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2014 Lexus LX 570 Road Test & Review: Introduction
Approaching the Lexus LX 570, one of the first things you’ll note is its size. This Lexus is no shrinking wallflower; rather it is the very definition of the phrase loud and proud. Now this is not to say it’s gaudily ostentatious in the vein of say, the Cadillac Escalade. It’s just the sheer size of the thing.
Based as it is on Toyota’s formidable Land Cruiser, the LX 570 is one of the last full-size body-on-frame luxury suvs. And, while the carlike attributes that go along with unit body construction are highly desirable, the fact remains, if you’re looking to do some hard-core offroading and/or heavy duty towing, body-on-frame is the way to go.
However, the thing unit body construction has over body-on-frame is weight savings. When all of the mechanicals are attached to the body using subframes, you need less metal. With body on frame construction you’ve got the body, and you’ve got a separate frame (the chassis) to which all of the mechanicals are attached. That’s a lot of weight, and weight is the enemy of both performance and fuel economy.
But hey, anybody shopping in this category looking for 30 miles per gallon is living in a dream.
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2014 Lexus LX 570 Road Test & Review: Models and Prices
With a starting price of $82,630, the 2014 Lexus LX 570 is offered in one exceptionally well-equipped trim level. Standard features include a set of 20-inch alloy wheels paired with an adaptive suspension system capable of automatic load leveling. Night visibility is ensured by a set of automatic xenon headlamps, which follow the movements of the steering wheel.
A power liftgate, a set of heated power-folding auto-dimming exterior mirrors, running boards, a sunroof, cruise control, and keyless ignition and entry are also included in the base price. Passenger comfort is managed by way of a four-zone automatic climate control system. Leather upholstery is featured throughout the cabin. The power adjustable front seats are heated and the second row of seats slide and recline, while the third row of seats offer a power-folding feature.
On the tech front, the on-board electronics include a touchscreen video interface monitoring both a rearview camera and the navigation system. Real-time traffic and weather information is also presented on the monitor. In addition to the touchscreen interface, the telephone, audio system and navigation system respond to voice inputs.
And yes, your smartphone is welcomed heartily; the Lexus Enform suite of app-based services, which includes Pandora, Yelp, and iHeartRadio is there. Further, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming connectivity are supported. The components of the base audio system include nine speakers, a CD changer, satellite radio, HD radio, an auxiliary audio input port, and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Three option packages are offered, ranging in price from $7,290 to $9,453. These feature semi-aniline leather, ventilation for the front seats, heat for the second row seats, a heated steering wheel, a console mounted cool box, a Mark Levinson 19-speaker audio reinforcement system, a rear-seat entertainment package featuring a pair of seven-inch video monitors mounted beneath the headrests of the front seats, parking assist, remote engine start, a pre collision system, and smart cruise.
A fully kitted LX 570 will come in at around $92,993—with destination charges.
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2014 Lexus LX 570 Road Test & Review: Design
As you might well imagine, an eight-passenger body-on-frame SUV with this many luxury features is going to be big. And, in fact, the Lexus LX 570 is one humongous vehicle. Its rounded styling cues, relatively flat sides, and expansive glass areas do very little to downplay this fact.
The styling of the LX570 was refreshed for the 2013 model year and with that refresh came the signature spindle grille, which graces the face of Lexus models these days. Whatever else you may think of it, the upright nature of the grille serves to make the LX 570 look even taller than it is.
In sum, this is a ride makes its presence known. There is no missing the Lexus; it pretty much dwarfs every other vehicle in its category, save perhaps the Infiniti QX80. In fact, perhaps tongue in cheek, on the Lexus Website; the LX 570 is described as featuring luxury and capability on an unprecedented scale.
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2014 Lexus LX 570 Road Test & Review: Comfort and Cargo
Of course, the benefit of all of that size is considerable comfort—if you’re seated in one of the first two rows. That third row is pretty difficult to get to, and only short people need try. Adults are not going to be comfortable sitting back there, both headroom and legroom are in limited supply.
The other seats are quite palatial in their accommodations however. The leather upholstering the seats is extremely fine. All seating positions can be heated, and the front two offer ventilation as well. The second row also gets its own control unit for the climate control system—so they can be heated and cooled independently of the folks up front.
What’s more, the quality evident in the surroundings goes a long way toward ensuring the tranquility of the environment. Exceptionally rich woods, fine leather, and very high quality soft-touch plastics adorn the interior.
While you’ll think the solution Lexus engineers came up with for stowing the third-row seats to permit the accommodation of additional cargo is clever (and it really is) the truth of the matter is folding the seats away along the sides of the cargo area detract from space that could be used for cargo. A better solution would have been to fold them into the floor. Still, folding them away nets 41 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Fold the second row too, and you’ll get 83 cubic feet. While that looks like a lot of storage at first glance, the Lexus RX 350 gets pretty close to that figure, without the LX 570’s bulk.
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2014 Lexus LX 570 Road Test & Review: Features and Controls
In addition to the pleasant nature of the interior décor, the organization and presentation of the LX 570’s secondary controls take a lot of guesswork out of accessing the various comfort and convenience features of the big Lexus. That said, there are an awful lot of buttons gracing the interior. In all probability, the next generation LX 570 will go to the Remote Touch controller (which debuted on the Lexus RX) for infotainment functions.
The other thing driving all of the buttons in the LX 570 is the immense capability of its four-wheel drive system. Hill start assist, crawl control, and the multi-terrain system all have switchgear. Further, you can raise and lower the Lexus at the touch of a button, you can adjust the stiffness of the suspension system (another button) you can switch the four-wheel drive system into lo-range and hi-range (yet another button) and so on, and so on. The LX 570 is truly capable, but there’s a switch for nearly every capability. After a while, it all adds up.
Still though, as we said above, it is all pretty easy to figure out. Over time, you’ll learn the layout and get used to it. But there’s a reason nearly everyone has gone to a controller and monitor strategy for secondary controls in modern luxury cars. One look around the interior of the LX 570 and you get it pretty quickly.
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2014 Lexus LX 570 Road Test & Review: Engine/Fuel Economy
In a ride with nothing lacking, a powerful engine is an absolute must. In the case of the LX 570, as its nomenclature suggests, that power emanates from a 5.7-liter V8, producing 383 horsepower and 404 ft-lbs of torque. The engine is tuned such that 90 percent of its peak torque is available at 2200 rpm. Pulling power is absolutely assured. Lexus claims a 7,000-pound tow rating for the LX 570.
The Lexus is a full-time four-wheel drive automobile. Power is routed from the engine to the drive wheels by way of a six-speed automatic transmission and a Torsen limited-slip locking center differential. In steady-state operation, torque is split 60 percent to the rear wheels and 40 percent to the front. The Torsen system will also apportion torque front to rear as the situation demands, depending upon available traction.
The transmission offers a driver-selectable lo-range, which provides low-speed crawling capability. Switching the Lexus into this mode automatically activates its Active Height Control system—increasing ground clearance by two inches. Four-wheel Active Traction Control helps control wheel slip, while the Multi-Terrain Select system lets the driver designate Rock, Rock & Dirt, Mogul, Loose Rock, or Mud & Sand modes– to optimize the response of the Active Traction Control to nature of the surface encountered
Crawl Control, Turn Assist, and Hill-start Assist Control systems further improve the LX 570’s performance in off road situations. The first two manipulate the throttle and brakes to help maintain a steady slow, even pace on steep declines. The Hill-start Assist Control prevents the LX 570 from rolling backward when it’s forced to start up again after having stopped on an incline.
What’s more, the LX 570’s Turn Assist helps the big Lexus shrink its turning circle. It does this by applying brake force to the inside rear wheel in a tight turn. To help prevent overdriving the Lexus in slow trail crawling situations, its Variable Gear Ratio Steering optimizes steering response in slow, rugged trail driving situations. However, it also enhances directional control in highway driving.
It does come at a price though—the EPA says you can anticipate achieving 12 mpg in the city, 17 on the highway, and 14 combined.
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2014 Lexus LX 570 Road Test & Review: Driving Impressions
With all of its offroad capability, weight, and relatively unsophisticated body-on-frame architecture, the Lexus LX 570 would be well forgiven if it drove like a truck.
But it doesn’t.
Quite the opposite actually; smooth, quiet, and comfort are its dominant dynamic attributes. If you’ve ever ridden in a Lexus LS, you’ll find the similarity astounding. First and foremost this is a Lexus product. Silky smoothness is hard-coded into its DNA. You’ll be astounded at how quiet the flagship Lexus suv is.
Yes, it’s a big vehicle and yes, maneuvering it can be a bit of issue at times. But overall, the LX 570 is all about pampering its occupants in every way imaginable. It steers easily, stops smoothly, and accelerates strongly. The lushness you’ll find in its interior accommodations is wholly echoed in the way it goes down the road.
No, it doesn’t corner with the determination of a BMX X5 or a Porsche Cayenne, but come on; it’s a completely different kind of vehicle. You wouldn’t try to tow 7,000 pounds with the Porsche or the BMW either. (Well, you might, but it ain’t a good idea, unless you want to find out what a new Porsche or BMW transmission costs firsthand.)
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2014 Lexus LX 570 Road Test & Review: Safety Equipment
The list of safety gear is quite exhaustive. Among the standout features are antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and front knee airbags. The Lexus Safety Connect emergency communications system adds automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location services, and an emergency assist feature. The Lexus Pre-Collision System, which comes bundled with adaptive cruise control, automatically tautens the front seatbelts and pre-sets the braking system for a panic stop if it determines if a crash is imminent.
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2014 Lexus LX 570 Road Test & Review: Final Thoughts
It should be noted, as capable as the Lexus is, when it comes to recommending it, we’re a bit loathe to do so—to the population in general. This is a specialized vehicle for a very specific buyer. All of that size and capability is totally wasted on the average suburbanite. The sophisticated offroad hardware adds a lot of weight, and in all probability, will go completely unused by most people.
The very nature of the Lexus makes it attract many luxury car buyers who just want plush accommodations and to sit up high. This is going to entail a terrific amount of waste, because those people are not going to tow a trailer, nor are they going to scale the sort of terrain this SUV was designed to tame.
And yes, the same goes for the Land Rover Range Rover, another equally capable SUV, to be sure. Will that stop people from buying it? Probably not, but at least you know it’s way more than you’ll probably ever need.
And yes, we realize for a lot of people, this just made it even more attractive.
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2014 Lexus LX 570 Road Test & Review: Pros and Cons
Outstanding build quality
Excellent reputation for reliability
Beautifully finished interior
All the luxury you could possibly ever want
Stellar off road capablity
Overkill in nearly every measure
Poor fuel economy
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