2018 Lexus LX Review

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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
October 2, 2017

The Lexus LX 570 marries an old-school SUV portfolio with all the leather, all the wood, and almost all the space.

The Lexus LX 570 exists because the Land Cruiser does. If that world-patrolling, UN-peacekeeping Toyota hadn’t built up decades of global goodwill, there’d be no reason to plaster it with leather and wood and a big chromey grille, and sell it as a luxury truck. The heritage is real, and so is the upsell potential.

With all its lavish gear and top-drawer finishes, the LX still manages to hang on to most of the Land Cruiser’s off-road skill. We give it a 6.8 out of 10, with points scored for its comfort and capability. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The LX wears its social-climber status on its sleeve, which on a car sits at the nose. The hourglass-shaped beak works better on smaller crossovers and sedans than it does here. Omit those details, and the biggest Lexus SUV’s credentials are on display: squared-off corners, big taillamps, a split tailgate, and an imposing NFL-like stance. Hidden inside is the library-look cabin that gave Lexus its luxury bona fides in the first place.

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With a 383-horsepower V-8 sending power to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic, the LX sets out on its mixed mission with the right basics. (Gas mileage is terrible, at 15 mpg.) It’s also blessed with a long-travel, live-axle rear end with an electrohydraulic suspension and lots of ground clearance and multiple electronic traction modes. The bank of switches on the console might only rarely be used, but the 6,000-pound LX can crush lots of types of roads, even if it can’t slide between obstacles like a slimmer GX. You may want to take off the low front air dam, though: it cuts into the SUV’s approach angle.

Open a door and the tuxedo-friendly cockpit reveals lots of lush wood and leather trim. Five adults have terrific room, but third-row riders must be small or sitter-friendly. Leave them at home, fold the third row to the sides, and the LX has a high-riding cargo space that’s narrow, all consequences of its tough off-road hardware.

Lexus fits lots of safety equipment, but the LX hasn’t been crash-tested yet. Open-pore wood and 19-speaker audio factor into the features list, but there’s nothing like a stretched-wheelbase version built for prime ministers, dictators, and other putative heads of state.

7

2018 Lexus LX

Styling

A stunning cabin moves the Lexus LX styling needle more than its audacious grille.

The Lexus LX is up front about its desire to look less like the Toyota Land Cruiser.

It’s not beautiful, but the front end of the latest LX does put some visual distance between the duo. The beautiful interior earns it some points above average to get to a 7 for styling. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The LX looks bigger than its Toyota kin, with 5 extra inches of nose grafted up front. The beak-like grille offers no escape for the eyes. It fits the vehicle into the Lexus lineup like the vehicle fits in compact-car spaces: just barely, and annoyingly.

From other angles, the LX has a pleasantly honest SUV shape, with big integrated taillights and a split tailgate with an upper hatch and a fold-down section that turns into an impromptu bench seat.

Inside, the LX goes for a subtle, subdued strain of elegance. It works. The commanding view of the road and proportions strike the same note as the Land Cruiser, but the car-like dash and decorations in the LX rise several levels above the Toyota. Controls are arranged under a big infotainment display, somewhat haphazardly since there are so many of them angling for space on the console.

The LX also offers a wide range of interior materials and schemes, for a more plush and personal environment than you’ll find in the basic Land Cruiser.

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2018 Lexus LX

Performance

Ride comfort reigns supreme, and off-road talent is substantial with the Lexus LX.

Think of the Lexus LX as a UN peacekeeper on wheels, and you’ll have a proper frame of reference for the way it performs. It wants to be better on pavement than the related Land Cruiser, and it is, at a slight detriment to off-roadability.

You can only do so much to make a vehicle this big carve into corners. We give the Lexus LX an extra point for its smooth ride, and a 6 for performance in all. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Unchanged from the Land Cruiser is the Lexus LX 570’s big 5.7-liter V-8. Happily old-school, the 383-horsepower engine turns in 403 pound-feet of torque, and splits it between all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic. Drag racer, no, but the LX has remarkable thrust for a vehicle weighing about 6,000 pounds. It passes strongly, with power left in reserve, and the light V-8 snarl’s a welcome sound in an era of groany twin-turbo V-6s.

Towing capacity sits at 7,000 pounds.

The LX shares the Land Cruiser’s independent front suspension and its coil-spring solid-axle rear, but the LX adopts some tech finery to smooth its path over the world. The height-adjustable system uses electrohydraulic controls to raise or lower the vehicle, and grafts on a five-mode traction control system meant to match with road surface, from dirt to mud to snow. That said, the LX has a lower front bumper that impedes its approach angles; it’ll scrape its pretty, and pretty expensive, front dam in places the Land Cruiser will cruise past. Its definition of off-roading aligns more with crossover SUVs than with open-air Jeeps and the like, and its optional 20-inch, lower-profile wheels and tires speak volumes to experienced off-roaders.

It’s still tough to stump the LX for traction. Its four-wheel-drive system splits power 40:60 front to rear through a Torsen limited-slip locking center differential. A crawl-control system takes over the controls to move the LX through low-speed bogs and traps, while traction control clamps down on opposing wheels to cut the LX’s turn radius, which makes it easier to traverse some skinny trails, despite its mammoth size.

It’s still no Range Rover. The Lexus LX is nearly incapable of disguising its copious body lean in corners, or the lack of any steering feedback. Still, it delivers an absorbent ride on the pavement, and of course, its land-crushing weight pounds potholes into submission. Try that in a Yaris.

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2018 Lexus LX

Comfort & Quality

The third-row seat trades off space for ruggedness, but the Lexus LX interior is lushly appointed.

Somewhat compromised for interior space by its truck-based frame, the Lexus LX still has a vast cabin with lots of seats and lovely fit and finish.

It earns an almost perfect score for comfort and quality, let down only by a small third-row seat. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The LX no longer dupes the interior of the related Toyota Land Cruiser, which means all the former utilitarian bits have been scrubbed. Inside, the LX more closely resembles a Lexus sedan, with beautiful stretches of leather and open-pore wood.

If you like switches and knobs and buttons, you’re in luck here. The LX has myriad controls for its off-road and luxury features, but most of them are of the set-and-forget strain.

Driver and front passenger get leather-covered, generously sized chairs that feel supportive and soft to the touch. Climbing in the LX is another matter: it’s built to ride over big obstacles, so the climb into the cockpit takes a tall step, even though the LX has an air suspension that lowers by about 2 inches for easier access.

In the second row, passengers get less sculpted seats, but aren’t hindered by the front seats. The driver seat moves out of the way under its own power, and the second-row seat slides on a 3.5-inch track to flex between passenger and cargo space. The seatbacks also split on 40/20/40 lines, for bigger cargo loads.

The third-row seat folds out of the way with power assist, and they’ll spend lots of time that way. Even for small people, it’s a cramped place to be. The fold-away mechanism flips up the third-row seats and rotates them to the sides of the vehicle, which helps mitigate the effect of the LX’s high cargo floor. The seats can’t be removed, though, so the cargo hold is narrower than in other luxury SUVs.

The split rear tailgate features a power upper door, while the bottom section raises and lowers with minimal effort.

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2018 Lexus LX

Safety

No crash-test data exists for the Lexus LX.

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested the LX 570, so we don’t rate it for safety. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

It does come with a healthy list of standard safety features, everything from 10 airbags to a rearview camera to stability control with off-roading modes.

Last year, Lexus made a host of advanced safety technology standard: forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, lane-departure warnings, and adaptive cruise control.

A front-end camera gives a 180-degree view of the obstacles that the LX might confront.

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

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2018 Lexus LX

Features

The Lexus LX 570 can’t match a Range Rover’s creature comfort, but most of us who aren’t crowned heads of state will be fine with it.

Lexus equips the LX SUV generously, as it should since the base price reaches into the $90,000 range.

Still, it’s not quite as decadent as rivals like the Range Rover. We give it an 8 for its standard features and options, as well as the Lexus ownership experience and technology offerings. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Every LX 570 has power features, 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, a power driver seat with 14-way adjustment, keyless ignition, a head-up display, and navigation.

Tech features include automatic parking assistance and a slew of off-road hardware and software to ensure competence on any surface, from Whole Foods’ parking lot to remote stretches of the Outback.

Lexus sells richer leather, ventilated seats, heated second-row seats, and a heated steering wheel, if you want them. It also offers a DVD entertainment system for the back rows. Users can play on gaming consoles and watch DVDs at the same time.

One of the best options is the 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system. Its sound quality is crisp and full.

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2018 Lexus LX

Fuel Economy

The Lexus LX 570 is at the bottom of the list for gas-conscious shoppers.

The Lexus LX 570 hasn’t been rated by the EPA for the 2018 model year yet, but it’s a safe bet last year’s numbers will carry over intact.

We give it a 4 for fuel economy. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Last year the EPA pegged the LX 570 at 13 mpg city, 18 highway, 15 combined. It’s one of the least fuel-efficient vehicles you can buy, and it’s unapologetic.

If you’re concerned about gas mileage, you should have stopped reading this review long before now.

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November 3, 2017
2018 Lexus LX LX 570 Three Row 4WD

Loud, clunky, gas guzzling, dinosaur

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One word to describe this SUV compared to others in its class would be: Overpriced. You are simply NOT getting anything worth it’s hefty tag of $100K! Let’s start with what it is LACKING that SUV’s 1/2... + More »
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$85,380
MSRP based on LX 570 Two Row 4WD
 
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6.8
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 4
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2018 Lexus LX Pricing Insights

  • 2017 LX 570 deals are few and far between
  • Bonus: No offer available this month
  • Finance: No special loan offers available
  • Lease: From $999 for 36 months; Lexus makes the first payment
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