2015 Lexus LX 570 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
May 5, 2015

The 2015 Lexus LX 570 is a big, bulky, incredibly capable SUV.

The 2015 Lexus LX 570 is a traditional body-on-frame SUV, intended more for the trail or heavy hauling tasks than for the suburban freeways and cul de sacs it's more often inhabiting. That said, uncompromising off-roading capabilities and excellent interior comfort are two things that the LX 570 delivers in spades. Just don't expect much in terms of fuel economy.

The LX is intended for the kind of weekend activity that encouraged the SUV craze in the 1990s in the first place. Towing is rated at 7000 pounds, and though Lexus doesn't offer any specific off-road packages, the LX 570 does have high ground clearance, and an available height-adjustable suspension that lifts or lowers the vehicle 2 inches, to pass over obstacles--or better yet, to help entry and exit. Crawl Control also helps in low-speed maneuvers over boulder-strewn paths or scree-strewn hillsides.

Packaging is one of the LX 570's downfalls as a passenger-carrying device. The seating suggests room for seven, but it can feel quite cramped when more than four adults try to clamber inside the cabin. The front seats are fine, but sit quite high; the second-row bench powers to and fro for more leg room, but the seat itself feels 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, and they narrow the cargo space.

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The modern LX 570 shares is 383-hp 5.7-liter V-8 with the Toyota Land Cruiser, along its six-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive system. It's a solid contender in the off-roading category, and while it drives well in straight lines on the highways, its size and weight aren't friendly to winding roads. It's not easy to maneuver, feels oversized for city streets, and allows the body to roll enough to discourage spirited driving. Gas mileage is legitimately bad, at 12/17 mpg, and there's no alternative drivetrain.

The 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. This year, the LX 570 joins the connectivity era with an updated Enform system that allows mobile-phone versions of Pandora and Facebook to be controlled through its audio system. It's yet one more of the jarring incongruities of a vehicle that feels out of touch in the Lexus brand.

For 2015, the LX 570 now includes Siri Eyes-Free Mode, which allows drivers to use their iPhone's Siri commands to control the infotainment system.

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2015 Lexus LX 570

Styling

A rock-climbing body doesn't quite match up with the Lexus LX 570's hourglass grille and wood-trimmed cockpit.

Thanks to its massive proportions, the LX doesn't look anything like the rest of the vehicles in the Lexus stable. It recently transitioned over to the brand's "spindle" grille, but the jury is still out on whether or not that design language really works on so much sheet metal. The LX wears a slightly more subdued look than its Land Cruiser cousin, but it's still not exactly a clean design. Just let it be the big SUV that it is, rather than an attempt at sport sedan-dom, we say.

It gets better inside, where the LX continues its use of high-quality materials in a luxurious yet functional cabin. The instrument panel is upright yet finely detailed, softly contoured, and accented with matte-metallics, and the lavish cabin is trimmed with high-end perforated leather and impressive veneers. It now wears dark-toned metallic trim and mahogany paneling, twinned with "cashmere" leather.

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2015 Lexus LX 570

Performance

It's an off-road crusher, but the LX 570 drives on pavement like it's there to smooth it flat.

While the 2015 Lexus LX isn't quite as capable off-road as its Toyota Land Cruiser platform-mate, it certainly gets close. And, it works as an excellent and luxurious family hauler, too.

A conflicted performer with lots of exotic electronic hardware, the LX 570 gets its power from a 5.7-liter V-8 making 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. It's an engine that's also found in the Land Cruiser and in the Toyota Tundra, and in this 6,000-pound vehicle, it's a decent performer, though never far removed from its heft. It carries plenty of bulk, but the engine and its teammate, a six-speed automatic transmission, work well enough together to produce useful passing power and acceleration.

The LX can tow up to 7000 pounds, though Lexus seems to be openly discouraging serious off-roading treks by not offering any off-road options or accessories. The LX does have a high ground clearance, and available active height control, which 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. Crawl Control's programming has been optimized, and torque-vectoring brakes have been added--they clamp down on the inside rear wheel in a corner to tighten the line. Lastly, Lexus has added a five-mode terrain control system that lets driver choose traction management by the kind of territory they're traversing--be it sand, snow, mud, rocks, or streets.

The LX's body-on-frame construction--which implies off-road expertise and long-term durability--and its four-wheel drive system tax any ability to deliver remotely carlike responses. The 4WD system uses a Torsen limited-slip locking center differential to split power 40:60, front to rear. That's great for trail-riding, but the LX doesn't feel maneuverable at all in city driving, and there's not a lot of cornering grip dialed into its suspension and tire choices. Instead, there's plenty of body motion and roll, and very little response to be elicited from its steering. The LX rides softly, and there's secondary heaving after impacts, which can be more fatiguing than controlled choppiness on rough surfaces. 

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2015 Lexus LX 570

Comfort & Quality

Teensy third-row seats aside, the Lexus LX has lots of room for people; cargo space is slimmer, and it's tough to load.

The Lexus LX 570 is a comfortable, quiet ride with surprisingly low levels of wind and road noise–even despite its massive size and boxy shape. In our opinion, it's a better off-roader than family hauler, but it can handle either task when the opportunity arises.

The front seats are generously sized, and covered in perforated leather. They're soft to the touch, but supportive. Getting into them may take a try or two: the LX 570 requires a tremendous step up into the cabin, since its ride height is engineered to overcome off-road obstacles. It does offer optional ride-height control that can lower it about 2 inches for easier entry and exit. It also has added "Easy Access" features that include automatic retraction for the power-telescoping steering wheel, and automatic pushback for the driver seat, for more entry and exit space.

The second-row seat also has power assists to make the most of its high-riding bench seat. The three-person bench has a power-sliding function that moves it on a 3.5-inch track, to increase leg room or cargo space as the need arises. The second row seats are considerably more adult-sized—although a little flat. The seatbacks also are split 40/20/40, so that they can be folded down to accommodate a mix of passengers and cargo. The second row seat is specially engineered to make tumbling it forward easy for anyone.

The power-folding third-row seat is hard to get to, and it's quite cramped. 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, which narrows that available cargo space. The split rear tailgate features a power upper door, while the bottom section raises and lowers with minimal effort.

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2015 Lexus LX 570

Safety

Crash-test ratings are nonexistent, but the Lexus LX has sheer mass in its corner.

The LX 570 hasn't been crash-tested in recent years due to low sales volume, but its sheer size and long list of safety features earn it high marks in our book.

No key safety features are skipped in the LX 570's standard equipment list, from a total of ten airbags, to stability control with off-roading modes, to active head restraints. A rearview camera is included in every model; an optional 180-degree front-end camera helps relieve some of the anxiety caused by the LX's tall, very flat front end.

As before, Lexus' Enform connectivity system with Bluetooth is standard, and now connects mobile apps to the SUV's audio system for what is claimed to be safer operation on the go. Safety Connect is also standard: it includes emergency notification services, and comes with a free year of service.

The one serious issue with the LX 570's safety remains outward visibility; because of its high stance and rear roofline, you might get a good view out ahead but spotting vehicles just to the side or behind, for parking or lane changes, can be challenging. Large mirrors, front and rear obstacle sensors, and those front and rearview cameras help offset the loss.

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2015 Lexus LX 570

Features

The LX 570 connects to smartphones via Enform, and it's fully featured--and pricey.

The Lexus LX 570 comes with virtually every technology available in Lexus toolbox, with exception to the Remote Touch mouse for the infotainment system. New for 2015, the LX gains Siri Eyes-Free Mode for that system, which allows iPhone users to command the navigation and Bluetooth systems through their phone's native applications.

There's also a dual-screen entertainment system for the back two rows offers wireless headphones and dual sourcing--which means users can run both a gaming console and a DVD player on the system at the same time, for example.

If that's not enough, optional extras include a 180-degree front camera to assist with the LX's sheer bulk; 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. A Luxury Package also adds on semi-aniline leather upholstery; a heated steering wheel; heated and ventilated front seats; heated second-row seats; and Smart Access keyless entry with pushbutton start.

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2015 Lexus LX 570

Fuel Economy

Gas mileage this low usually is the preserve of prom limos and heavy-duty pickups.

The LX may be able to crawl over rocks, but it essentially falls off a cliff in terms of its fuel economy ratings. The Lexus LX 570 is one of the biggest SUVs on the planet--and it's been around in its neanderthal form, as the Toyota Land Cruiser, for a very long time. That doesn't make its coexistence with the Toyota Prius and Lexus CT 200h any easier, though at least Toyota can reasonably argue that it covers every niche in the market.

The LX 570 is rated by the EPA at 12 miles per gallon city, 17 mpg highway. That puts it near the top of the EPA's Carbon Footprint scale, and—based on our assumption that the majority of energy used during a vehicle's service life will be used through the tailpipe—makes it one of the least green choices you could make, of any vehicle sold in the U.S. today.

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