by Jared Rosenholtz
The zenith of luxury and comfort is embodied in this flagship three-row SUV from Lexus: the spacious, powerful and imposing LX 570 also boasts remarkable off-roading capabilities and has a track record spanning more than a decade. Under the hood of the LX 570, a 5.7-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine produces 383 horsepower and 402 lb-ft of torque, sending these figures to an all-wheel-drivetrain via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The LX 570 shares its underpinnings with that of the Toyota Land Cruiser but is deemed as the aggrandized version of the Japanese off-road SUV. Desperately in need of an upgrade, the LX 570 - for all its glory and strong points - feels somewhat outdated, and with esteemed rivals such as the Mercedes Benz G-Class, Infiniti QX80, and the Land Rover Discovery, an overhaul couldn't come sooner. That being said, the LX 570 remains a distinguished competitor, offering exceptional luxury and comfort and, at the same time, providing high-caliber off-road capabilities. The charm of the LX 570 is in the effective balance between these characteristics, leaving the question open-ended: is this luxury SUV still relevant?
Having undergone its last major redesign in 2008, it would be expected that the LX 570 receive some considerable enhancements and additions coming into 2019; sadly, changes remain minimal. Three new standard features have been added, including exterior puddle lamps, a digital clock incorporated into the driver's digital display, and Lexus's Enform Remote app which now features smartwatch and Amazon Alexa integration. Proximity-approach lighting which displays the LX logo on the ground outside the front doors can be added by means of equipping the Luxury Package, which is new for this year on the two-row model.
The LX 570 is noticed wherever it goes; whether this is a good thing or not depends on whether you find the boxy, imposing body shape aesthetically pleasing, or slightly outdated - the general populace seems divided on this front. With 20-inch aluminum wheels machined in dark gray, the LX features premium triple-beam LED headlamps, intelligent high beams, and electrochromic (auto-dimming) outside mirrors with courtesy lights. Aluminum roof rails are part of the standard profile and running boards with integrated courtesy lights are present. This SUV also has an integrated tow hitch receiver installed.
The LX 570 is big, make no mistake. It spans a length of 200-inches with 112.2-inches between the wheels, which is longer than the enigmatic Land Cruiser, but not quite as impressive as the BMW X7. At 78-inches in width, it stands 75.20-inches tall and has the same class-leading ground clearance proffered by the Land Cruiser at 8.9-inches. The two-row LX 570 weighs in at the higher-end of the class with a curb weight of 5,800 pounds, topping out at 6,000 lbs when configured as the three-row variant. By virtue of the electronically-controlled, height-adjustable shock absorbers in the suspension, the approach angle of 25 degrees can be adjusted to 27 degrees, and the departure angle of 20 degrees can be increased to 23 degrees, which is impressive for a luxury SUV.
There is a palette of six price-inclusive exterior options which include Eminent White Pearl, Atomic Silver, Nebula Gray Pearl, Black Onyx, Satin Cashmere Metallic, and Nightfall Mica. The Satin Cashmere Metallic option can only be paired with the Parchment Leather interior and Dark Mocha wood trim, while all other color options can be mixed-and-matched at will. Though the available spectrum seems a bit limited (and again, in need of a refresh), the Eminent White Pearl option is striking in its ability to remain Sex In The City chic on-road, yet George of the Jungle confident off-road.
With the 5.7-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission at its core, the LX 570 manages a 0-60 mph time of 7.3 seconds, which although respectable for its general bulk, seems rather unenthusiastic relative to class rivals. The BMW X7 with only 335 horsepower from its turbocharged inline-six engine, hit the 60 mph mark in just 5.4 seconds but is geared for on-road use. Geared with an identical powertrain setup, the Toyota Land Cruiser proved marginally slower with a 7.4 second 0-60 mph time.
The LX 570 bears a maximum towing capacity of 7,000 pounds, which is average in this segment, but with 4,500 lbs in tow already feels laborious to drive. The self-leveling suspension is beneficial when applying tongue weight, and the stability control system features trailer sway control. The BMW X7 has a slightly higher tow capacity of 7,500 lbs and the Toyota Land Cruiser nears the top of the class, managing a maximum tow capacity of 8,200 lbs.
Vehicles in this segment tend to be all-wheel-drive by virtue of the off-road advantages, and the LX is no different with its full-time 4WD configuration more capable than BMW's simple AWD setup.
Equipped with the 5.7-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine, the LX 570 delivers 383 hp and 403 lb-ft through the eight-speed automatic transmission. The V8 engine is sufficiently responsive and delivers power adequately in most driving circumstances. With assertive pressure on the pedal for initial acceleration, the LX musters up its muscle steadily to reach higher speeds - it is by no means fast, but it is consistent. The transmission, however, is sluggish and dull, occasionally acting erratically when driving the SUV up gradual inclines, and seeming indecisive when attempting passing maneuvers on the open road. By default, it often feels as though the large SUV is unwieldy, and although the powertrain is robust, it's not particularly hurried in its approach.
Despite its plush appearance, this SUV is in its element when off-road, and it is appropriately geared with all-terrain features that include crawl control, adaptive variable suspension with active height control, a locking center differential, and a two-speed transfer case, constituting the LX 570 as one of the most capable off-road SUVs in the class. The excellent traction management system and adjustable suspension offer acute articulation, and the ability to increase ground clearance makes for a versatile adventurer. On the road, however, the LX 570 can be incongruous, presenting an unsteady and rougher ride than most rivals with plenty of body roll around turns. It is also limited in close-quarter maneuverability due to its wide turning circle.
Spacious and comfortable inside, ride comfort in the LX 570 is soft but lacking in composure and support which is expected from a luxury all-terrain vehicle. Tracking straight is a breeze in the LX 570; steering is responsive to driver inputs and minimal effort is required to keep it steady. But with a load of weight to carry and an off-road focus, the steering can feel excessively heavy around turns. Although brakes are adequately powerful for the hefty SUV, the pedal feels spongy and responds inconsistently which detracts further from a generally mediocre drive.
There are four selectable drive modes which all illicit noticeable adjustments in ride feel. In comfort mode, the vehicle feels tall and produces apprehensive body roll around bends. This is exacerbated in Sport mode, where trifling jitteriness becomes even more evident. The normal and ECO modes make for the most bearable ride quality, but still lacks the aplomb desired from a luxury vehicle.
The 5.7-liter V8 engine is an expected gas guzzler, earning bottom-rung EPA estimates, even by the large SUV standards. In city/highway/combined driving cycles the LX 570 manages only 13/18/15 mpg respectively. The BMW X7 variant with a competitively-sized 4.4-liter turbocharged engine and eight-speed auto gearbox tops those numbers, earning EPA estimates of 15/21/17 mpg. The Toyota Land Cruiser shares the terrible gas mileage rates of the Lexus. The LX 570 holds a total of 24.6-gallons of premium unleaded gas per tank and can travel a maximum distance of 369-miles in mixed driving conditions before needing to top up, however in the real-world expect a number of factors to adversely affect this estimate.
The interior of the LX 570 has been meticulously designed and styled with luxury and comfort in mind. Visually, the interior gives a sense of opulence which Lexus has become synonymous with; soft-touch materials are plentiful and the cushioned seats are comfortable. The cabin is quiet and serene. Build and material quality are excellent, and it is here where the LX 570 reveals its advantage over the legendary Land Cruiser. The front and second-row seats are positioned ergonomically with sufficient room to relax. Door-side armrests and a second-row center armrest are conveniently positioned. Headroom in the third-row is just adequate, but legroom and space for larger passengers are notably limited. On the three-row LX 570, adding the exclusively available rear-seat entertainment system with dual 11.6-in displays, HDMI input, USB ports, and wireless headphones dials up the excitement factor, but detracts from the adjustability of the second-row seats, making ingress and egress to the third-row seats more difficult.
Two available models allow for a seating capacity of either five in the two-row LX 570 or a maximum of eight in the three-row variant. Seat comfort is top-class and is generously spaced, with the driver and front passenger seats being particularly supportive and extensively adjustable. Finding an optimal driving position is no problem, thanks to the fourteen-way power-adjustable seats that have a memory function, which enables a commanding view of the road with excellent visibility. The second-row seats are power-sliding and split in 60/40 configuration with 40/20/40-split seatbacks available as well. For the eight-seater model, the third row folds down in a 50/50 split, tucking away to the side panels. With all seats installed, the second row is relatively accommodating in terms of head- and legroom, although the center armrest can be uncomfortably low for taller folk. Room in the third row is tight and the resulting posture of sitting there is quite restrictive and confining.
Perforated leather upholstery is standard in the LX 570, and the optional Luxury Package upgrades the seating to semi-aniline leather. Available interior color-schemes include Black leather (which is off-set with Linear Espresso wood trim), Black semi-aniline leather (paired with Dark Brown Walnut trim), or Parchment leather combined with Linear Dark Mocha wood trim. A final option is Parchment semi-aniline leather, matched to open-pore Brown Walnut trim. Available only with the installation of the Luxury Package is a striking Cabernet semi-aniline leather option, which is paired with Linear Espresso wood trim.
A total of 45 cubic feet of cargo capacity is available in the five-seater model when the second-row seats are folded down. The same figure applies in the three-row version, although the back seats flipping up to the side create an odd space to pack. That's enough room for your vacation luggage, and a compact freezer (to bring home that fishing bounty). You may as well make use of the 120V AC power outlet in the cargo area, which is quite useful for such plug-ins as fridges, extension cables or camping lights. With the third-row seats in place, cargo space decreases to 9.1 cu-ft, meaning you will need a trailer if you plan on going anywhere far with a fully packed cabin - 9.1 cu-ft is just enough space for a week's worth of groceries. The trunk is designed with a split liftgate-tailgate which is handy for loading but can make it difficult to reach deep cargo.
Deep door pockets are present but are a little narrow for larger objects. Shallow cup holders are available in the front, and a moderately sized console is located beneath the center armrest. For bigger items, the glovebox is rather limited, leaving you with fewer options for purses, laptops and the like. The second row of seats also get door side pockets, and the center seat backrest folds down to double as an armrest with a small console. Two additional cup holders are placed conveniently for third-row passengers.
Standard features don't differ between the two models, however, the two-row model does get a tonneau cover exclusively. For the three-row model, other than the 50/50 split-side folding third-row seats, there are a handful of standalone features available for purchase. Both models are appointed with SmartAccess technology and push-button Start/Stop, a power moonroof, power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, 14-way power-adjustable and heated driver's seat including dual-function lumbar and cushion extender, and the same on the front passenger's seat, although it adjusts twelve ways. The second-row seats are power-sliding, and the cabin features four-zone automatic climate control with interior air filter, smog sensor, and automatic recirculation mode.
Infotainment setup in the LX 570 is based on a 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display equipped with the Enform App Suite, HD and satellite radio, a navigation system, and a Lexus nine-speaker premium sound system. Apple users are accommodated with the inclusion of Apple CarPlay for entertainment and Siri Eyes for easy Voice Command; unfortunately for Android users, their devices are not yet supported. Additionally, there is standard Voice Command and Bluetooth capability and a USB port for device charging and basic connectivity. Audio, Navigation, and climate control adjustments are all made via the Remote Touch interface which is a notable hindrance as it is distracting for the driver, and not particularly intuitive when used. However, the display is crisp and the audio system is decent. The navigation screen does seem overly cluttered though, and to make use of full device integration, Navibridge and Enform need to be installed.
Sharing the dependable underpinnings of the Toyota Land Cruiser, JD Power scored the 2019 Lexus LX 570 with an exceptional, above-average rating of 4.5 out of five for predicted reliability. Still, on December 13, 2018, the NHTSA did issue a recall for the 2019 model. 89,740 LX 570s were affected by a sensor wire breakage issue that deactivates the airbags throughout the SUV and would naturally prove to detract from passenger safety. The LX 570 is covered by a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty, together with a four-year/unlimited-mile roadside assistance plan.
As with main rival Toyota Land Cruiser, there are currently no crash test ratings or safety evaluations available from government authorities for any model of the Lexus LX 570, nor have any crash test evaluations been done in other markets that the LX 570 is available in. Despite this, the vehicle is well-equipped with on-board safety features and driver aids to prioritize passenger well-being.
The LX 570 has been kitted out with an array of standard safety features and advanced driver assists, most notably the Lexus Safety System+ which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, all-speed dynamic radar, cruise control, lane departure alert, and intelligent high beams. Also standard across the range is blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, intuitive parking assist, a panoramic view monitor and multi-terrain monitor. There are ten airbags located throughout the cabin, and the included Enform Safety Connect and Service Connect packages are complimentary for the first ten years of ownership.
By virtue of the LX 570s superior off-road capability, excellent build quality, and comfortable interior, the answer to this question is yes. But with conditions. With exceptional predicted reliability ratings and a comprehensive range of safety and advanced driver-assist features as standard, the LX 570 has everything needed to qualify as a luxury SUV. That said, it does trail behind many of its rivals in several key areas, including ride composure, handling and infotainment systems. With its large dimensions and heavy steering, ride comfort is not always luxurious and with limited maneuverability feels ponderous for the most part. Fuel-efficiency - although similar to some competitors - is dismal, even by SUV standards. The biggest drawback for the LX 570 is that it is a decade overdue for a major refresh - like the Land Cruiser, it is desperately in need of modern touches and perhaps a more relevant look overall. So, whilst it is a good luxury SUV, it doesn't feature near the top of its class and some shopping around is suggested for buyers in this market.
For buyers interested in the two-row LX 570, a starting MSRP of $86,230 can be budgeted for. The three-row version costs $91,230, excluding Lexus' delivery, processing and handling fee of $1,295. Both prices also do not include US taxes, registration, and license fees. Prices may vary from dealer to dealer, and dealer-specific incentives and accessory options may also be offered. The LX 570 is slightly more expensive than the popular Toyota Land Cruiser but marginally cheaper than the fully-loaded BMW X7.
There are two LX 570 models: a two-row model, and a three-row version, both equipped with the same powertrain. Under the hood, a naturally aspirated 5.7-liter V8 engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which forwards power to an all-time all-wheel drivetrain. Performance specs remain identical between the two models and the standard guise is set, with customization available on both trims.
Differences between the models are minimal and mainly focus on the fact that the two-row LX seats five occupants and the three-row LX seats a maximum of eight. With the addition of the extra rear seats, the three-row LX does also gain exclusive access to a range of worthwhile standalone options, with the base model having only the one optional Luxury Package to add. Standard interior and exterior features, as well as overall cosmetics, are identical, other than a trivial Tonneau cover that's only included with the two-row LX 570.
Standard across both models are 20-inch aluminum wheels, premium triple-beam LED headlamps and intelligent high beams, electrochromic (auto-dimming) outside mirrors with courtesy lights, aluminum roof rails, running boards with integrated courtesy lights, and an integrated tow hitch receiver. An adaptive variable suspension with active height
and crawl control featuring turn assist, automatic load leveling, and multi-terrain select are also equipped across the range.
There aren't many additional packages available for the LX 570, but there is a range of standalone options and accessories that can be purchased. The most appealing of these are the $150 heated wood and leather-trimmed steering wheel, and the 21-inch split-ten-spoke alloy wheels priced at $745. Notable options exclusive to the three-row LX 570 are the $75 wireless smartphone charger, $900 head-up display, and the $2,350 Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system. At an extra $1,190, the Luxury Package is available for both models and upgrades to heated and ventilated front- and second-row seats, four-zone climate concierge, semi-aniline perforated leather-trimmed interior, and LX projector door lamps.
It makes sense to opt for the three-row LX 570, although at $5,000 more, it comes with exclusive availability to some impressive standalone options such as a head-up display, wireless charger, and the brilliant Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system. Additionally, the rear-seat entertainment system with dual 11.6-in displays, HDMI input, and wireless headphones could be beneficial to larger families who often take extended road-trips. As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry - and if you need more seating, the three-row has it. When not in use, seats can be stowed, leaving you with the same features as the five-seater version. However, if you don't require seating for eight and would prefer the cargo space or don't need those exclusive additional options, then the two-row LX 570 will suffice. It boasts the same vehicle features and delivers identical performance specs to the three-row model, just with regular five-passenger seating capacity.
The BMW X7 is an all-new model from the German powerhouse and falls within an almost identical price range as the 2019 LX 570 if you opt for the fully-loaded version. At the entry point to the range, the X7 costs only $74,895 but features a significantly smaller engine and less onboard features. The top-spec X7 is the equivalent of the three-row LX 570, featuring the similar three-row configuration but with seating for only seven occupants. It offers a more refined, more powerful engine comprised of a 4.4-liter turbo V8, with outputs of 456 hp and 479 lb-ft. This is quite a bit more than what the Lexus manages to produce. Exterior and interior features are relatively similar between the rivals, but the X7 is on-road focused where the LX 570 caters to more off-road adventure. The LX 570 holds a higher maximum towing capacity than the X7's 5,400 pounds, but the third-row seats in the X7 are at least adequate for slender adults. In typical BMW fashion, the X7 feels smoother on the road than the LX 570 and has an available Dynamic Handling Package which further improves ride comfort. The BMW X7 manages to better harmonize its limited off-road capability with its on-road comfort, making it the better luxury SUV in this comparison.
The basic design and underpinnings are the same between the LX 570 and the Land Cruiser, so their ability to produce power, speed, and fuel economy is fairly equal. While the Land Cruiser has the benefit of an enigmatic reputation for its off-roading prowess, the LX 570 is unquestionably more luxurious, presenting an opulent, feature-rich interior. The Land Cruiser seems to neglect passenger consideration with limited comfort and convenience features available, for the already dolorous second and third-row seats. Overall features in the LX 570 are more comprehensive than in the Land Cruiser, and there are more options available to add on in the Lexus. The Land Cruiser does exhibit slightly better handling dynamics and ride composure both on and off-road, and it has a better towing capacity with more cargo space than the LX 570. Although the Land Cruiser is backed by Toyota's esteemed history and undeniable reliability, the LX 570 portrays plenty promise, and that - combined with its good value for money - make it the better option, but not by very much.