During the darkest days of our late winter, Lexus dug deep into its press fleet to supply us with a squadron of weather-ready rigs.
The latest and the largest of them is the 2019 LX 570, a full-size truck-based luxury SUV that can be had in two- and three-row versions.
With two rows pricing starts at $86,080; the third-row option bumps that to $91,080.
That’s not chump change, but the LX is one of a handful of authentically luxurious sport-utes built to tread the trail less taken. With 8.9 inches of ground clearance and an extravagantly capable 4WD system, the LX is an off-road force to be reckoned with.
It rates high on the luxe scale too. Its cavernous interior drips with wood trim and high-end leathers. Seats are plush and supportive, armrests and other touch-points are deeply padded and a crisp touchscreen tops a flowing dash that’s bisected by a handsome slab of polished wood trim.
Consider it the landed-gentry version of the Toyota Land Cruiser it’s based on.
Like the rest of Toyota Corp.’s jumbo off-roaders — including the Land Cruiser and the midsize Lexus GX — the LX is due for a refresh. They were last fully made-over in 2008 and are scheduled for a 2022 appointment with the update doc.
Until then, what you see is what you get.
The LX’s age shows up in a powertrain that produces cellar-dwelling EPA numbers (15 mpg combined/13 city/18 highway) and in a ride-and-handling package that labors to contend with 5,800 pounds of curb weight and a high center of gravity.
Good ride meets truck-like handling
Ride quality is quite good. The LX ignores most road-surface bumps and bruises but its height-adjustable, self-leveling suspension struggles to control body lean and other unwanted motions.
The LX is least at home on winding country two-lanes where lumpy road surfaces can cause it to sway and swoon. Using the Sport or Sport+ drive settings, the driver can tighten things up, but not without making the ride too firm.
Packaging could use a second look as well, especially the three-row version. Instead of a third-row bench, the three-row LX has a 50/50 split seat that folds in two sections up against the cargo-area side walls.
A couple of kids could get comfortable back there, but the setup cuts into available cargo space.
Big V-8 strong but thirsty
All LXs are powered by a 5.7-liter V-8 (383 horsepower/403 pound-feet of torque) paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The standard full-time 4WD system includes a two-speed transfer case and Crawl Control, a kind of low-speed cruise control that’s especially useful in challenging terrain.
Multi-terrain Select lets the driver choose the correct settings for the conditions. Certainly, its size argues against serious stump-jumping but the LX is remarkably capable.
The big eight is smooth and quiet and the gearbox makes quick, sure shifts. The LX runs the 0-60 sprint in 7.6 seconds and can tow up to 7,000 pounds.
Standard tow gear includes a hitch and trailer wiring sockets. The LX is prewired for an add-on trailer brake controller and the stability control system includes trailer sway control.
Every LX is equipped with a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, four-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery and heated and ventilated front seats. The 40/20/40-split second-row seat, also heated and powered, reclines and slides fore and aft.
Outside, there are automatic LED headlights, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, automatic wipers, windshield wiper deicers, running boards and a power liftgate.
A lengthy list of standard driver-assist features include standard forward collision warning, with pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
That’s a brief summary; just know that Lexus has you covered where safety is concerned.
The infotainment system includes a large dash-top display screen and the awkward Remote Touch controller. Also standard are navigation, Bluetooth, a USB port, the Lexus Enform infotainment smartphone app suite and a nine-speaker sound system.
Like many of us, the LX has grown long in the tooth. Look past its years, though, and you’ll find lots to like about Lexus’s biggest rig.
Questions or comments? Contact Don at email@example.com.
2019 Lexus LX 570
Vehicle base price: $85,830
Trim level base price: $85,830
As tested: $88,940 (includes destination and handling)
Options: 21-inch split-10-spoke alloy wheels; semi-aniline leather; heated and ventilated first- and second-row seats; heated dark-brown walnut steering wheel.
Tow rating: 7,000 pounds
EPA rating: 15 combined/13 city/18 highway
Regular unleaded gasoline specified