It’s built in Japan, costs about $100,000 and plays by its own timeless rules; this is the Lexus LX.
A popular sight at the Ritz-Carlton and in the reserved parking spot at your surgeon’s office, the Lexus version of the Toyota Land Cruiser affords its owners both upper-crust status and peace of mind. Not preoccupied with the latest automotive advancements, the LX is a little like stepping into your rich grandfather’s study; stately, enduring but a little musty.
Its very being is a window into the past; a time when SUVs had body-on-frame construction, real 4X4 goodies and thirsty V8s. And when it came time to lux-ify them, automakers just dressed them to the nines with leather and wood.
And that is the 2020 LX 570 in a nutshell; a Toyota trademark where trucks live in perpetuity virtually unchanged.
Last refreshed for the 2016 model year; the LX has recently added a 2-row option and a Sport Package…neither of which my tester has. Priced from about $93,000 and optioned here to just over $100,000 this is the biggest and most expensive Lexus SUV.
It has full-time 4-wheel drive with low range gearing, a locking center differential, a solid rear axle, height-adjustable suspension and a pantry of electronic off-road assistance features. It can seat 8 and tow 7,000 pounds.
Back in 2008 when it was last completely redesigned, it sourced its power from the Toyota Tundra’s 5.7-liter engine and it’s still here; the most inefficient V8 on the market today. It produces 383 horsepower, 403-lb-ft of torque and turns out a 0-to-60mph time of 7.3 seconds.
You want to see something funny? There’s an ECO gauge in here. It’s just one screen past the actual fuel economy readout, which in city driving, will get you about 12mpg. On Premium, please.
I’ve put a lot of miles on the LX this week traveling out of town and it is exceptional at long trip comfort. The driver’s seat is like sitting in a big, ‘ol comfy, soft leather armchair. The cabin is quiet and the adaptive suspension has a lovable floatiness to it that won’t disturb the kids’ naps.
The wood and leather steering wheel feels luxurious in the hand and with the adaptive cruise control set you can drive seemingly forever without fatigue. Now, just about everything regarding the electronic conveniences is brutally archaic yet for those who cower in the face of modern tech, this might actually be an LX strong suit.
Look – you already know this infotainment system is the worst ever and without CarPlay or Android Auto you can’t really escape it, but the rest of the vehicle’s controls are actual switches and knobs…not exactly the uncluttered look favored by today’s vehicles, but simple to use nevertheless.
Though I really wonder how often an LX owner ever touches this bank of controls? There are a number of off-road terrain settings but they only work when in 4-low so I’m guessing the answer is never. There is a clumsily placed wireless charge pad here and the Lexus Enform system does offer Alexa integration which is pretty cool.
The LX’s most redeeming traits are its soft and forgiving, albeit, truck-ish ride quality, soft leather, comfy seats you can ride in for days and voluminous cargo room. But, for an asking price of over $100,000? I can’t even begin to explain this one. Remarkably last year, some 4,700 Americans decided this was the SUV for them; rumor has it they all still use rotary dial phones and write checks at the grocery store.
Ok, I kid because I love but the profit on one of these must be off the charts. At this price you might expect to see items such as massaging seats, cool ambient lighting, power deployable running boards, a heads-up display that isn’t all crooked and off-center, an air suspension or big brand tires. These Dunlops came standard on my ’01 Tacoma. But all are absent.
I’ve never seen these little guillotine style hoods before that cover the screens when not in use, but the rear seat entertainment system hasn’t yet caught up to the advent of Blu Ray discs.
Let’s stop being so negative…I love the automatic climate controlled seats, the cool box in the center console comes in handy for your restaurant doggy bag, the height adjustable suspension acts quickly, and it’s pretty darn quiet in here.
The third row seats are a design you don’t see much anymore but they are partially power operated; tricky to get back to however and certainly not the most efficient use of the LX’s space though those in the 2nd row will find high comfort, adjustable screens, manual sunshades and their own set of climate controls just no panoramic roof.
As long as you can afford the gas and don’t mind stopping for it often, the LX is a great long trip cruiser with comfort for days and the ability to handle a back road. And when you do find yourself off the beaten path the 4×4 ride quality is spectacular. So the best reason for purchase is for the air of serene invincibility the LX provides. It sounds like 2022 will be the next LX redesign. Until then, enjoy Lexus’ definition of the timeless SUV.