Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: April 24, 2017
Toyota makes this thing called the Land Cruiser, a proper truck that can crawl rocks, venture off the beaten path, and ferry up to eight people from A to B in comfort and minimalism. The Land Cruiser is especially known for its off-roading prowess, and has been reported to be so reliable that it could pretty much survive Armageddon.
Now if you aren’t aware of what a Land Cruiser is, you aren’t at fault. Toyota hasn’t sold one of these in Canada since 1996. But what you can get in the great white north is the Land Cruiser’s luxury-oriented cousin, the Lexus LX 570.
The LX 570 is Lexus’ biggest and second most expensive (dethroned by the new LC 500h just this year) vehicle. In the LX’s arsenal are a classic body-on-frame design, full-time four-wheel drive, a naturally aspirated 5.7-litre V8, and a TORSEN limited-slip center differential.
But then you might be thinking, body-on-frame? Naturally aspirated? What’s with all these old school features? Well that’s because mechanically, the LX 570 has barely changed since the third generation model was introduced back in 2008. Other than a few tweaks to the suspension, a new 8-speed transmission for (marginally) better fuel economy, and completely new exterior sheetmetal, the 2017 LX is the same as the LX that your uncle bought nearly ten years ago.
But it’s not the age of the LX that surprises most people. It’s the price tag. The 2017 Lexus LX 570 doesn’t come with any packages or options aside from choosing the paint colour. All in, the starting and final price tag is $108,000. Yes, that’s more expensive than a Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz GLS 450, and even a base-spec Range Rover.
And if you saw an LX 570 on the street, you’d be hard pressed to believe this was a $100k Lexus. Sure, it’s got handsome new looks, adopting Lexus’ massive spindle grill, creased hood, Volvo S90-styled wheels, and seductive taillights, but its flat door panels and boxy shape give away the LX’s ancient origins. It’s sad to say that the world is slowly moving on too – just look at the new Lincoln Navigator.
Inside is a different story, though. Lexus knows how to do interiors, very well I might add. It may just be one of the best layouts and designs out of every three-row SUV out there, besting the Escalade and even the Range. Every surface in the LX 570 is swathed with expensive feeling materials. The leather is soft, the switches feel like top-grade titanium, and the wood veneer is strategically inserted into where it counts.
There’s even a cooler box under the center armrest and unlike other SUVs like the Range Rover, this one actually blows cold air directly inside to keep your drinks chilly. The drawback is that it doesn’t leave much room for storage. There are but two cupholders in front of the gear shifter, with a dedicated slot for wireless phone charging. On the lower door panels there are deep but narrow pockets, but that’s about it.
Just imagine your living room couch transplanted into a Lexus – that’s how comfortable the LX 570 is. The seats are plush, the attractive new steering wheel is wrapped in both leather and wood, and the center console is sprinkled with buttons and switches to toggle everything from the air suspension to the differential.
The second row of seats are treated to a center-panel armrest with audio and HVAC controls, and two entertainment screens are perched on the back of the front seat headrests. These seats can also be conveniently folded up for access to the spacious third row, the latter of which are also power operated to not only fold down, but sideways since they don’t go flush with the floorbed. I had no issue sitting in any of the eight possible seats, with enough headroom and legroom to keep me comfortable for any long distance trip.
Like the Range Rover, the LX sports a dual panel trunk lid split into two sections, where one panel opens upwards and the other folds downwards, doubling as a bench for drive-in movie theatres. Loading in groceries are especially easy, as the air suspension automatically lowers each time you put the vehicle into park.
There are just a few minor downsides to the LX 570’s interior, the first being the infotainment system. The screen is wider and larger than those offered in the Lexus RC and IS, and is very high resolution. However instead of using a rotary dial to control the system, Lexus integrates a mouse-like controller that not only likes to overshoot your movements, but also becomes incredibly hard to use whilst driving.
It’s not exactly a deal-breaker but it depends on your patience and how willing you are to look past its oversensitive feedback and joystick-like interface. The system isn’t a touchscreen either, but what I do appreciate is the ability to split the screen into two sections for viewing both the map and audio playlist. There is also the ability to store both AM/FM and Sirius XM radio stations on the same favourites list without having to switch modes manually.
The second complaint of ours is the tilted head-up display. It’s projected on an angle to the right of the driver. We’re not sure why, but it makes it hard to view the information properly since its skewed and blurry. The third is that the steering wheel doesn’t telescope far back enough for us to find a comfortable driving position. Again, these are all but minor complaints to what is the most majestic cabin out of all three-row SUVs, Escalade, QX80, and GLS included.
The Lexus LX 570 is one of the few vehicles on the market whose name badge is actually derived from its engine displacement. As the name suggests, under the hood is a 5.7-litre naturally aspirated V8 that produces 383 hp and 403 lb-ft. Aging it may be, but the power this engine generates is more than adequate on the city road.
The V8 starts up with an authoritative grumble, like waking up a dragon from its slumber. Power is plentiful on the low end and pushing the throttle half way is enough to get this gargantuan castle moving with aggression. The V8 feels understressed and is without a doubt a smooth operator. The track record for these engines is ace as well, bar none when it comes to reliability.
A new 8-speed transmission replaces the outgoing 6-speed, and is only marginally more fuel efficient – I wouldn’t expect anything under 18.0 L/100km unless you’re mainly driving on the highway. We spent most of our time in the city and averaged a measly 19.8 L/100km. It takes premium as well.
The LX 570’s platform is derived from the Toyota Tundra pickup truck, and as such lends a hand to the LX’s rigid chassis and heavy-duty structure. This offers intrinsic off-road ability and towing capability (7,000 lb towing, similar to light-duty pick ups), but it does penalize the LX in city driving.
Like most large SUVs, the LX 570 offers a soft though ungainly ride, where it tips forward when braking, and shoves you back when accelerating. The ride quality is quite good though thanks to the air suspension, which makes the LX feel like riding on a cloud.
Just don’t ask too much from the performance department. Though there is a selectable Sport and Sport+ mode, we didn’t find them useful in mitigating the large amounts of body roll.
Surprisingly, the steering is still hydraulic, which can be a chore to some but for those who prefer “feeling” the road, the LX will be a delight to drive. It requires a bit of effort at low speeds, but on road stability is excellent. Those who prefer not to wrestle the wheel (especially in tight parking scenarios) might want to look elsewhere, as the steering is non-adjustable.
After a full week with the LX 570, we came away impressed. Not only has the LX aged well, but its sleek sheetmetal and magnificent interior keeps its heart alive and beating. Stick with the Atomic Silver paint too – no other colour accentuates the LX’s curves better, and the sparkly hue makes it appear more three-dimensional.
What would I change? Not much. The simple formula of body on frame, reliable and powerful engine, and off-road capability and durability keep it high on the list of most-wanted SUVs. I would have preferred an F Sport package to make the LX look even sexier and emotional – just think how much money the Denali and M Sport packages make for the GMC Yukon and BMW X5 – but perhaps that’s not the right market.
What does bother me is that price tag of $108,000. That is chillingly close to the Range Rover, an SUV with three less seats, a poorer track record with reliability, but with better off-road credentials, more powerful engines, a more premium badge, and arguably better looks. Then there’s the Cadillac Escalade Platinum ($107,205) and the Infiniti QX80 Limited ($93,800), both with as much seating, hauling, and engine capability, but for less money.
But what the Lexus has riding behind it is a track record of reliability and a huge fan base, the latter of which translates into 748 units sold last year in Canada alone in 2016, which is more than the GX, CT, RC, GS, and LS models. In fact, that makes it Lexus’ fifth-best selling vehicle. I’ve heard there’s even a wait list for 2017 and 2018 models. So perhaps price isn’t the issue, maybe there is no issue at all, and I believe it. The LX 570 is just an aging but overall impressive SUV.
型号 Model: 2017 Lexus LX 570
顏色 Paint Type: Nebula Gray Pearl
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $108,000
試車售價 Price as Tested: $108,000
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,850
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,080 / 1,980 / 1,910
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,680
引擎 Engine: 5.7-litre V8
最大馬力 Horsepower: 383 hp @ 5,600 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 403 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4WD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 18.3 / 12.9 / 15.9
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 19.8
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Dunlop Grandtrek PT3A; 275/50R21