When you’re going on a roadtrip with your family, it’s nice having a big vehicle that fits everyone in comfort. Even more so when it’s a big, luxury SUV. Much like our family roadtrip in the 2013 Infiniti JX, we’re once again heading out for a trip through the country of Texas, but this time we’re in an even more expensive vehicle. The Lexus LX is one of the most expensive vehicles Lexus sells, only topped by the hypercar LFA and LS hybrid sedan. It’s not all about having leather or dvd screens or a big V8 under the hood. Yes, the LX 570 has all of these, but it’s also a very capable vehicle when the roads run out and you find yourself climbing hills or running down a river bank.
This SUV is heavily built off the platform of the long-running Toyota Land Cruiser, which has always been a desired vehicle around the world for its capability and durability. The LX was originally built for the American market to compete with Luxury SUVs exploding in popularity in the mid-90’s. It’s now for sale in many markets around the world, but not sold in Japan. It’s also not available in markets around the world where the Land Cruiser 200 is sold.
For 2013, this luxury SUV has been given a small makeover including new looks with Lexus’ new “Spindle Grille” look up front. Also up front, you’ll notice some new LED daytime running lights inside the new headlamp design, as well as new larger fog lamp bezels. Around the side of the vehicle, we have the new 20-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels with a liquid graphite finish. Wrapping these wheels, standard, are some 285/50R20 mud and snow tires. Around the back, you’ll notice updated taillamps and a revised look around the license plate. Also revised is the tow hitch cover which is more integrated into the rear bumper. Just one look around this SUV and you should easily notice three things. One, it’s a Lexus. Two, it’s an extremely big vehicle. Three, it gives off a very luxurious yet powerful vibe.
The interior of the LX has been upgraded, as well, with features like mahogany wood trim and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system. Lots of off-road SUVs over do it with huge buttons and knobs all over the place because anyone that drives a SUV or truck wears work gloves and needs huge buttons. Not so much with this one. You do get some nice big toggle switches right in front of the armrest which control the ride and suspension settings for going off-road. Other than those, the interior is quite elegant and upscale feeling. Almost everything that is not wood is covered in leather and you have the option of cooled or heated seats as well as a heated steering wheel. Even the rear seats have a heated option.
A big part of making any road trip successful is easy access to cool beverages. This has been solved with a cooler nestled in the center console that can hold 3 or 4 bottles of water or cans of Dr. Pepper. Also helping with a long road trip is keeping the children entertained. The entertainment system in the LX was fantastic for us letting the children watch movies as we listened to music without bothering each other. The headphone system for the rear seats were a little more complicated than I would have liked as the one in the Toyota Sienna minivan where a cinch to use, but I figured it out and had the kids happy in no time.
Overall, the interior was comfortable and roomy. We traveled with 6-passengers which fit with ease in the 8-passenger SUV. Some 7, and even 8-passenger SUVs can get cramped when they start getting filled up in the back, but the kids had plenty of room and even when I climbed in the back there was still lots of hip and shoulder room for a full-sized adult.
Under the hood of the LX 570, I’m sure you might have guessed, is a 5.7-liter V8 that pushes 383-horsepower and 403-lb-ft of torque hooked up to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This is plenty of power to get this huge SUV up and moving in any circumstance, but it’s also a formula for bad fuel economy. No one, no matter your income, wants to worry about my fuel economy as we did. On average we were achieving a whopping 18-mpg on the highway and rapidly dropping when we hit city streets. So far, this is the only downside I’ve run across with this vehicle, but you can’t have a luxury SUV without a big V8, so I really wouldn’t have it any other way.
So for the big question, is this really capable for off road use or has the extra luxury ruined what was a good Land Cruiser? We arrived at our destination and decided to find out. After dropping off the kids and picking up the rest of the txGarage crew, we headed out to find somewhere to play. As we pulled off-road into what looked like a giant sandbox laid out just for this purpose, we switch the LX’s suspension out of comfort and into sport and put the hammer down. You can feel the tires losing traction beneath you, yet the vehicle continues to cling on and propel you forward with a big cloud of dust behind the vehicle. So far so good. We came across a steep hill with slippery sand standing between us and the top. We switched the transfer into high-4 and started our way up. Without even breaking a sweat, this big comfortable boat of an SUV made it to the top. This vehicle had an answer for everything we threw at it. Whether we had to switch a setting in the toggles provided or use the power we had on tap, the LX 570 did everything we hoped it would.
The base MSRP for the LX 570 starts at $81,530 (only $3,000 more than the base Land Cruiser) and our tester stacked up with a price of $90,170, including the $875 destination. This puts it in a very specific segment and niche market. Comparing this SUV to others can be difficult considering it does so much so well, but also cost so much. One of the main competitors is the Range Rover. Similarly priced with luxury and capability, the Range Rover is easily the biggest competitor and is a great vehicle tested and proven all around the world. This SUV may also be cross-shopped with the Mercedes G-Class, which starts at an even higher base price of $113k and is the only Class of Mercedes that sells more AMG badged vehicles than they do regular ones. We drove the AMG “G-Wagon” at the Texas Truck Rodeo this year and were really blown away by it as it’s almost in another class itself. Other luxury SUVs like the BMW X6 and Audi Q7 can compete in luxury, but not really on capability when they go off-road.
My final thoughts on the Lexus LX 570 are that it’s a great all around vehicle. We really enjoyed our time in the car and it made for a fantastic roadtrip car. Being as I don’t have that kind of money to throw on the table for an off-road SUV, it’s hard for me to justify spending it. There are lots of great and capable SUVs out there for much less, but if you’re really looking for the full package, then you can’t go wrong with trusting Lexus on quality or reliability.