Craig Scime: Wielding a bounty of V8 power, a slew of serious off-road credentials and high-tech gadgets to keep rivals at bay, the 2013 Lexus LX570 casts an imposing shadow in the luxury-SUV arena.
Angelina Spicer: But there are a few chinks in the armor that the bold new redesign didn't patch.
Craig: Right. With the new signature Lexus spindle grille, the eight-passenger LX looks every bit as assertive as it feels. And it still rides atop a body-on-frame setup.
Angelina: That's great for venturing off into rugged territory but not so desirable when it comes to handling and ride comfort. For that, many newer luxury crossovers use a unibody construction.
From behind the wheel, you get quite a commanding view- great visibility with very little obstruction from the windshield pillars.
Angelina: The seating up front and in the second row are comfortable enough for long rides. But the third row...not so much.
Craig: Another downside is the way the third row folds down to the side, limiting usable cargo space.
Angelina: We can't complain about the standard amenities. There are plenty, including four-zone climate control and voice-activated navigation that includes Enform, the Lexus system that uses Bluetooth to access your smartphone and stream music.
Craig: Our LX came with the premium Mark Levinson audio system, a recommended option. We also suggest the optional Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
Angelina: The radar system not only adjusts in speed for traffic, but it also tightens the seatbelts and prepares the brakes if it senses a collision is about to happen.
Craig: Here's where the road warrior excels. It's powerful and responsive.
Angelina: That's because of the 5.7-liter V8 under the hood. It sends 383 horsepower and 403 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed automatic with manual shift mode to full-time four-wheel drive.
Craig: AutoTrader gives this setup high marks for smooth operation and instantaneous power distribution.
Angelina: For maximum traction in off-road situations, the LX features a manual locking center differential and this Multi-Terrain Select that lets me control crawl rates and suspension settings for five different types of road conditions.
Craig: That's all good. Unfortunately, getting just 12 miles per gallon in the city makes this brute a bit of a gas hog.
Angelina: What might also surprise shoppers is how quickly the price rises with a few options, including the ones we've recommended.
Craig: If you're going to be spending close to $90,000 on a luxury SUV we think you should also check out the Mercedes GL, Land Rover Range Rover HSE, Audi Q7 or Porsche Cayenne. These could be better choices.
Angelina: But if the Lexus LX570's power, styling and stature are too much to resist, load it up with all the options, and enjoy the ride!