Lexus’ flagship LX series SUV first debuted back in 1996 and is now on its third generation. And each of those generations has been better than the last. The newest edition, the LX570, doesn’t get as much press as a lot of other Lexus vehicles, namely their best-selling RX series SUVs, but there’s no doubt as to why the LX570 is considered the brand’s flagship. It’s just that good.
The basic underpinnings of the LX570 are shared across the Toyota family with the Land Cruiser and Sequoia SUVs and the Tundra pickup truck. The 570 in the model’s name refers to the mammoth 5.7-liter V8 packed under the hood. The engine puts out 383 horsepower and 403 lb-ft of torque. These numbers aren’t particularly high when compared to the competition, especially the 2010 Range Rover which has 510 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque. However, the LX570′s torque is all at your command as low as 2,400 RPM, so it has the power where it needs it. That power is channeled through a six-speed automatic transmission which has a manual gear selection option when you really need to stay in a low gear off-road.
And yes, despite the luxury and the high price tag ($75,000), the LX570 is pretty serviceable as an off-roader. The vehicle has an always-on AWD system that by default sends 60% of the power to the rear wheels. However, when conditions get a bit slick, the AWD compensates and sends power to the wheels with the most grip. The front suspension is a coil spring double wishbone setup with a huge 9 inches of travel length, allowing the LX570 to crawl over most any obstacle you’d encounter on the trail. There’s also an Active Height Control feature that will automatically make sure that the LX570 is riding at the optimal level.
The interior of the LX570 is a little slice of heaven. Like other Lexus models available now, there is tons of technology packed into the cabin. Pretty much any optional feature that you can think of is in the LX570. The interior is also nicely upholstered in leather (of course) and the accent materials (wood and chrome, depending on interior choices) are tastefully done. The LX570 manages to convey both luxury and restraint at the same time.
All these features come at a big cost, however. Namely 5,995 pounds. The LX570 is a very heavy car. When you’re cruising on the highway you don’t really feel the weight (thanks to the sturdy suspension), but through tight corners you’ll feel the weight pulling you out of a turn. Also, the big engine and the high weight combine to pretty much destroy fuel economy. The LX570 is rated at 12 mpg city / 18 highway.
The 2009 Lexus LX570 is one of the best all-around full size luxury SUVs available. However, it falls prey to all of the things that make the segment such a niche operation: low fuel economy, excessive size (don’t try to drive this thing on a narrow city street), and high price tag. In fact, the LX570 just serves to reinforce what a brilliant car its younger sibling, the RX, is. Smaller, less costly, more efficient, and a better overall deal.