Should you buy elsewhere? Or does the LX still have charm?
The 2021 Lexus LX 570 is one of the most intriguing SUVs on sale, mostly because it is also among the oldest. The third-generation version of the Lexus flagship SUV came out way back in 2007, and while it has received major facelifts since then, the guts are nearly identical. Based on various objective metrics, the LX could be considered one of the worst SUVs on sale today, but from a purely subjective viewpoint, some consider it as one of the best.
Rumors of a next-generation LX have been circulating for years, but it seems at least for now, Lexus continues to offer it reliable workhorse to buyers who want an old-school luxury truck. An LX customer is a very specific type of person, and after spending a week driving one, we've pinpointed why people keep buying it. Here are three things we love about the 2021 LX 570, and three things we hate.
After driving multiple modern luxury vehicles, it feels refreshing to hop into one with an old school approach to premium materials. Real, unvarnished wood welcomes you into the LX's cabin, and once inside, you will sink into the semi-aniline leather seats, which absorb your posterior like a Lazy-Boy recliner. Every control and every surface in the LX feels like it is built to last, justifying every bit of its $100,000 as-tested price. An analog clock adds a touch of old school elegance and the gauges look like a an expensive chronograph.
The LX may sit at the top of the Lexus lineup, but this luxury flagship is missing a ton of crucial tech features. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are alarmingly absent, and the Remote Touch interface is frustrating to use. We found ourselves continually missing menu items on the screen, wishing the LX kept its touchscreen system like the smaller GX. In the back seat, a $2,005 dual-screen entertainment system allows passengers to watch movies and other media, but for even less money, you could stick a pair of iPads back there. The LX also misses some of the advanced features found in other flagship models, like semi-autonomous driving or massaging seats.
The LX shares its underpinnings with the Toyota Land Cruiser, a world-class SUV of epic proportions. With a 5.7-liter V8 engine generating 383 horsepower, a body-on-frame platform, and a slew of off-road controls, the LX can go where most luxury flagships will need to call a tow truck. The body-on-frame design also makes the LX feel floaty and truck-like, an attribute that you'll either love or hate based on personal preference.
Since it was designed back in the mid-2000s, the LX shows signs of impracticality in all three rows. In the front, the array of off-road controls takes up so much space there's almost nowhere for the driver and passenger to stick their phones or other small items. In the second row, the seats curl up to give a large pass through into the third row, but you can see how this might be an issue if you have a car seat installed.
Speaking of the third row, the body-on-frame limits how Lexus could package the folding seats, so they take up a ton of valuable space on either side. Should cargo space be a higher priority, Lexus also offers the LX in two-row form.
Even after all these years, Lexus managed to keep one of the LX's most iconic features, the split tailgate. Like most luxury SUVs, the tailgate opens and closes electronically, but it is painfully slow in its operation, and unlike a BMW X5 or Range Rover, the bottom half is manual. Fortunately, Lexus includes a defeat button, which turns the tailgate into a fully manual affair, making it quicker and easier to use.
A body-on-frame design is great for ground clearance and durability, but it severely hampers the LX's interior volume. Compared to nearly any modern crossover, the LX's measurements are shockingly tiny. The second-row seats, for example, only offer 34.4 inches of legroom. That's less than you get in a Toyota RAV4. The third-row seats are equally cramped and in terms of storage space, the LX feels less practical than its massive size indicates. Other full-size luxury SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator have it beat on practicality.