- Big, brash, imposing – exactly what buyers want
- Creamy V8 partners well with auto
- Comfortable and very spacious
- The fuel consumption: wow.
- Not as dynamic as the Mercedes GLS
- A face only a mother could love?
If the Toyota LandCruiser isn’t luxurious enough, it’s possible to buy a version that’s just as capable but with a significantly higher level of opulence.
Lexus builds the LX 570 to satisfy well-heeled family buyers – specifically, those who want the ability of a LandCruiser with luxury finishes more worthy of a Range Rover.
The LX looks like nothing else on the road. In this segment, where exclusivity is a real advantage, the imposing Lexus makes sense.
Commanding a slim $25,000 over the mass-market Toyota, the Lexus falls $100,000 short of a comparably-specified Range Rover. While short of calling it a bargain, the Lexus might just be the sweet spot in this full-size niche.
The 2016 Lexus LX 570 remains an enormous vehicle following the a recent refresh that added that huge grille. With three tonnes to haul around, running costs from the sole engine – a petrol V8 – are substantial but the low cost of entry, and generous equipment level, make the LX 570 an attractive buy.
Anybody who has driven a LandCruiser will have an immediate feel for how the LX 570 drives. Though it’s enormous, it isn’t as trucklike as you would expect.
The Lexus is more capable on-road thanks to an air suspension and wheel damping setup that isn’t available on the Toyota.
That said, the Lexus still isn’t as car-like to drive as the competing Mercedes-Benz GLS.
Plenty of power and torque mean the LX is easy to hustle along in town and effortless on the motorway.
The petrol V8 is a big one: 5.7 litres in capacity and delivering 270kW of power and 530Nm of torque: strong numbers, but then there’s the weight.
2.7 tonnes unloaded blows out to over three tonnes with passengers and kit on-board. That means fuel consumption can easily get into the 20L/100km range around town before settling into the low teens on the highway.
While our friends in New Zealand can buy the LX with the LandCruiser’s excellent diesel V8, Australians do not have that luxury – yet.
The weight would also compromise the handling if it wasn’t for the impressive adjustable dampers that come standard. Sports Plus mode sounds aspirational for a truck this size, but its effect is to tighten the dampers to the point where body roll is under control.
The air suspension irons out almost all bumps, but the floaty feeling won’t suit you if you prefer a hard-charging SUV like a Porsche Cayenne.
The steering wheel has been made smaller, and the weight behind it is very light. The LX 570 isn’t too frightening to maneouver around town, and parking it is simpler thanks to the surround-view camera system.
The cameras also help off-road and the LX 570’s trump card is that it is just as capable as the LandCruiser on genuinely hard terrain. Toyota’s Crawl Control is standard here, as are locking centre and rear differentials and low-range.
We were impressed by the latest LandCruiser Sahara but the Lexus justifies its $25,000 premium thanks to a great interior.
Build quality is superb, which is increasingly typical of the Lexus brand.
Soft leather covers all eight seats and the two up front offer great support for travelling long distances.
The driving position is throne-like and while there is inadequate side bolstering, it’s hardly like the LX 570 will charge down a mountain road to begin with.
Those premium materials extend throughout the cabin. You’ll struggle to find hard surfaces – apart from those trimmed in exotic Shimamoku wood, a Japanese layered surface of many veneers stacked: it’s a tasteful look.
The navigation system now features a crisp, large widescreen. Though the mouse-like interface for controlling it is frustrating to use, the Mark Levinson stereo it is connected to is excellent.
Kids travelling in the second row will love the big dual screens back there, with wireless headphones – and there are separate climate controls to keep back passengers cool.
Three seats across the third row is now a rarity and makes the LX 570 an eight seater – at a pinch. There’s not huge room back there but it is an enviable practicality.
The sheer size of the LX 570 opens up levels of practicality that other large SUVs would envy.
While eight passengers can travel in the LX, limiting your compliment to seven people makes this a very comfortable family car for everybody.
Perhaps in a nod to its Troopie roots, the LX’s third row folds up and to the side of the boot. That’s great if you carry tall objects, but for most people, the extra space this system uses up reduces boot capacity frustratingly.
As standard there are 701 litres available back there with five seats in place. Even with all eight seats up, 259 litres remain – school bags will fit.
Of course, folding the third and second rows make room for even for long surfboards.
While it doesn’t pull like a diesel the petrol V8 is torquey enough to tow big boats. If your trailer load is braked the Lexus will happily haul 3.5 tonnes. If it’s unbraked you are looking at 750 kg.
Lexus’s camera system simplifies the trailer hookup process if you are working alone.
Inside, you will find plenty of large storage bins for stashing everyday clutter. Unsurprisingly, cupholders are Starbucks Venti-sized.
RELIABILITY & RUNNING COSTS
The prospect of spending $250,000 on a Range Rover has a few buyers breathing in sharply because the British brand doesn’t exactly have a stellar reputation for reliability.
Toyota, on the other hand, has a superb reputation for lasting the distance.
That factor alone will be sufficient to woo some buyers, particularly those that plan to keep the Lexus for some time, and those who plan to head off-road every now and then.
Lexus do not offer a capped-price servicing programme but it is known for high service levels through its Encore after-sales brand.
Service intervals of just 10,000 km or 6 months do not impress but at least Lexus will collect and return the car washed, leaving you a loan car while you wait.
The LX is built is Japan alongside the LandCruiser. Most are sold to the American market, where JD Power reports have rated the overall quality as exceptionally high.
Predicted LX depreciation is par for the course in the full-size luxury segment. After three years and 42,000km—the average—Glass’s Guide indicates that the Lexus should retain about 65% of its value – or $91,500. That is identical to the retained value of the Mercedes and just short of 67% for the Range Rover.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Value is a strong suit for the Lexus, with the single LX 570 priced at $140,500. Mercedes will take $161,900 for a GLS 500 petrol, and you step up into the heady $250,000 range for a full-size petrol eight Range Rover.
The real question is whether you can live with the LandCruiser Sahara – opting for a Toyota badge – and a less opulent level of luxury inside – will save you more than $20,000. Plus, the Toyota (like Mercedes, and Land Rover) offers a diesel.
One option pack is available for the LX 570 in the form of a $16,500 deal. It brings nicer wheels, plus seat heating and ventilation for the front and rear – but the price seems incredibly high and most will give it a miss.
We recommend keeping it simple and grabbing the basic LX with one of the lovely metalllic paints ($1,500).
A fascinating statistic to find is how many years you could fuel an LX 570 for before you caught up to the Range Rover’s $253,110 list price. The answer is about 40 years.
- Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography SCV8 ($253,110)
- Mercedes-Benz GLS 500 ($161,900)
- Toyota LandCruiser Sahara V8 Petrol ($113,500)
Full-size luxury SUVs with a petrol V8 are a rare breed. However, there are three good alternatives to the LX 570 if you’re shopping in this market. It is worth test-driving the Toyota LandCruiser Sahara – which is very similar under the skin. If the Toyota suits, you’ll enjoy a significant saving.
The Range Rover Autobiography is available with a supercharged V8, but keep in mind, it’s a five-seater only: plus, it’s an additional $100,000. To be sure, the full-fat Range Rover is one of the finest and most capable vehicles on the planet.
The Mercedes-Benz GLS 500 is recently refreshed, though interior fit and finish isn’t up to the opulence of the Lexus. The Mercedes won’t get too far off-road, but the popularity of the full-size Benz is testament to its practicality for families.
|Power||270kW at 5,600rpm|
|Torque||530Nm at 3,200rpm|
|Power to weight ratio||102kW / tonne|
|Fuel consumption (combined)||14.4L/100km|
Transmission and Drivetrain
|Drivetrain||Four wheel drive|
Dimensions and Weights
|Cargo space (seats up)||701L|
|Cargo space (seats down)||2353L|