Most flagship luxury SUVs are trending in the same direction; engines are getting smaller, vehicles are becoming less rugged, and in-cabin technology is becoming overwhelming. The softening of large SUVs makes sense, as most owners will never take their vehicle on anything more treacherous than the grass parking lot of a soccer field. But there are still a few out there, like the 2021 Lexus LX 570, that offers more off-road capability than the majority of buyers could ever take advantage of. The LX is the full-size flagship SUV from Lexus, built on the same platform and underpinnings as the legendary Toyota Land Cruiser. Lexus has only given the LX minimal updates over the past several years, resulting in an SUV with old school characteristics and a surprising list of tech omissions.
Whereas the rest of the Lexus lineup is geared towards hybridization, the LX soldiers on with only one engine option in the US, a 5.7-liter V8, producing an under-stressed 383 horsepower and 403 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent through a robust four-wheel-drive system, with the LX's body-on-frame design and V8 engine combination providing excellent off-road and towing capabilities. Should you be in the market for an 8-seater luxury SUV that can tackle all-terrain and last long enough to be handed down to your kids, the LX is a bulletproof, but outdated, option in the USA.
The 2021 Lexus LX arrives with a few small changes to the lineup, most notably the addition of a new and limited package called the Inspiration Series. This comes on the three-row SUV only and is equipped with pretty much all available features. In addition, a new Glazed Caramel interior color scheme and Nori Green Pearl paint color are on offer while the infotainment system now boasts Amazon Alexa capability. Beyond that, a new Sport Package is coming to the three-row model with unique styling accents and special 21-inch forged wheels.
See trim levels and configurations:
Despite its immense off-road capabilities, the Lexus LX is well-dressed and would look at home just about anywhere. The front features a massive grille surrounded by chrome while the massaged hood and triple-beam LED headlights point inwards. There's a power sunroof with aluminum roof rails as standard exterior features, while the rear features a roof-mounted spoiler, lots more chrome, and a bulky bumper. 20-inch wheels are standard with 21s available. When the Sport Package arrives, models equipped with it will boast machined-finish 21-inch wheels, sporty spoilers front and rear, a unique grille, and a sport rear valance. No matter how you equip the LX, it's less gaudy and ostentatious than similarly-priced SUVs, and blends into the background more than it stands out.
As you can see from the pictures, the LX is not a small vehicle. It's not as large as something like the Lincoln Navigator, but it's not easy to miss either. The specs read at exactly 200 inches long with a wheelbase of 112.2 inches. Height measures 75.2 inches while ground clearance is rated at 8.9 inches. For the off-roaders among us, the approach and departure angles measure 25 and 20 degrees respectively with a 23-degree breakover. The width is 78 inches on the dot while curb weight for the two-row starts at 5,800 pounds. The three-row is a little porkier at 6,000 lbs.
The LX 570 is available in four no-cost colors, namely Atomic Silver, Black Onyx, Nightfall Mica, and the new-for-2021 Nori Green Pearl, but you can also opt for Eminent White Pearl for $425 more. No other paint options are on offer, and although we think white looks great on this SUV, we'd probably opt for the Nightfall Mica option as this blue shade looks very classy on the LX.
Just one engine is offered with the Lexus LX. If you're wondering where the 570 part of the name comes from, the size of the engine gives you the answer. It's a 5.7-liter naturally aspirated V8 that has been around since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. It produces 383 horsepower and 403 lb-ft of torque, enough for you to tow as much as 7,000 lbs. Interestingly, the almost identical Toyota Land Cruiser can pull 8,100 lbs. In terms of acceleration, the LX is neither quick nor excessively sluggish, achieving the 0 to 60 mph run in 7.3 seconds. Keep your foot flat and the eight-speed automatic will click through the gears until you reach a top speed of 137 mph. Sure, it's not fast, but that permanent four-wheel-drive system - rather than AWD as found on crossovers - can traverse tricky terrain with the best of them. In addition, the LX features an adaptive suspension that offers a sufficient level of comfort over almost all surfaces.
The LX is old school, and nowhere is this more prominent than under the hood where a simple V8 engine lives without any assistance from turbochargers or electric motors. It produces an under-stressed 383 hp and 403 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to silent hum along without much effort, though rapid increases in speed are tough to come by. Lexus has attempted to isolate occupants from the V8, so you only hear a faint whisper from under the hood when you tap the accelerator. Mash the pedal, and the V8 produces a more audible roar, but the LX doesn't feel like it's going much faster. Such is the downside of a circa 6,000-pound SUV.
An eight-speed automatic transmission sends the power smoothly out to all four wheels, with gear changes occurring without any disruption to passenger comfort. With so much torque on tap, the LX rarely feels the need to downshift in normal traffic, but if you need a quick burst of acceleration, the eight-speed 'box can quickly drop a few cogs to get the big bruiser up to speed.
By nature of its body-on-frame design, the LX will remind you of the SUVs from yesteryear with their sloppy steering, floaty suspension, and tippy handling. These all sound like negative attributes, but for drivers who prefer the old school feeling of driving a truck, the LX will feel endearing. The steering is surprisingly heavy for a luxury SUV and when you turn it, there's a noticeable lag before the front end moves to either direction. On freeway on-ramps, the LX can sometimes feel like it's about to tip over, but that's just a reminder that SUVs never used to handle like cars with higher ride heights.
The LX includes an array of drive modes ranging from Comfort up to Sport +, but they feel so similar, it's tough to notice a difference with any of them. Even in the softest suspension settings, the LX bounces around like a truck over rough pavement, though the impacts are met with a soft rebound that won't jostle passengers too much. It's an interesting approach to comfort that feels appropriate for such a large SUV. The LX doesn't absorb bumps, it imposes its will upon them. Coming from a more modern SUV like a Range Rover, the LX may feel like using a typewriter, but some might prefer its old school charms and truck-like driving characteristics.
Whether you opt for the two-row or the three-row version of the LX, both are very thirsty. That's to be expected from a big V8 with no forced induction, but this SUV is particularly unkind to your fuel budget. Both variants of the LX achieved mileage figures of just 12/16/14 mpg on the EPA's city/highway/combined cycles. We averaged 14.6 mpg during our week-long test drive. To counter the thirst of the engine and avoid having you stop for gas every few minutes, the LX comes with a 24.6-gallon gas tank. With mixed driving, you can expect an average range of around 344 miles.
The LX may not be the most advanced vehicle in the world, especially considering its infotainment system doesn't even have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, only Siri Eyes Free and Amazon Alexa. However, it has a truly stunning cabin that is tastefully and solidly appointed. Atop the dash sits a large 12.3-inch infotainment display. It doesn't have touch capability, but like the rest of the car, it's neither flashy nor cheap. There's plenty of room for those in the first row, but the other two rows aren't particularly spacious. Still, at least this car comes standard with plenty of features, including heated power-adjustable front seats and four-zone automatic climate control.
Lexus sells the LX as a two-row or three-row SUV, offering five and eight seats respectively. Occupants in the front row will find plenty of room, though the dashboard is not organized well to store small items. In the back seat, rear occupants receive an astonishingly low 34.4 inches of legroom due to the LX's body-on-frame design, trailing behind many a modern subcompact crossover. On the three-row model, a 50:50-split bench seat folds down from the sides of the cargo compartment, offering three seats with small-ish dimensions that are best left for small children - try just 28.3 inches of legroom on for size. Getting back to the third row is relatively easy with second-row seats that collapse and fold forward, but good luck if you have a car seat installed. Headroom is at least generous in all three rows due to the LX's towering height.
No version of the Lexus LX SUV feels spartan, with standard perforated leather trim on all seats. If you opt for the Luxury Package, you get semi-aniline perforated leather trim, which feels supple and cushy like an old fashioned leather recliner. The seats lack a bewildering amount of adjustment, but they are soft and comfortable once you sink into the leather. Lexus offers either Black or Parchment leather with Linear Espresso wood trim as standard. The Luxury Package opens up more exciting options like open-pore Brown Walnut trim and smart Cabernet (red) leather, or Dark brown Walnut with black semi-aniline leather. This package also avails the LX to the new Glazed Caramel upholstery color. We particularly enjoy the open-pore wood, which gives the LX a bespoke, hand-made feel.
If you opt for the two-row LX, you get an impressive 53.7 cubic feet of volume behind the rear seats. That's more than enough to take full-size luggage for each passenger and a little extra. In the three-row, the space behind the rearmost seats is limited to 16.3 cubic feet, until you fold those seats for a total of 41.6 cubic feet. Those rear seats fold up to the cargo area walls rather than into the floor, which hampers storage space. In either version of the LX, folding all rear seats gives you an expansive 81.3 cubes - more than enough for you to fit a couple of mountain bikes in the back if you're so inclined.
In the cabin, you get deep but narrow door pockets, center armrest storage, a glovebox, but only a very limited storage space in the dash for a phone that can double as a wireless charger. All of the off-road and drive mode controls take up a ton of space, so there isn't much room left for items like your sunglasses or keys.
The LX 570 is well-equipped as standard, boasting useful features like trailer sway control, heated power front seats, and a power sunroof. It also gets ambient lighting, LED headlights with auto high beams, heated power-folding wing mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a power rear door, remote start through the Lexus app, keyless entry with push-button ignition, and a bunch of safety equipment that includes forward collision detection with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. In true infomercial fashion, there's more: a surround-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, an off-road underbody imaging system, hill start assist, adaptive cruise control, adaptive suspension, and lane departure warning are all included as standard. Available features include a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated first- and second-row outboard seats, and a four-zone climate concierge system that calibrates the temperature of the seats and steering wheel to suit the air temperature of the cabin. A cooled center glovebox and, on three-row models only, a head-up display and a power-folding 3rd row can also be equipped.
The LX's infotainment system comes housed on a nicely-sized 12.3-inch display with crisp resolution and clear images. Unfortunately, there's no touchscreen, meaning you are forced to use the Remote Touch controller, a mouse-like device situated on the center console. Hitting the right menu item often takes multiple tries, and you can forget about using the system without taking your eyes off the road. To make matters worse, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto remain absent from the LX's technology suite. It does include Siri Eyes Free, built-in navigation, Bluetooth and USB smartphone connectivity, the Lexus Enform Remote with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, and Lexus Enform Destination Assist though. A nine-speaker Lexus premium audio system comes standard, but we recommended upgrading to the phenomenal 19-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system. The optional dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system is less of a must-have option.
Lexus is a Toyota brand, so it should come as no surprise that neither the 2020 nor the 2021 versions of the Lexus LX 570 have any recalls.
In the event of any issues, the LX comes with a limited warranty for the first four years or 50,000 miles while the powertrain is covered for an additional two years or 20,000 miles, whichever comes first. Complimentary scheduled maintenance is provided for the first year or 10,000 miles, which is odd considering that Toyota's almost identical Land Cruiser gets a two-year/25,000-mile maintenance package.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has a review of the Lexus LX to see how it fares in a crash, but with a solid frame and a long list of standard safety features, it should attain high marks in all but the rollover rating.
As standard, the Lexus LX comes with almost all available safety features for the model, including an impressive 10 airbags including knee and rear-seat side airbags. In addition, you get triple-beam LED headlights with auto high beams, rain-sensing wipers, forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, trailer sway control, hill start assist, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, and a surround-view camera. The only feature not available on the so-called base model is a head-up display.
The 2021 Lexus LX 570 feels like a caveman living in modern society. This old school truck-based SUV will only cater to a small demographic of buyers who value toughness and reliability over flashy technology, but to those shoppers, the LX is unmatched. There are plenty of alternatives positioned at this price point, though none are quite like the LX. Options like the Land Rover Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen are flashier and offer similar off-road capabilities but without the bulletproof track record of reliability.
We recommend the LX for the type of buyer who is entering or nearing retirement and thinks this could be the last vehicle they ever buy. With Land Cruiser underpinnings, the LX feels built to last a lifetime, then you can hand it down for your children and grandchildren to enjoy. Other SUVs outclass it in driving refinement and technology by a century or two, but should you be a driver who prefers how old school SUVs used to feel, you'll find a lot to love with the Lexus LX. An all-new Lexus LX has long been rumored, but with strong residual values and a diehard fanbase, the current model depreciates far less than the similarly-priced competition, making it a solid option to buy and hold onto for a long time.
The two-row version of the Lexus LX has a price of $86,580, before a $1,025 destination fee. The three-row model carries a base price of $91,580, but a fully loaded model will cost a little over $100,800. That MSRP will presumably be inflated a little when the Sport package arrives, but the Inspiration Series offering is already sold out, despite a $99,310 asking price, so there's not much more you can do to make the LX 570's pricing resemble that of a top-spec Range Rover.
Just two trims are on offer for the 2021 Lexus LX: 570 Two-Row and 570 Three-Row. The two are almost identical, but the three-row variant gets access to extra options.
Both variants of the LX 570 come with 20-inch wheels as standard and get the option of 21-inch alloys. Each is also equipped with a 5.7-liter V8 producing 383 hp and 403 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission permanently splits power between all four wheels. Leather upholstery is standard with wood trim that looks far better than the tacky wood often seen on domestically produced SUVs. You also get a power sunroof, heated power-adjustable front seats, quad-zone automatic climate control, a 12.3-inch infotainment display with navigation, a nine-speaker sound system, hill start assist, trailer sway control, parking sensors, adaptive suspension, and keyless entry with push-button start. Heated and ventilated first-row and outboard second-row seats are available as is a heated steering wheel.
A third option exists in the form of the already-sold-out Inspiration Series, which gets 21-inch black wheels, two exterior paint colors, blacked-out detailing, semi-aniline leather with Rioja Red accents, a head-up display, wireless charging pad, 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, and four-zone climate concierge.
Just one package is available to either variant of the 2021 Lexus LX 570. It's called the Luxury package and costs $1,190. Selecting this package adds a heated wood-and-leather steering wheel, projector puddle lights on the doors, heated and ventilated front and second-row outboard seats that work in tandem with the climate control system, and perforated semi-aniline leather. Standalone options include a cooled center console storage box for $170, the aforementioned heated steering wheel for $150, and, on the three-row model, a head-up display for 900 bucks. This model also gets access to a 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system for $2,350 or a $2,005 rear-seat entertainment setup with dual 11.6-inch screens.
Optioning an LX is pretty easy in the US, since there's only one "trim level" to select in either the two-row or three-row configurations. We'd go for the pricier three-row, just because having such a large SUV with only five seats seems a bit silly. We'd then opt for the $1,190 Luxury Package with the semi-aniline leather, the $170 cool box in the center armrest, and the $2,350 Mark Levinson audio system, keeping the LX well below six figures at $96,735.
The Lexus GX is a smaller version of the LX rather than one of its direct competitors and as such, it costs more than 30 grand less than the big LX 570. This model is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 producing 301 hp and 329 lb-ft of torque. However, despite being smaller, this model still squeezes three rows into the cabin. As a result, it's less comfortable for second- and third-row occupants. Surely the smaller engine then means a more efficient engine? Yes, but barely. The GX only manages EPA figures of 15/19/16 mpg compared to the LX 570's 12/16/14 mpg. In other respects, the GX is very similar to the LX too, offering the same sort of standard and available features. Since it's a lesser model, it gets dual-zone climate control and a smaller infotainment screen as standard. Essentially, this SUV is a shrunken LX, but if you can afford the LX, its benefits in space are worth the premium.
The Toyota Land Cruiser has styling that suits its off-road personality more than its luxury price tag. It costs a little over a grand less than the Lexus but comes with the same platform, engine, gearbox, and four-wheel-drive system, leading reviews of the two to be similar. As you'd expect, this means similar performance and fuel economy, but the Lexus is the fancier model and its interior makes this clear in this comparison. However, the Toyota can tow 1,100 lbs more than the LX and offers very similar options and features. At the end of the day, the Lexus offers slightly more upmarket features and materials but also provides slightly less cargo space. Essentially, the Lexus is the better luxury SUV while the Land Cruiser is the more practical option. As an everyday vehicle, we'd prefer the Lexus.
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