When the LX 570 showed up at my door my wife had but one thing to say, “this thing is ridiculous.” Indeed.
Body-on-frame beasts like the 2014 Lexus LX 570 are a dying breed. The full-size traditional SUV will soon be extinct, but before that happens Lexus has accomplished something pretty great with the LX 570. The LX 570 is remarkably easy to drive, agile for its size and 6,000 lb. weight and the vehicle can be surprisingly quick when you put your foot down. But despite all that is great and all the shiny new tech Lexus has to offer, this full size SUV just feels dated.
If your daily routine requires that you move seven people short distances, you insist on Lexus luxury and you would like to pull a yacht along for kicks the 2014 LX 570 is a great choice. If you’re opting for the LX 570 for its third row of seats, don’t. The third row is somehow cramped despite the vehicles truly gargantuan proportions. There are better options out there if you need a third row. Several crossovers I’ve reviewed recently have more spacious third row seating. This isn’t entirely surprising though, there is a truck frame and truck powertrain under there, so the third row pays for it. Cargo space also comes up short with only 83.1 cubic feet max. The LX 570 has slightly more cargo space than a Ford Explorer, a vehicle that weights about 1,500 pounds less and has 5 more inches of leg room in the third row.
Now, I’m not suggesting full-size Lexus SUV shoppers should check out an Explorer. I’m making a point. The LX 570 is, indeed, ridiculous. These monster SUVs are dying out for a reason, they’re incredibly inefficient. Fuel economy, third row seating, curb weight, cargo space, etc… all come up short in comparison to a modern crossover. When it comes down to it a body-on-frame beast like this is pointless unless you regularly tow very large loads with seven people along for the ride.
I don’t want to give the impression that the LX 570 is a bad truck, the Land Cruiser frame from which it finds life is one of my all time favorite vehicles. In fact, the 2014 Lexus LX570 is arguably the most impressive luxury SUV to ever come out of Japan and the week I spent with it proved that the Lexus SUV is beyond impressive in every way. It’s smooth, it’s expensive and looks the part, and the way it sweet-talks you down the road nearly convinces you that nothing’s amiss. The luxury credentials are there: it’s heavy, smooth, and well-appointed. It has a sense of the heft that feels absent in modern SUVs for those of us that started in more beastly vehicles like this. Oh, and it comes with a laissez-faire attitude towards silly things like gas mileage. There is a lot of power available for delivery without fuss, the transmission is as smooth as butter, and the ride feels like something you might expect out of a 70’s Jag. All that luxurious heft comes at an expense. There is just so much padding. The seats, the brakes, the steering, the suspension, the tires.
Then there are the buttons, switches, and knobs. Almost all of them need never and likely should never be touched. Remind me why an SUV with low profile, on-road tires needs a low-range setting and a descent-speed control? Not only do I find it very unlikely that the Koch brothers would off-road this thing, but they couldn’t if they wanted to with it fresh from the factory. But it’s all ego, I could if I wanted to. If I decided to drive off this freshly paved country club road and make my way down the gully and ford the river I could! Not really.
When it comes down to it the Lexus LX 570 can’t hide that it’s a very old, very large idea of what an SUV should be. It’s enormous, it’s overweight, it guzzles gas like a frat boy with a trust fund guzzles natty light and it feels numb like that same frat kid when he’s 100 lbs. overweight and popping anti-depressants at the age of 30 because the good ole days are over. It’s not an 80-Series Land Cruiser and it’s not nearly as nice to drive as an RX 450h, nor will it make you hate yourself at the pump. Unless, of course, you’re the one selling the pump gas.
You’re not listening, are you? The only thing between your family and certain death on the freeway is curb weight, and there’s no better expression of power than a $90,000 car that gets 14 mpg, right? Far be it for me to talk you out of it. Just remember to hit the pharmacy for a refill before you head to the pump, not after.