My Big Traveling Companion
A Victory & Reseda review of the 2017 Lexus LX 570
Travel is a mixed bag sometimes.
You can plan the most enjoyable time in the world with a few deficiencies to balance out the excitement. You can budget to the hilt and find you're running over. But, you can have the time of your life being away from home with people you care the most about.
When planning this getaway, which included a client site visit and the Midwest Automotive Media Association's 2017 Fall Rally, I had to agree to take what could be the "last vehicle on the lot" to do so.
For some, the 2017 Lexus LX 570 could be the first choice. It is big, luxurious, and has its roots in Toyota's finest SUV – the Land Cruiser. However, it is big, luxurious, and very expensive.
To call it the "last vehicle on the lot" is derogatory and demeans the purpose of the LX 570. I may not be glamping or staying at luxurious accommodations along the way, but the LX 570 appears to state otherwise. Yet, I have been called a "Lexus fanboy" plenty of times. Maybe I deserve this as my vehicle to go to this year's MAMA Fall Rally.
Perhaps I should warrant the drive of this 6,000 pound, V8-powered SUV and simply shut up.
Before I do, I have to review the updated LX 570 to see how it is different than before.
My first LX 570 came over three years ago. I called it the "big ticket," since it arrived with an $89,000 price tag and resulted in achieving terrible fuel economy. A recent refresh yielded many changes to the big SUV – including the swap of the transmission from a six-speed to an eight-speed automatic. The same new driveline appeared in the Land Cruiser that arrived earlier this year. This yielded improved fuel economy that was more livable – on a scalable basis.
The concern of driving the LX 570 was indeed fuel consumption. To focus on that issue alone is to detract from the rest of the SUV. Let's just start off with talking about the vehicle, first.
The current LX 570 underwent another refresh a year ago, including a bold new nose integrating a large Spindle Grille with wider slats and slimmer LED headlamps. Each headlamp unit has two LED strips for the daytime running lights and turn signals, along with three LED bulbs – something familiar to RC F and GS F owners. The rear end received bold horizontal tail light units with LED strips in an "L" formation. The rest of the rear end and body fell into place highlighting these new additions to the LX.
My tester came with large 21-inch alloy wheels for serious baller status. OK, more like exaggerating its luxury credibility. I will admit liking the look, punctuated with a deep and rich Nightfall Mica paint job.
The interior is slathered with fine semi-aniline perforated leather upholstery over three rows of seats. Second-row passengers get a separate set of controls for climate and audio, placed on the center armrest. Third-row seats are positioned on the sides of the rear cargo hold. A mix of power and manual controls lower and raise them when they are needed. You can absolutely fit seven people in a pinch inside of the LX 570.
The instrument panel was majorly changed to include a wide 12.3-inch screen operated by a Remote Touch controller. The widescreen is split for various functions, including navigation with Lexus Enform Destination Assist. The instrumentation offers full information between two larger dials, four smaller gauges and the information screen in-between them. There is a head-up display that is wide and informative, as well. Not to mention there are a ton of buttons and switches for practically every function in this SUV – especially the off-road controls. You have to remind yourself that this is not just a mere Lexus SUV, but one borne from one of the most capable off-roaders made in the world.
By the way, the wood you see in select parts of the LX 570's cabin is real. Real subtle and lovely. So is the standard audio system. It is indeed a lovely place to be no matter where you are going.
The big 5.7-liter V8 makes the journey easier to handle. With 383 horsepower on tap, it is the 403 pound-feet of torque that makes the difference when you need more power at the low end. It is also designed to tow up to 7,000 pounds right behind the rig. The updated eight-speed automatic shifts smoothly and makes easy work on the highway. If you have to go off-road, there are five modes to choose from, along with additional traction and driver assist functions all designed to make your off-road experience better in this 6,000 pound SUV.
The ride quality of the LX 570 ranged from smooth to absorbent on less than desirable highway surfaces. The suspension travel was long, which made for some interesting responses on bumps. It is also better designed for low-speed maneuvers, as it will roll on even moderate to high-speed turns and curves. A lot of care was needed when maneuvering the LX 570 into garages/ramps and other parking facilities. You do sit high – maybe too high for some. Luckily, you do get a rear-view and 360-degree camera views that show up on the aforementioned 12.3-inch wide infotainment screen.
Steering is not exactly tight, but it does help in tight maneuvers, such as parking next to a concrete pole inside parking facilities. I was amazed at how the LX 570 was able to get itself out of trouble in those situations. Regular turns are easy to do and wheel weight is heavy for more direct in-lane driving. Brakes are very good on the LX 570, with solid stopping power from the pedal and good response in normal and panic situations.
At this point, I need address one of the biggest concerns one should have while driving the Lexus LX 570 – fuel economy. In my care, I averaged 15.5 MPG. It is an improvement over the last LX 570 I reviewed, but many would say that it is still unacceptable. I will take the improvement.
The LX 570 comes with a base price of $89,380. The complete sticker price of my tester was $93,340. If I kept on ticking the boxes on the order sheet, I would eventually end up short of $99,000.
In a world where the SUV rules the sales chart, there is a consideration about the relative nature of each sub-segment within this type of vehicle. We are talking about the pantheon of SUVs – ones wearing the most desirable badges and their appropriate levels of luxury and capability.
Where the LX 570 will win is with families who are from a certain income bracket that ca show that they can have a very capable SUV that fits their needs and wants. They can go off the highway onto the cabin or fishing spot if they choose – and have all of the features that will enable them to do so. Yet, one must be able to justify the price tag to truly own and enjoy one.
There is more to this story. It is all about the journey, right? Let me tell you a story about how I got the MAMA Fall Rally in the Lexus LX 570 in my next article…
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Toyota Motor Sales USA
All photos by Randy Stern