The 2019 Lexus LX 570 is kind of an odd proposition for buyers, even in today’s SUV-crazy market. It checks some of the right boxes: big power, tons of amenities, plenty of room for passengers. It even impresses with surprisingly capable off-road ability.
But taken as a whole, the LX 570 is a tough sell against more well-rounded, modern competition. There are some bright spots to the LX package, to be sure. But more than anything, Lexus’ big LX is really showing its age.
Walking out to the garage in the morning, the first thing that strikes you about the LX 570 is just how damned big it seems, with that huge, imposing (and not very good-looking) spindle grille. In reality, though, the LX isn’t any bigger than its full-size SUV rivals. It’s is a little under 16.5 feet long, t’s just a hair over 6 feet tall in its normal ride height mode and 6.4 feet wide. The LX 570 is, as the internet would say, “chonky.”
A big SUV needs a big engine, and Lexus only offers one option: Toyota’s venerable 5.7-liter V8. It’s mechanically robust, and makes sufficient power and torque, despite any turbocharged or supercharged assist. With 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque on offer, the LX 570 is actually a bit more powerful than the Toyota Land Cruiser on which it’s based.
This ancient engine is mated to a relatively modern transmission: an eight-speed automatic, complete with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters — kind of hilarious in this big SUV. This transmission isn’t exactly the last word in sophistication, with laggy, lazy shifts. But it works quietly and competently in the background most of the time, and really, that’s all you can ask for.
The eight-speed also helps to curb the big LX’s seemingly insatiable thirst for premium fuel. The EPA rates it at 13 miles per gallon in the city, 18 on the highway and 15 mpg combined. During my testing, which included a trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back, I never got close to that 18-mpg mark, only seeing about 16.5 mpg. But hey, it’s better than what I would’ve achieved if the LX had its older, six-speed automatic. Progress!
Unlike its Land Cruiser sibling, the LX 570 comes standard with a height-adjustable air suspension at all four corners (this is optional on the Toyota). This means the tall LX can hunker down for easier ingress and egress, as well as for loading cargo. The suspension also helps with towing, automatically leveling the SUV when weight is placed on the hitch. It’ll tow as much as 7,000 pounds, too, which is plenty for an average-size boat or camper.
Ride quality is excellent in normal and comfort modes, though when it comes to handling, the LX570 isn’t the sharpest thing in its class. It’s a lumbering, body-on-frame SUV, with no sophisticated chassis tech like what’s found in the Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator. The steering is light and vague, another trait of the LX’s older underpinnings. If you’re looking for something solid and stable to drive, one of the Lexus’ more modern competitors is probably for you.
That said, where the LX really shines is off-road. Features like a locking center Torsen differential, Toyota’s Crawl Control and multi-terrain selectable traction control take a ton of guesswork out of piloting something so massive off the tarmac. Compared to the Land Cruiser, the LX suffers in terms of approach and departure angles thanks to the more aggressive, Lexus-specific body work. Its 20-inch wheels and low-profile tires aren’t ideal, either, the Land Cruiser’s more reasonable 18-inch wheels are more fit to purpose.