakes as part of the Active Traction Control system, Crawl Control, and Hill-state Assist Control. To help navigate in tight spaces, Lexus has given the LX variable gear ratio steering and turn assist. At low speeds, the inside rear brake will activate to decrease the turning circle. When it comes to trail driving, you won’t have to worry about seeing another luxury SUV out in the woods. But even Lexus admits that most buyers won’t be dirtying their 20” wheels off-road.

Lexus LX570 7

On the road, where this LX570 will spend the majority of its time, the Adaptive Variable Suspension keeps things Lexus-smooth. Unfortunately, as we found in the GX, switching from Comfort to Sport doesn’t yield a noticeable difference. There’s a range between comfortable and slightly more comfortable. The LX570 uses its weight and adaptive suspension to flatten the road beneath it. The combination of soft suspension and Noah’s Arc dimensions don’t make for a dynamic ride. Steering is light but informative enough to prevent the car from feeling completely disconnected. But the Lexus’ biggest let down are its brakes. A soft pedal and lack of bite led to more than one uncomfortable stopping situation. Even after many miles, we didn’t find confidence in the LX’s stopping ability. Of course it can’t be easy stopping 6,000 lbs. of metal, leather, and wood.

Lexus LX570 6

The LX570 adopted the largest version of Lexus’ spindle grille shape in 2012. The extra width of LX makes the corporate grille seem more natural than the visage of the GX. Inside, the LX checks all the classic Lexus boxes. Big, comfortable, leather seats for eight sit high above the asphalt. Large swaths of wood and leather adorn the wheel, dash, and center console. The towering center stack fits the infotainment and HVAC controls well within reach. The LX has a full suite of Enform data, but the system is clearly dated. Out back, the third row splits and electrically folds up and outboard. It’s an unusual configuration, but provides a flat floor and added cargo height.

Lexus LX570 3

The Lexus’ prodigious size is only matched by its price tag. With a base price $20,000 higher than the Lincoln Navigator and $10,000 more than the Cadillac Escalade, the LX570 is very, very expensive. Our lightly-optioned tester rang in at just over $84,000, the base price of a new Range Rover. If one thing is clear, the added off-road capabilities come at a premium. Without them, the Lexus would struggle to differentiate itself. To be fair, most luxury SUVs feel a bit like grandmother’s house. But they all can’t take you over the river and through the woods. For the family that needs to roll in comfort, navigate tough terrain, and carry/tow just about everything, the LX570 is the answer.

-Christopher Little

2014 Lexus LX570
$81,780
 Climate Comfort Seats $640
 Intuitive Park Assist w/ Wide-view Cameras $1,000
 Accessory Package $260
 Destination Charges $910
As Tested MSRP $84,590

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First Drive: 2015 Lexus NX200t

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