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The Lexus LX 570 Could Be Better

I recently had the chance to drive a brand-new Lexus LX 570, which is the ultimate Lexus SUV. That’s a big deal, because Lexus now has five — the small UX, the NX, the RX, the GX, and this, the king of the hill, the LX, which starts around $90,000. The only problem? It’s not as good as it can be.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, because even on paper it’s clear that the LX could use some upgrading. This generation of LX came out way back in 2008, making it the oldest vehicle in this segment by far — compare that to, for instance, the new Lincoln Navigator, the Land Rover Range Rover, and the Cadillac Escalade, and the LX is oldest by at least five years.

And that translates to the fact that the LX isn’t quite on the level of its rivals in a lot of ways. For instance: the Audi Q7 offers a full-screen gauge cluster that can show a Google Maps satellite display when you want. The LX 570 offers a tiny screen in the gauge cluster that can show you a compass. The LX 570’s seats don’t fold flat, but rather up against the side windows, and it doesn’t offer a panoramic sunroof or a center touchscreen. The LX 570 also still has an old-school gear lever that takes up a lot of space in a center console that’s overloaded with other stuff.

And then there’s the powertrain: a 5.7-liter V8 that’s known for being durable, but otherwise a bit disappointing. It makes 380 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, which is all well and good, but fuel economy stands at just 13 miles per gallon in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. The Lincoln Navigator’s newfangled 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 may not last as long as the LX 570’s V8, but it gets up to 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy — huge improvements — and it does so with 450 hp and 500 lb-ft. Making matters worse, the LX 570’s old-feeling transmission dulls the feeling of acceleration, making this behemoth seem, well, like a behemoth.

The same is true out on the road. The LX 570 is comfortable and it has a good seating position, but it feels ponderous and more awkward than rivals like the Range Rover that have more of a solid, stable feel. Of course, we know the LX 570 has a much better reputation for reliability than the Range Rover, so it’s probably built better — but it doesn’t feel like it. The doors don’t close with a convincing "thud," the body roll is strong, the steering doesn’t let you feel like you’re in control as much as you do in other rivals.

I could look past a lot of this stuff in most vehicles, but not the LX 570. The one I drove has a $95,000 sticker price, and Lexus has been well aware of the competitiveness of this segment for a long time — and the BMW X7 has just arrived to make it even more competitive. It’s hard to imagine buying an LX when the X7, the new Navigator, and the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLS exist.

With that said, there are some reasons why you might want an LX. The Lexus dealership experience remains second to none, and few other luxury brands offer such luxurious treatment. Reliability is notorious, and that leads to high resale values, as the LX is scooped up in the secondary market by eager off-roaders who know about its long-lasting reputation. And, of course, Lexus has high brand loyalty after cultivating a solid reputation for reliability and customer excellence — and many buyers don’t want to leave that behind, even as they buy a large SUV.

But I personally think the LX 570 is in the back of the full-size luxury SUV pack, or maybe sharing that space with the also-ancient Infiniti QX80. The L X570 used to be great, and a comeback would be nice — but for now it’s just a little too dated to recommend over modern rivals with better technology, fuel economy and ergonomics. Find a Lexus LX for sale

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