2019 Lexus LX570 - Deep Within the Garden
2019 Lexus LX570
In the beginning, Willys created the sports-utility vehicle. Now, the sports was negligible and the utility was strictly for the military-industrial complex, and darkness was over two continents at war. And when the war ended, Willys said “let there be civilians who want to drink cheap beer and go rock crawling,” and there were knobby tires and lift kits.
Then the off-roaders began to multiply, each taking their own form. And it was good. But then one saw that the fruit of a tree in the garden looked like a half-used bar of soap — this tree, known as the crossover, represents all that is evil.
Lexus has embraced everything within the realm of the sports-utility spectrum. From tiny crossovers to this massive 2019 Lexus LX570, nearly all needs can be covered. But is this biggest Lexus good or evil?
Yes, it’s functionally a Toyota Land Cruiser with Lexus touches. The Land Cruiser, legendary as an indestructible, go-anywhere people-and-stuff carrier, has long been the flagship of Toyota’s lineup. Within Lexus, however, the LX570 seems an afterthought — and interestingly, the two vehicles aren’t that far apart in price.
This is probably the worst appearance of Lexus’ predator grille. When applied to a truck of this size, it looks like it can eat small children. Beyond that and the blocky tail, it’s a benign looking beast, but I can’t get past that horrifying grille.
The interior works well — mercifully, the LX uses an up-to-date version of the Lexus infotainment system, which, while by no means perfect, is much better than the clunky touchscreen used on the baby brother GX I tested last fall. I’m still not a fan of the mouse-style control for most audio and navigation functions, but it’s miles better than the older system.
Seating front and rear is perfectly comfortable. I’m a bit surprised that this LX570 is available with the option of either two or three rows of seats — the two rows on my tester make for a cavernous luggage compartment, swallowing everything I could toss while asking for more.
With so much mass grounding the LX to the ground, you’d think it’d be an incredible highway cruiser. And while the ride is sublime, the steering requires a great deal of correction to maintain a lane on anything but glass-smooth tarmac. Plus, the mileage is not good. Sure, you’re moving 5800 pounds with a 383-hp V8, so you wouldn’t expect Prius-level efficiency, but my drive time included more highway time than I usually encounter. Rather than approaching the EPA highway estimate, I barely met the city numbers with a 14.1-mpg average.
Honestly, I’d love to see some of the hybrid technology that Toyota/Lexus have perfected trickle up to their larger vehicles. I’d have to believe that a significant impact could be made if the LX, GX, Tundra, and Land Cruiser had some electrons moving their mass.
I’m struggling to picture the market for the LX570. Perhaps this will attract an owner who needs the cachet of a luxury marque at the country club or at the office yet needs to haul a horse trailer or a boat on weekends. But none of these functions focus on the core excellence of the Land Cruiser platform within — off-road superiority. The light, vague steering that helps whilst rock crawling makes interstate drives more of a chore than needed.
Oddly, the LX570 can tow 7000 pounds, while the very similar Land Cruiser is rated at 8100 pounds. 1100 pounds doesn’t sound like much, but it can make a difference if you’re looking at travel trailers, enclosed race trailers, or a longer boat.
For the off-road fanatics, check out the suspension articulation at the, ahem, off-road park — better known as a mostly abandoned shopping mall.
I’m sure there are a few crazies out there who will happily wheel their $88,195 luxury SUV out in the wilderness, and for those, I’m certain that you’ll be satisfied. The only true sin I found is gluttony — it’s so thirsty! But, you say, first cast out the beam of thine own eye, and you’re right. I’m afraid that my brief foray in mall crawling is a more realistic representation of the life of a Lexus LX, and for this, it is less than ideal.
[Images: © 2019 Chris Tonn]
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- Syke Nine comments and Tassos hasn't jumped in screaming about what a garbage car this is?
- The Oracle The Spyder and Ryker platforms are great for folks who want an open air experience but may not want it on 2 wheels. I’ve had a Spyder RS-S since new in 2012 and it’s a fun machine with the manual transmission. When ridden hard, fuel economy goes well below 36mpg, but 2-up riding is great and the frunk is great for running errands.
- The Oracle These pricing pressures have been around for decades and the traditional ICE supply base is about to be upended.
- Druni Thanks. Great.
- NaMiNo Thanks for the recap, Tim! It's always interesting to get a glimpse of what's happening at auto shows. The focus on EVs aligns with the industry's growing shift towards electrification. And optimism about the future, along with more vehicle debuts, is a good sign for the automotive world. I always go to site here for more writting ideas for my blog. Your photos tell the story beautifully, even with auto-show lighting challenges.