That’s partly due to the sheer size of it: at 5080 millimetres long, 1865mm tall and 1980mm wide, this is a very large SUV. It’s even bigger than the Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series, and the LX570 could be considered the well-heeled fraternal twin of that model.
Over that car, the Lexus has – aside from more outlandish styling – a considerably higher price tag, starting at $140,500 (plus on-road costs). The flagship LC200 Sahara starts at $113,500. Further to that, the V8 petrol-powered LC200 has a smaller engine (4.7-litre versus 5.7-litre) with less power and torque than the Lexus (227kW and 439Nm versus 270kW and 530Nm, respectively).
It does have a few more luxury features, though. Well, truth be told, the standard equipment list is almost ludicrous.
It includes: keyless entry and push-button start, quad-zone climate control with ventilation for all three rows, easy entry air suspension that drops the car for better access, leather trim, heated front seats with driver’s side memory function, electric steering column adjustment, a fridge between the front seats, LED headlights with auto high beam, auto lights and wipers, electric sliding second row seats, electric folding third row seats, power tailgate, 20-inch wheels, and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system that is controlled via a 12.0-inch media screen with satellite navigation and traffic updates.
Safety kit is a strong point, too, with a surround-view camera (with configurable forward-view monitor for off-roading), front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, forward collision warning and auto braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and radar cruise control. Further, the LX has dual front, dual front knee, front side, rear side, and full-length curtain airbags (10 in total). Oh, and it has eight seats, all with lap-sash belts.
- Yet, there’s still more standard gear: read the full pricing and specifications story here.
Furthermore, Lexus still has an ‘enhancement pack’, as fitted to our car, which includes 21-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and heated and ventilated second-row outboard seats. This adds $16,500 to the price.
- To say you get a lot of car for your money with this Lexus is probably an understatement.
Having such a big petrol engine under the bonnet also makes something of a statement – there’s no diesel available here due to the Australian specification requirements.
The engine is certainly adequate at hauling this much heft (2645 kilograms), and when you plant your right foot it is actually pretty quick. Though that kind of behaviour is not advisable, as the fuel use is pretty epic. The claimed consumption for the LX570 is 14.4 litres per 100 kilometres, and we saw 19.2L/100km over our week of testing which included 400km of highway driving.
The new eight-speed automatic gearbox is smooth and more refined than the existing six-speeder, though the additional high gears means the ‘box has a tendency to shuffle quickly to the highest possible ratio. That’s good for saving fuel, but can be a bit annoying around town, as the car is almost constantly hunting for the correct gear as you accelerate and brake in traffic. When actually on the highway, the gearbox works commendably, with the big bus virtually idling at highway speeds in eighthy
- With such mass to move, the braking performance is somewhat compromised. The feel of the pedal is terrible, initially feeling squishy and not actually biting until partway through the travel of the pedal. There’s a squishy sound from the pedal, too, and the body of the vehicle pitches forward when you apply heavy brakes. Also featured is an autonomous braking system, which manhandles the big SUV to a complete halt, albeit somewhat jerkily.
While hardly any buyers of such a blinged-up SUV will likely venture off-road, at the launch of the LX570 in Canberra last week there was an all-terrain component of the drive loop that showed how effortless it was for the big Lexus.
With the “Crawl Control” function borrowed from the Toyota LandCruiser, as well as a proper low-range gear set and the ‘Active Height Control’ air suspension, the Lexus is more than adept at scrambling down steep rocky slopes or scrabbling up slippery hillsides with ease.
The multi-view camera system allows you to see over crests at speeds below 20km/h, and there’s a brilliant ‘Turn Assist’ system that can be activated in low-range. It works kind of like a skid-steer, in that it locks the inside wheels and powers outside wheels to assist with tight turning moves.
That feature makes the Lexus feel a lot smaller than it is, which is important when you’re off-roading down tight tracks. And the level of comfort at which the Lexus rides over rough terrain means it’s kind of like driving a loungeroom to your favourite camping spot.
All occupants will be kept cool and comfortable, though, with air conditioning vents everywhere you need them, and cup/bottle holders being plentiful, too.
All Lexus models come with a four-year/100,000km warranty, but the brand doesn’t have a capped-price service program unlike some of its luxury SUV rivals (such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz).
So, does this V8 SUV with off-road cred and sharp styling have a spot in the market? Definitely – but even Lexus admits the demand will only be about 20 units per month. The 2016 Lexus LX570 isn’t for everyone – if you’re after a high-powered performance SUV, look elsewhere – but there’s certainly a lot of value to be had and plenty of practicality, too.