Some folks just gotta have a big, roomy vehicle. The 2014 Lexus LX570 SUV is a big fella, with room for eight in a luxurious cabin and all-terrain mobility. It’s plenty rugged, being based on the durable, upscale, go-anywhere Toyota Land Cruiser.
Car-based crossover vehicles are capturing much of the old traditional SUV market, but the big, handsome four-wheel-drive LX570 is a reminder that some folks want–or need–a big vehicle with lots of room. With this Lexus, they get 8-passenger seating and typical Lexus luxury.
A large SUV such as the four-door LX570 lets occupants sit high, with good all-around driver visibility, helped by large outside rearview mirrors. But the step-in is quite high. The illuminated running boards, which would help out here, are too narrow to be of much use unless you have small feet and are wearing ballet slippers.
Typical Lexus Luxury
The quiet interior is nicely designed, although the main gauges are hard to read in sunlight. Getting into the third-row seat, which has power folding backrests for more cargo room, calls for adroit maneuvering. That row is best left to kids or shorter adults.
Safety features include roll-sensing curtain air bags.
The floor of the large cargo area is too high for fast, easy loading, and the small bottom section of the two-piece tailgate gets in the way of putting cargo in or removing it when it’s either in its normal position or flipped down.
On the plus side, the tailgate has a power feature, and the large cargo area is impressively spacious with the rear seatbacks folded out of the way.
The Lexus LX570 stickers at $81,780 without a $910 freight charge or options. But it has virtually all the comfort, convenience and safety features you would expect from Lexus, including a leather and genuine wood-trimmed interior.
Still, there are several costly options. The Mark Levinson audio system with no less than 19 speakers will set you back $2,350. And the dual-screen DVD rear-seat entertainment system with wireless headphones is $2,005.
The LX570 is quick off the line and a happy long-distance cruiser, with its smooth 5.75 liter V-8 generating 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. Power is transmitted through an 8-speed automatic transmission with an easily used manual-shift feature. The engine seems to be barely ticking over at 1,500 r.p.m. at 70 m.p.h.
However, the price you pay for such punch is low fuel economy. It’s an estimated 12 miles per gallon in the city and 17 on highways.
The LX570 weighs approximately 6,000 pounds, so one might think that it would feel like maneuvering an elephant in traffic. Not so, this SUV is agile, although its 197-inch length and considerable width must be kept in mind.
The power rack-and-pinion variable ratio steering helps provide good control, as does a well-designed adjustable suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers and stabilizer bars. The ride is smooth ride, and roadability is good.
The power ventilated disc brakes work well, with electronic brake force distribution, and have a good linear pedal feel.
The LX570 can tow up to 7,000 pounds and a wilderness trailhead or deep, snowy roads don’t faze it. The anti-lock brakes even have a multi-terrain feature.
Helping keep this high, heavy vehicle safe are features including vehicle stability and traction control. There’s a height-adjustable suspension for traversing off-road terrain, and also a “crawl control” feature when off-road motoring gets rough.
But those features are to be expected. This is a genuine SUV, not a half-baked or phony SUV you wouldn’t want to take into tough off-road terrain.
The question is, would you want to risk scratching the refined, expensive Lexus LX570 during off-road excursions?
Pros: Roomy. Posh. Powerful. All-terrain mobility. Well-equipped.
Cons: High Step-in Low fuel economy. Narrow running boards. Costly options.
Bottom Line: Well-designed for on or off-road use.
Dan Jedlicka has been an automotive journalist for more the 40 years. To read more of his new and vintage car revise, visit: www.danjedlicka.com.