The five-door Lexus LX 570 is a 2014 model, but it seems to belong to another era — one when bigger was better and pump prices weren't a concern. The imposing, full-size SUV is a luxury version of parent Toyota's venerable Land Cruiser.
Appearance: Stately? Boxy? The LX 570 may have a retro vibe, but it has contemporary touches, such as LED running lights, illuminated running boards and 20-inch, double-spoke wheels with a graphite finish. Shorter drivers, especially, will need those running boards — the SUV is tall at 75.6 inches, and the seat sits high.
Performance: The LX 570's 5.7-liter V-8 puts out 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. Considering that the SUV weighs 6,000 pounds, the acceleration coupled with a 6-speed sequential-shift automatic is adequate (0-60 in 7.5 seconds). The price for that power and weight: a dismal estimated mpg of 12 city, 17 highway. The full-time four-wheel drive makes for a planted ride, but because of the SUV's height, body lean is noticeable on turns. The LX 570 has a cushy ride, and its adaptive variable suspension automatically adjusts for comfort. (You also can manually select the mode.) We both felt the variable gear ratio steering was too light, but that was fine for maneuvering in tight spaces. The SUV also has a lot of off-road features: all-terrain stability control, active traction control, roll-sensing air curtains and multiterrain ABS, but most buyers likely will remain on pavement. The LX 570 also has trailer-sway control with towing capacity of up to 7,000 pounds.
Interior: The LX 570 seats eight in a comfortable and luxurious cabin. The third row folds electronically, but those seats stow to the side of the cargo area, which cuts down on storage space. The third row is best for kids, and its access is a squeeze. The two-part lift- and tailgate is electronically controlled, but the one in our tester had a glitch, so we had to raise the top hatch manually. As with other Lexuses, the interior finish is top-notch, but in the LX 570, the design seems dated with polished wood trim and plasticky silver-tone trim. (It even had an ashtray.) There is a convenient gadget tray with an antislip surface, which is a perfect fit . . . if you have an iPhone 4. For anything else, it's too small. We liked the cool box in the armrest bin to keep drinks cold (part of the Luxury Package, $1,510). Our tester also had the dual-entertainment DVD screens in the second-row seats ($2,005) and park assist with wide-view front and side monitor for better visibility and maneuvering ($1,000). The park assist feature is a necessity.
Our 3 favorites
Front seats: Leather-trimmed, well-bolstered and comfortable.
Wheels: The double-spoke design is both sporty and stately.
Electronics: A long list of safety and off-road features.
Thawing out: My son appreciated the second-row heated seats after a cold soccer practice.
Towing: Up to 7,000 pounds, with sway control.
Cool box: Keep drinks and snacks chilled.
The bottom line: In our city driving, we felt as if we barely skimmed the potential of the LX 570. That said, it is a big family hauler. Still, we think there are better options for suburbanites, whether they want the luxury or not.