2018 Lexus LX570 - Lexus Keeps it Old-School, Again
When we reviewed the 2017 Lexus GS F earlier this year, we concluded that it was an old-school competitor holding its own against newcomers. The LX570 is no different - Lexus seems to be focused on perfecting traditional technology while the competition experiments with newer. The LX is a tried-and-true sport-utility vehicle; a body-on-frame behemoth with a naturally-aspirated V8 living in an era filled with unibody crossovers packing turbo-charged or hybrid powertrains. While most potential SUV buyers are looking for autonomous driving features and fuel efficiency, the LX offers neither. At $90,000+, what you get in the LX is full-time four-wheel-drive with low range, a 7000lb towing capacity, and mountainous prestige.
Our test vehicle is the third-gen version of the Lexus LX, a model that dates back to 2007. In it's current look, the LX was introduced in the 2016 model year. It is the third redesign, among a series of slight ones, that the mammoth sport-ute has received during its time. Since its inception, the LX has been based almost entirely on the Toyota Land Cruiser, save for a few less-premium interior materials. When you consider that not much is being said in automotive circles about a possible replacement for the LX, it's probably safe to assume that this current iteration will stick around at least until the end of the decade.
The LX570 may be aging, but you wouldn't it at first glance. A handsome SUV, the LX adheres to Lexus' modern design language - full of sharp lines and a huge spindle grille. Especially from the front, the LX exudes an aggressive and triumphant posture. At it's core, this is still a truck we're talking about, so it's profile looks appropriately boxy.
For as large as it is, the LX570 offers off-road capability in a way that not many competitors can. The Range Rover comes close but it's somewhat smaller and only has five seats compared to the Lexus's three-rowed eight. The Cadillac Escalade is of similar size and prestige when compared to the LX570 but it doesn't have half the off-road capability. A fully-loaded Chevrolet Tahoe may come closest to the Lexus when it come to size and ability - but do we even have to bring up the brand cache comparison...?
For as off-road capable and prestigious as the LX570 is, it's also certainly lacking in the driving dynamics department. Steering feel is mostly numb and the rack is slow. Brakes are spongy and non-communicative - slowing the 6000lb SUV from speed can become a white-knuckle experience as the brake pedal takes its time to react and you approach stopped cars ahead.
We hate to bring this up again, but it's just such a consistent problem, a problem that permeates the entire Lexus brand - Infotainment. Lexus offers one of, if not the worst infotainment systems among luxury brands. The LX's version is no exception. Controls have been improved over previous versions of Lexus' Enform system, but on the whole it is still a headache to manage while driving. It just demands entirely too much focus to use. The widescreen 12.3-inch display looks good, not great.
Drive through any big city in America and it becomes obvious that full size, luxury SUVs are still very popular. Compact and mid-size crossovers are growing in number, but there are still plenty of luxo big rigs to be found. According to Lexus, LX570 sales were up nearly 15% in July 2017 over prior year. It's evident that buyers are still drawn to this gargantuan, leather-clad sport-ute despite all its shortcomings. And of course, the respect that this vehicle commands on the road can be, admittedly, addicting.
Practically any other SUV in this price range will likely drive better or be more luxurious - or both. The only reason to drop nearly $100K on the LX570 above one of its competitors is if you truly need a giant luxury SUV with seating for eight and the off-roading talents suitable for almost any terrain in the world - even though most LX570s never see dirt. That said, people own and drive track monsters like the Lamborghini Huracán Performante on the street - and many of them never see racetracks. I say, drive what you want.
Awful infotainment system
Dated overall feel
Specs: Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve DOHC V8 with Dual VVT-i Drivetrain: AWD
Power: 383hp @ 5,600 rpm Torque: 403 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm Transmission: 8-Speed Sequential Shift Automatic Wheelbase: 112.2 in
MPG: 13/18 Curb Weight: 6,000 lbs Base Price: $89,980 Price as Tested: $98,065