For the customer who prioritizes build quality, durability, and the utmost reliability.
The flagship vehicle has generally had one purpose: to serve as the very top model in an automaker’s lineup. Usually, it is price alone that determines where a vehicle’s status in the “family” lies, but the top-of-the-line flagships also serve as test-beds for the latest and greatest in automotive technologies and engineering. Is there room on the market for a vehicle that tries to define the flagship term, in its own unique way? Within the Toyota and Lexus family, one might assume that the large LS sedan serves as the flagship vehicle, and in many ways it does – but it’s not the most expensive (when you look at base prices). That award actually goes to the LX SUV, which is the largest product in the Lexus portfolio. Lexus Canada sent over a 2017 Lexus LX 570 painted in a shade of Atomic Silver, for evaluation.
Serious off-road enthusiasts may know that the Toyota Land Cruiser hasn’t actually been sold in Canada for about two decades now. The only way for Canadians to get in on the action was to pick up a Lexus LX, which was based on the Land Cruiser. What makes the Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus LX so appealing? In short, they are reputed to be some of the most reliable and most durable vehicles on earth. Dating back to the old-school “FJ40” Land Cruiser (produced from 1960 to 1984), it has built up an immensely loyal following, with a vivid aftermarket, and a very strong sense of community – second only to the Jeep Wrangler (reviewed here) crowd. Off-road enthusiasts are not the only group singing the praises of the Land Cruiser; you’ll also find them serving faithfully in the Middle East, where they are the vehicle of choice when durability and reliability are of utmost importance, as you make your way over sand dunes, at speed.
One of the things that Toyota is good at, is the long product lifecycle. The Lexus LX 570 is a good example – it technically dates back to 2008. The first version of the current-generation LX featured a more conservative look, borrowing styling from the LS luxury sedan at the time. The full-size LX rides on a full-frame chassis, which not only lends itself to strong towing capabilities, but it makes for a more durable platform. The first facelifted version of the LX 570 arrived for the 2011 model year, and it saw Lexus’ new “Spindle Grille” applied to the front end, seemingly on a trial basis – a bumper bar still dissected the grille horizontally and provided some visual separation. The most recent facelift brought along an evolution of the Spindle Grille, with a much more aggressive style, and angular LED headlights.
This front-end design language has permeated across the entire Lexus lineup, and the polarizing looks manage to separate people into two camps: love or hate it. It’s certainly a distinctive look, and it’ll help the Lexus stand out in a sea of Cadillac Escalades (reviewed here), but one can understand how it may be just a little “too much” for people. The big spindle grille works, mostly because the LX 570 is so large, with the long bulging hood all that’s in the way of your looking down at the rest of the world. At the end of the day, the LX 570 is a basic two-box design, with slab sides and an obvious nod towards favourable approach and departure angles. Big 21″ wheels with 275-section tires live at all four corners, and certainly add an exclamation mark to what is already an enormous SUV. The factory-spec tires, Dunlop’s GrandTrek PT3A, are designed with on-road manners in mind, so if you’re looking to traverse anything more than a mild dirt trail, it may be worth looking into more aggressive rubber. That being said, the LX 570 was more than able to climb up and down some wet dirt trails without breaking a sweat – the muddy tires in the photo album are good evidence of this.
Inside, the LX 570 features today’s Lexus interior design, but with a conservative mindset applied. The wood used in the interior is of the non-synthetic variety, though it’s the glossy type – not the open-pore matte stuff everybody loves, these days. The centre armrest is softly padded and generous in width, and it also contains a refrigerated compartment, perfect for keeping those drinks cool, whether you’re exploring the desert, or hitting up the luxury camping resort outside of the city. A large 12.3-inch LCD screen lives up front and centre, with integrated satellite navigation, four-zone automatic climate control, and a Mark Levinson 19-speaker entertainment system. Rear passengers are treated to a built-in entertainment system (standard equipment) attached to the headrests of the front driver and passenger seats, complete with wireless headphones and a remote control.
The leather seats are heated and ventilated in the first two rows, though the third row is most interesting; instead of the seats folding down into the floor, they fold (electrically) upwards, and towards the side of the truck. At first, this looks to be a tremendous waste of space, as the entire assembly cuts into the horizontal space you have available with the seats stowed up. It’s a cumbersome solution, but there is a method to all the madness: the full frame and the desire to maintain a decent departure angle cuts into the under-floor space where third-row seats would often go in a unibody truck.
Located just behind the gear selector are all the controls associated with the 4WD system. The Lexus LX 570 features a full-time 4WD configuration, with a Torsen centre differential, and selectable low-range gearing. The centre differential is lockable, however the front and rear axles are not. To bolster the LX’s credentials, a full air suspension system allows the driver to raise and lower the truck, on demand. Also included is Toyota’s crawl control system, which uses the vehicle stability control and braking system to carefully guide the LX down steep hills, of which the descent speed can be controlled with one of the two knobs. One of the buttons activates the “Off-Road Turn Assist” function: it allows drivers to essentially make a super-sharp U-turn on loose surfaces, by having the inside rear wheel dragged while engaging a sharp steering angle and crawling forward. It is an ingenious system that allows large trucks like the LX 570 to remain nimble and maneuverable on tighter trails.
Under the hood lives the largest engine in the Toyota and Lexus family. The all-aluminum 5.7L V8 (codenamed 3UR-FE) puts out 383hp at 5600RPM and 403 lb-ft. of torque at 3600RPM. It is fairly traditional in its configuration and operation – it doesn’t employ turbocharging, nor does it feature direct injection, or even electric power steering – a traditional hydraulic system is employed. Furthermore, the main cooling fan isn’t of the electric variety, but rather a mechanical clutched fan. The most obvious giveaway is the fact the fan roars to life when you start the engine, and quickly settles down to its usual idle speed. Electric fans are more commonplace due to their improved efficiency and reduced power draw, but durability is the name of the game here. Everything under the hood is chosen with reliability in mind, which explains all the known-good, tried-and-tested hardware. The Lexus LX 570 doesn’t try to live on the bleeding edge of technology.
The big and lazy V8 sends its power through an Aisin eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine and transmission calibration prefer to keep revs as low as possible, only waking up if you mash the accelerator pedal. When accelerating leisurely in the city, the revs rarely ever exceed 2000RPM, and the linear power band makes the LX 570 a seriously smooth operator. The steering ratio is slow (like a real truck), so you’ll be working at the wheel quite a bit if you need to make a tight manoeuver. The four-wheel air suspension absorbs bumps effortlessly, though a tiny hint of the full-frame body shake makes its way to the cabin. Dual-paned glass and insulation just about everywhere keeps the interior supremely serene. The big frame, big engine, and luxury appointments all add up to a hefty curb weight of 2680kg/6000 pounds. The LX 570 is also built to tow – it is rated to handle 3175kg/7000 pounds. without breaking a sweat.
The big weight, dimensions, and general lack of fuel-saving technologies certainly don’t help the LX 570 at the fuel pumps. Lexus Canada rates it at 18.3L/100km in the city, 12.9L/100km on the highway, and 15.9L/100km in a combined cycle. During our weeklong test of mixed city and highway driving, we ended up with an indicated average of 15.5L/100km, over about 800km of driving. The LX 570 will handle 93L of premium fuel.
Lexus Canada keeps pricing simple for the LX 570. You can only get it one way – fully loaded – at $108,000, before taxes and additional fees. With no options packages to worry about, you just pick from one of four colours, and submit your order at the Lexus dealer. The market for ultra-premium body-on-frame SUVs is not a crowded one, and the most obvious competitor is the Cadillac Escalade. Over there, you’re able to select from a number of option packages, but the closest match to the Lexus LX 570 is the Escalade Platinum, at $107,305. You get more power (and towing capacity), better fuel efficiency, more third-row space, and arguably more street presence, but trucks like the LX 570 (and Land Cruiser) counter with unbeatable durability and build quality, as well as the legendary off-road capabilities. There’s also the Infiniti QX80 which undercuts the LX 570 in price, but its exterior styling is arguably even more polarizing. It also doesn’t have quite the same off-road credentials, but it can tow more than the LX 570.
Back to the Toyota Land Cruiser once again: though it hasn’t been sold in Canada for quite some time now, American customers have continued to get mostly unrestricted access to one of Toyota’s largest full-frame SUVs (the biggest is actually the Sequoia). There’s good reason to be jealous of this fact, but hang on for one second: current pricing on Toyota.com shows the Land Cruiser priced at $84,775 USD. Doing a straight conversion using mid-June rates translates that figure to just over $112,000 CAD. In other words, the LX 570 in Canada costs less than a Land Cruiser would, if a Canadian were to go to the USA to buy. This quick conversion makes the Lexus LX 570 a surprising value for Canadian buyers!
The Lexus LX 570 attracts a different kind of customer, one who prioritizes build quality, durability, and the utmost reliability in their workhorse truck. It’s not the most flashy (though that Spindle Grille does a good job garnering attention), nor the most technologically-advanced, but the LX 570 doesn’t really care, because it rides on the well-known legacy that comes with being built on the Land Cruiser platform. I simply adore the fact that it still has hydraulic power steering, a mechanical clutched cooling fan, and port fuel injection – all of these technologies have proven themselves over decades of refinement and engineering. It’s the reliability game that Toyota and Lexus made themselves famous with, and the LX 570 is the current pinnacle of that engineering mindset. The fuel economy penalty is a small (or large) price to pay, but when you’re looking to build a full-size sport utility vehicle that: a) isn’t a crossover, b) can tow, c) go off-road with seven more people in comfort, and d) be built to last, the Lexus LX 570 is without equal.
2017 Lexus LX 570 Gallery