High-volume rides including Toyota's family favorite Camry
sedan or five-door RAV4 crossover attract a loyal following through
value-pricing, fuel friendliness and quality builds. It's been Asia's largest
volume automaker's success formula for decades. When Toyota debuted
its Lexus luxury division to the U.S. in 1989, a hint of posh joined the
Posh along with a dedicated, yet finer-targeted
audience helped launch Lexus into the top Asian luxury brand in the
U.S. A close examination of the full-size LX 570 Sport Utility
Vehicle makes an interesting case study.
Starting north of
$80,000 this V-8-inspired truck's not for everyone or every garage.
Fuel economy in the 15 miles per gallon neighborhood seems out of step with the
Toyota family's eye on economy and gas-electric hybrid leadership. In
addition, premium fuel requirements add to pump pricing (as does Illinois' July
1 gasoline tax hike, doubling to 38 cents per gallon). However, this
purpose-built selection fills a niche even as its current build has changed
little over the past decade. Those fretting over pump pricing probably never
fit this target.
The burley LX 570 classifies as a
truck-based SUV (with sturdy body-on-frame construction), not a pavement-content
crossover with car underpinnings. Full-time four-wheel drive comes standard.
The Lexus LX and Toyota Land Cruiser equate as corporate kissing cousins, both
providing undeniable off-road prowess. However, Toyota's Land Cruiser
comes standard with three row seating while LX offers the option of two or
three rows (one of the few decisions needed as this top Lexus comes almost
fully loaded in a single trim level).
off-road, LX incorporates devices handling just about any challenge.
Multi-terrain traction control adapts to five different surfaces (mud/sand,
rock, rock and dirt, mogul and loose rock) and a locking center torsion
differential assists lower-speed dynamics. An electronic switch
between front buckets summons four-low when desired. With four-low activated,
LX invites high-tech help with crawl control; comprising of turn assist,
hill-start assist control and variable gear ratio steering.
current third-generation LX 570 came online way back in 2008 (a considerably
long period between next-generation redos). The first model year
dates back to 1996. Consider LX the Lexus patriarch of
SUV/crossovers. After its successful launch, GX RX, NX and
most-recent UX followed along in the product portfolio. With 2018 model year
sales totaling 4,753, LX trails Lexus leader RX (111,641 units sold) by a long
shot, but carries on diligently as a niche product.
suffix reflects the returning naturally-aspirated (non turbo) 5.7-liter,
32-valve V-8, the sole powertrain churning out 383 horsepower mated to a newer
eight-speed automatic transmission. No gas-electric hybrid, plug-in
hybrid or all-electric versions are offered (yet). Also absent, start-stop
technology, once the domain of gas-electric hybrids, sending the engine into a
sleep-like mode at prolonged stops to conserve fuel while taming emissions.
a hefty 6,000-pound weight, LX maneuvers with grace thanks to an adaptive
suspension. As with most crafts donning the Lexus badge, the interior cocoon
remains whisper quiet during on-road excursions, muting outside murmurs from
entering. Seven thousands pounds of towing capacity rates as credible, but not
In many ways, this patriarch's age is
starting to show, but its interior layout and comfort remain relevant in a
timeless and inviting manor. Dash and doors intermix with wood trim
and soft leather touches. A $1,190 luxury package includes extra soft
semi-aniline leather with white stitching while an extra $150 provides a heated
dark brown walnut three-spoke steering wheel. The elegant analog clock returns
to the center dash (new for 2019; a digital companion within the instrument
panel). Push-button electric start comes standard.
tech comforts including Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, connecting Smartphone
Apps with the large multi-function flat screen did not make the cut.
However, 'Lexus Safety System' did make the starting line up (and featured in
all Lexi sold in the U.S.) joining together a cadre of radar-enhanced safety
Dynamic cruise control combines ease-a-bility and
functionality by automatically speeding and slowing LX on highway jaunts based
on the distance of the vehicle upfront. Lane departure keeps LX between the
lines while rear cross traffic alerts help when backing out of a packed parking
lot, warning drivers of perpendicularly passing vehicles. Also on board: a
pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and automatic braking system.
five-seat tester started at $85,830. The $1,190 Luxury Package and dark brown
walnut steering wheel ($150) brought the bottom line to $88,195 after adding
$1,025 for destination. A three-row version includes a launch point
The tall footprint LX emanates a relative
conservative style, with the Lexus brand's upfront spindle grille a distinctive
outlier. Three diminutive, stepped, bejeweled LED headlights stretch into the
waist of the grille, underlining with white accent lighting changing to a
blinking amber yellow during turn signal moments.
dual-opening back end includes a power-operated top portion and manual
fold-down lower section handy if tail gating or maybe watching summer festival
fireworks. The full-size spare tire stows outbound under the cargo region.
luxury package also includes projector lamps in all four side doors
illuminating the ground below with the LX logo at night. Also included are
heated second-row seats and larger 21-inch wheels. Static (non-power folding)
wide horizontal running boards below side doors also illuminate at night. New
this year when skipping the $1,190 luxury package, side view mirror puddle
lamps beaming down the Lexus logo after dusk. Inside A pillar grab handles
assist the first step inside.
If storage takes priority,
second row seatbacks fold onto cushions while the entire unit flips forward,
butting up against front buckets. This configuration yields 50.5
cubic feet of cargo space in two-row versions, far less than what most
competitors offer. When prone, these seats conveniently power back and forth to
specific comfort levels of riders providing enough head and leg room for three
The available third row includes seat cushions that
fold up against side walls when not in use and power down when needed.
of the HUGE 12.3-inch flat multi-purpose screen jetting up from the mid-dash
region get summoned by the laborious remote touch interface. Between
front bucket seats resides a long narrow, contoured wrist rest comforting the
driver's right hand. A square wiggle pad resides ahead of the wrist rest and
interacts with the non-touch-sensitive screen. A couple quick-select buttons
reside ahead of the pad allowing fingers to summon the home screen or map.
Provide extra practice time to master this design. The screen does
include convenient split screen perspectives.
Lincoln Motor Company (luxury arm of the Ford Motor Co.) promotes its own
answer to LX in Navigator. Redesigned in the 2018 model year with improved
road manners and friendlier third row, Navigator's off-road attributes fall
short of what LX delivers. 2019 Lexus LX
as tested: $88,195
Engine 5.7-liter V-8
Overall Length: 200 inches
Overall Height: 75.2 inches
Width: 78 inches
Fuel Economy: 13 mpg city, 18 mpg highway
weight: 5,800 pounds