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The Lexus LX 570 a big, luxurious sport-utility vehicle; and in some respects an idea of luxury that's come and gone—one in which safari-chic was in, and bigger was always better.
It's a bit conflicted in purpose, and the way this huge SUV performs emphasizes that it's neither an ideal on-road family wagon nor as deft an off-roader as the Land Cruiser on which it's based.
The LX 570 is powered by a 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter V-8, and it shares core components with the Land Cruiser—which means it's a very stout (6,000-pound) vehicle, with a body-on-frame construction intended for long-term durability and off-road performance. With its responsive six-speed automatic transmission and Torsen limited-slip differential system, the LX 570 performs well, with passing and acceleration a snap, but its heft is never far out of mind when maneuvering or braking. Maneuverability on tight city streets can be challenging, and there's not a lot of cornering capability built in; there's a lot of body motion, and the steering is almost fingertip light at some times. Tow ratings range up to 8,500 pounds.
While Lexus seems to be openly discouraging serious off-roading treks with the LX570 by not offering any off-road options or accessories, the vehicle does have a high-clearance capability; active height control can raise the body a couple of inches at slower speeds to aid ground clearance, then lower it at higher speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag. Crawl Control also helps in low-speed maneuvers over boulder-strewn paths or scree-strewn hillsides.
The LX 570 has a seating arrangement that's quite a bit different than those of most other luxury SUVs, and there are good and bad points to it. As is typical, the third row is hard to get to and it's quite cramped. The second row seats are considerably more adult-sized—although a little flat. While the second rows fold and flip fully forward to expand cargo space, the third-row seats flip up and rotate to the side—allowing, more easily, a flat, continuous load floor for longer cargo items. The disadvantage to the setup is that the third-row seats can't be completely removed.
The cabin is tight and quiet, with low levels of road and wind noise, though the bellowing engine isn't hushed up to Lexus levels of refinement and can be heard even when cruising in some situations. Be ready for a ride that's somewhat cushy but involves lots of body motion in cornering as well as heaving over bumps.
The 2011 Lexus LX 570 comes loaded with comfort, convenience, and entertainment features, and there are even more luxury upgrades available to equip the LX 570 at the level of any other prestige-level SUV. Bluetooth and a nav system are included, and from features like a 180-degree camera that can see each way at a blind intersection to power-assist middle-row seats, there's a lot to love in the everyday-useful feature department. And if that's not enough, optional extras include a rear-seat entertainment system, radar-adaptive cruise control, and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system. African Bubinga wood trim, heated and ventilated seats, and custom wheels are also available.
- Brawny powertrain
- Simple but luxurious instrument panel
- High-quality materials
- Real towing capability
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- Pitching-and-heaving ride
- Clumsy handling
- Dismal fuel economy
- Third-row seating can't be removed