First Drive: 2016 Lexus LX570
What happens when you combine posh luxury with the ultimate utility? You get Dwayne Johnson in a furr coat – although, we’ve seen stranger things. The Lexus LX570 is kind of similar, sure, Dwayne looked funny in a tutu in his Disney days, but we’ve moved onto more serious roles, much like this SUV that once served a purposed over the last decade for those that needed to get to a dinner party, in the woods, during a snow storm. Now, all the behemoth luxo SUV’s have become more of road warriors than the back woods predators, which starts to leave the LX570 nearing retirement age – lets see if this refresh rejuvenates some life into its this fiscal year’s sales margin.
There are two major important updates the LX570 has received for 2016 since its last mild refresh in 2012. The first one is obviously clear – it has been heavily restyled with all new sheet metal to match Lexus’ new corporate look. We won’t talk much about the enormous grille that could swallow small children though, that’s up to the buyer’s discretion. Notably this LX570 gets all the latest in Lexus luxury gizmos from the triple beam executive LED headlights to the crisp signature LED taillights. We also felt like laying down an extra $745 bucks on top of our samplers starting $88,880 price tag for some large 21-inch wheels – seems fitting doesn’t it?
Inside is where the true luxo, plush formation takes place with a fully revamped interior. Loaded with wood and leather, this is about as plush as you can get without getting into something over six-figures… not to say this one isn’t close. There is problem however – with our sampler reaching close to that 100-grand range, we were expecting something a bit more distinctive. This $97,405 sampled LX570 felt very… uhmm… Lexus’. Sure every surface is layered in soft touch materials and loaded with so much tech you’ll need to be schooled, but so is the smaller, 60k RX350. To top it off, our tester is starting to become a high milager at 11,000 miles and that meant after being used by several journalist, its wear was starting to showing through, which left us concern about it longevity life span.
The place to be however is in the back – the comfort levels are just as good as the front, if not better. There’s a 4-zone climate control system so each passenger is at their highest comfortable level, all four seats get heated and ventilation features, rear window sunshades and check out those huge TV’s in the back, for a mere $2005 more. The place not to be in is that third row – the punishment row.
The second piece of new technology that’s been fitted for 2016 is the new 8-speed automatic transmission that hustle its 5.7-liter V-8 to 60 mph in just over 7-seconds. 383-horsepower out of that naturally aspirated V-8 isn’t much power these days as the Mercedes GL550 hits 449-horsepower, the Cadillac Escalade’s 420-horsepower and the Infiniti QX80’s at 400-horsepower. In a SUV that weights over 6000lbs, having sporting attributes is a tad redundant, but hey, there’s a SPORT + mode that manages the 8-speed more briskly. There’s even steering wheel mounted paddle shifter – not that they’ll be used anyways. Left in normal mode the transmission has its moments of clarity and can be creamy smooth – put your foot down and we discovered it no longer understands what it does and takes several moments to think before it speaks.
With the body built to the frame of the chassis, this makes the LX570 a fossil in the SUV world – it also makes the LX570 more rugged and capable and judging by all the switches and buttons of off-road technology, adjustable air suspension, two mode traction control, and locking central differential, we’d have to agree. If all of this also sounds familiar, it should – it’s the same technology that’s in the Land Cruiser in which this LX570 shares everything but it’s skin with. This of course however effects its driving dynamics – not only does it make it the slowest in its class, but the heaviest which effects fuel economy, well that, and its permanent all-time four-wheel drive. The EPA is a little far off on this one we averaged 11 miles to the gallon – ELEVEN! And with 250 miles of range on premium octane, we saw the pump more times than we saw our driveway.
This also makes the LX570 a little hard to drive – it feels and drives like an elephant – the steering is not only vague, but extremely heavy – putting the drive mode into comfort can help lighten the steering’s mobility. The suspension at least absorbs the entire world so it feels like you’re floating on air. And the cabin is so isolating you could care less about what is happening outside as your cocooned in your own serenity and listening to music through the 19-speark Mark Levinson surround sound system – which by the way is $2350 option.
The biggest fear Lexus faces with the LX570 is the fact it’s hitting a market that no longer exist. There is no need for a large luxo-SUV that can climb to the top of Mount Everest. With Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz development intelligent all-wheel drive system that are just as capable – the LX570 is becoming obsolete. But if you feel like fueling up 3 times a week, and want to be on top of the world, by all means, the Lexus LX570 is your best option… next to a pre-owned Hummer.
|Price (As Tested):|
|2016 Lexus LX570:||$88,880|
|5.7-liter V-8- 383-horsepower/403lb-ft of torque – 0-60MPH: ±7.0 seconds|
|EPA MPG: 13/18/15 (city/highway/combined) – SSB Average: 11 MPG’s – Fuel Range: 250 Miles|
|Wireless Charging Station:||$75|
|Heated Dark Walnut Wood Steering Wheel:||$150|
|Refrigerated Center Cool Box:||$170|
|21-inch Alloy Wheels:||$745|
|Dual-Screen Rear DVD Entertainment System:||$2,005|
|Mark Levinson Audio System:||$2,350|
I think I’ve lived under a rock because I had to google Dwayne J! I need to get it together. I really thought the LX was a nice ride, especially when we went to Home Depot and its cavernous cargo area swallowed up that huge cardboard box with my mower inside. Sure, it’s a beastly, expensive SUV with primitive underpinnings and vague steering, but there’s a sense of power and command from behind the wheel!
Well I edited out “The Rock.” It was a perfect ride for a Home Depot run – even the day laborers agreed.