Review and Photos by Justin Mastine-Frost

As hard as the auto industry is pushing towards increasing fuel economy and seeing emissions plummet to near-zero levels, there are still a few behemoths left roaming in 2013. Lexus’ flagship SUV, the LX 570, entered its third generation back in 2008 and to this day is one of the biggest on the block. When I first contemplated taking it out for a week of testing I couldn’t quite place where it fit in the luxury SUV landscape.

Standing slightly longer and taller than most of its competition and loaded with the luxuries expected from a $100K Lexus, the LX presents itself as the ultimate urban-socialite status truck. Dig a little deeper though and you’ll come to realize its underpinnings are anything but urban. This is because the LX sits on the same chassis as the ever-rugged Toyota Land Cruiser, which means it is equipped with more all-terrain conquering gear than you would ever imagine. This strange bi-polar personality piqued my interest just enough for me to get behind the wheel and see where the LX 570 really fits in.

Test Drive: 2013 Lexus LX570 car test drives luxury cars lexus Test Drive: 2013 Lexus LX570 car test drives luxury cars lexus
2013 Lexus LX 570. Click image to enlarge

Aesthetically the LX is an odd one to peg. Lexus has done an interesting job of integrating their trademark spindle grille into the nose of the SUV for 2013, however the remainder of the bodywork seems a bit bland. Just about every other SUV in the full-size luxury segment is uniquely distinguishable based on their exterior styling whereas the Lexus just seems to blend it a bit too much. It still looks like miles better than Infiniti’s whale-like QX56, but a bit more character wouldn’t hurt. The illuminated side-steps and 3/4 length roof rails add a nice detail to an otherwise conservative side profile, and the integrated rear LED taillights are stylish but still quite understated. Styling qualms aside, one thing is certain, from just about every angle the new LX 570 is ridiculously large.

Climbing into the grand hall that is the LX 570’s passenger cabin, it’s rather obvious that Lexus wanted to maintain their larger-than-life stature. From the driver’s seat, it’s almost a stretch to reach across to the far side of the centre-stack controls, and even if I could reach the pedals with my seat all the way back, second row passengers still have miles of legroom. The powered third rows seats even have a tolerable amount of legroom for those last three passengers as long as you’re not planning on being on the road all day. Having spent a reasonable amount of time with the latest BMW X5, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and Land Rover LR4, I can say with confidence that the LX has them all beat when it comes to a spacious interior. I’m not saying the competition is compact by any stretch of the imagination, but they seem to do a better job of masking their large stature from behind the wheel.

Test Drive: 2013 Lexus LX570 car test drives luxury cars lexus Test Drive: 2013 Lexus LX570 car test drives luxury cars lexus
2013 Lexus LX 570. Click image to enlarge

From a functional standpoint, there’s a lot to take in from behind the wheel. Sure there’s the usual four-zone automatic climate control, Lexus’ still-out-of-date touchscreen navigation with voice control, and the optional Mark Levinson 450W surround sound system (which is one of my favourites in the industry), but lined up beside the gearshift lever sits a row of fascinating switches that seem slightly out of place. Of course there’s a toggle switch for the variable damping system to tighten up suspension and steering feel when cruising around town. Ride height control comes next, offering low, normal and high modes depending on the terrain ahead. There’s also Toyota’s Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain switch, which will set the crawling speed when you’re getting into trouble and want steady throttle control, or adjust traction control settings based on the type of road surface selected. The final switch in the row is simply there to change between high and low gear ranges. This whole setup has an almost aircraft-cockpit vibe to it, and much like the built-in armrest cooler the novelty of it all didn’t really wear off by the end of my test week.




About Justin Mastine-Frost

Justin Mastine-Frost is a Vancouver-based automotive journalist and technician with a penchant for speed, adventure and food. When not writing or wrenching, he is often found exploring new canyon roads.