2014 Lexus LX

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
August 21, 2014

Buying tip

Make sure to fold the LX 570's third row of seats before you buy it. It's an unconventional folding process, so you'll want check to see if it works for you.

features & specs

4WD 4-Door
12 city / 17 hwy

The Lexus LX 570 is luxurious and capable, but above all, bulky.

For those who might think first about rock-crawling ability, second about interior comfort, and lastly about fuel economy, there's the 2014 Lexus LX 570. It's a classic body-on-frame SUV, designed more for the trail than the mall parking lot—even though some only see the latter.

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.

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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.

It's more usable 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.

The LX 570 goes essentially unchanged following an overhaul last year, when it received some new gadgets, more luxury, and a version of the "spindle grille" to match the rest of the updated Lexus lineup.


2014 Lexus LX


The Lexus LX has a tough time blending its suave family face with its utilitarian body.

The Lexus LX 570 looks unlike anything else in the brand's lineup, if for no other reason that truly massive and has oversized proportions. Last year, it earned the brand's new corporate 'spindle' grille, giving it a little more consistency with the rest of the lineup. It's a handsome design language, but we're not sure that it quite fits the LX–something about hourglass fangs on a brutish box just doesn't jibe for us. The LX looks a little more subdued than its platforming-sharing Land Cruiser cousin, but it's by no means a clean design. Sometimes, a big SUV just wants to look like a big SUV, rather than a sport sedan.

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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2014 Lexus LX


The Lexus LX drives like a big, ponderous SUV--which it is--but its off-road gear is slick.

Mechanically speaking, little has changed under all of that sheetmetal. The LX is a capable off-roader, though not quite as rugged as the Land Cruiser, and it works as a family hauler, but perhaps not quite as gracefully as a Toyota Highlander.

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. 

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.

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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. This year, 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.

2014 Lexus LX

Comfort & Quality

Spacious front seats and high-grade fittings make up for the Lexus LX's meager third-row seats.

The LX 570 cabin remains 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. If we're looking at its qualities, the LX 570 is a better off-roading machine than it is a people hauler. It has seating for seven, sure, but those rear seats aren't necessarily the most accessible in the business.

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.

The front seats, however, 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.

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2014 Lexus LX


The Lexus LX hasn't been crash-tested, but its size and bulk speak to strong safety ratings.

We've given the LX 570 a safety rating based purely on its standard features and sheer mass, as neither of the agencies that crash test cars have a current set of ratings for the full-size SUV.

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.

However, 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.


2014 Lexus LX


Smartphone connectivity comes via Entune, but Lexus' Remote Touch mouse hasn't found a place in the LX's cabin yet.

The Lexus LX 570 has nearly every feature technology available in any of the other cars in the brand's lineup, save for one connectivity device. While every other Lexus has the Remote Touch mouse to control the infotainment system, the LX continues onward into 2014 with its touch screen. That screen is loaded with all of Enform's current mobile apps and features, though. There's also standard quad-zone automatic heating and cooling, a power-assisted middle-row bench seat, and satellite radio.

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.

Lastly, a new 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.

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2014 Lexus LX

Fuel Economy

Not many vehicles earn gas-mileage ratings as low as those given to the Lexus LX 570.

With the LX, Lexus covers the rock bottom of the SUV market, in terms of fuel economy. It's an SUV undercut only by a handful of supercars and ultra-high-performance SUV derivatives.

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.

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.

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