May 1, 2008
2008 Lexus LX 570. Click image to enlarge
Manufacturer’s web site
Review and photos by Michael Clark
2008 Lexus LX 570
There’s something lacking this week on Canadian roads. It isn’t work crews, law enforcement, or sketchy hitchhikers: it’s traffic. A buck and a quarter for unleaded might have something to do with it. Bump that up a dime for Premium, throw in a petrol diet in the neighbourhood of an observed average of 17.5 litres per 100 K, and you’ll find yourself behind the wheel of this week’s Inside Story tester; the Oh-Eight Lexus LX 570. If that isn’t enough reason to pick your jaw up from the floor, factor in a retail sticker price of $84,600. (Okay, scoop up your eyeballs while you’re at it.)
While the obscene girth and intake of this upscale Sequoia is enough to make even a motoring Larry Flynt blush, the question being asked is simple; do the innards justify the regular wallet dent to your jeans? Let’s grab a sturdy passenger assist handle and find out.
The LX 570′s steering wheel is power adjustable (top); Power window controls feature auto up and down for all doors (middle); centre stack incorporates an easy-to-read navigation screen. Click image to enlarge
Real wood and soft-stitch trim do plenty to assist in the transformation from Toyota to Lexus uber-truck. The four-spoke wheel uses power servos for tilt and telescopic action. Audio, voice command-enable, phone, and driver info screen navigation are accessed by oversized steering wheel tabs, which need to shrink to finally accommodate a cruise control system that doesn’t appear purloined from a lowly Camry.
The info centre borders on econo-masochism, with plenty of ways to monitor your fuel thirst. Tire pressures and outside temperature are also observed. A remote transponder and engine start button replace the traditional key slot. Directly ahead of the driver’s right knee are the switches for 50/50 torque split, stability and traction control keys, and a cancel switch for the rear power hatch. When the hatch is enabled, it can be opened and closed from the driver position, ahead of the left knee. This is also the real estate for the AC 115 volt power feed in the cargo area, as well as the adaptive front lighting system cancel, and the Easy Access capability, which lowers the suspension height to something resembling ‘slight jump’ for passengers.
There are three memory positions for the driver’s seat. Window panes are full auto for lift and descent. Exterior heated mirrors can power-fold on demand, or be set to auto-fold upon lockdown. Headlamps receive an auto setting, while wipers get an auto mode with adjustable sensitivity. A low rent oversight is the cable release tab for the fuel door, found next to the hood release pull. You’ll have to get down and peek to make sure what you’re opening.
The six-speed automatic includes a proper manu-gate, with a power mode and a 2nd gear start choice for the slushy and the greasy. To the South of the shifter are the controls for 4WD range, hill climb speed, suspension height adjustment, and damping. Traditional sweep gauges (24) for speed and RPM are joined by coolant, volts, and oil pressure dials. Considering the brute force available for towing, one would expect to see a transmission fluid temperature gauge.
It’s not just the navi that’s got savvy for this touch-screen. Maps are clear and concise, with street script that never looks pixelated. You’ll prefer the touch screen mode for the four-zone climate control system, which also provides access to the electric windshield heater. The info section includes user-set service intervals, Lexus Park Assist tuning, even calendar and reminder/memo functions.
That mean screen includes the gleam of a rearward camera, as well as a wide angle front camera for blind intersections. A third camera reading comes from a lens mounted in the bottom of the passenger side exterior mirror. Sure beats scuffing your Michelins when you park. Bluetooth sync and set-up is first rate, as is the voice quality. An ashtray with lighter is found below the CD inlet, while a second 12-volt powerpoint is hidden by a console door. The door also hides the auxiliary audio input jack.
There is one advantage to the obvious Toyota relations; cubby carryover. The front and rear door side pockets are ample, with bottle holder provisions. A coin bucket is found ahead of the driver’s left knee. The locking glove box has a two-level shelf system, while the centre console gets a cold box fed by the HVAC. The lid of the console incorporates dual sliding armrests, with four-step elongation.
The front seatbacks employ vinyl-backed hardcase pockets, with fabric tension bands. The rear seat centre armrest has a pull strap to release it into position. Inside, there’s a flip-up C-clamp dual cupholder, with a rear stuff compartment. I thought I’d tell you about the good cupholder first. The front dual cupholder is a colossal letdown, which may explain the door hiding it. The only cinch system is a movable bar with thin rubber tabs. Add to all this an extreme oversight in depth, and you’ll be using the patio at the Starbucks, instead of the drive thru for your Caramel Mac. The third row seat fares better, with deep dual cup pockets on each side.
Sunroof controls confuse the best of us, so Lexus keeps their functions obvious, and separate. There’s an integrated Homelink transmitter, plus a drop-down flock-lined sunglasses holder. The rear view mirror gets auto dimming. Speaking of dimming, the dual visor array keeps Mr. Sunshine at bay.
The third row seating system uses a unique collection of cable-fed pulls and servos to put the seat in place, or to stow it against the side walls. Click image to enlarge
It’s the hour of power for the seating surfaces within the LX, with 10-way glide for the driver, and 8-way for the front passenger. Even the second row bench gets in on the game, with power servos for fore and aft movement. The front seats get heat and cooling functions, while the second row gets two-step toasting, found on the rear HVAC controls. The 60/40 split second row bench folds forward easily for cargo, as well as access to the third row bench. This seating system uses a unique collection of cable-fed pulls and servos to put the seat in place, or to stow it against the side walls. Maximum occupancy is 8 guests within the LX.
It’s a full-size, wind-down, spare tire surprise for the LX. Good news; Lexus will change that tire for you for the first four years of ownership, with no kilometre limit. Jack stowage is found on the right-hand wall of the cargo compartment, with jacking tools concealed in the tailgate.
There’s a cavern of possibilities for cargo movement within the LX. Click image to enlarge
There’s a cavern of possibilities for cargo movement within the LX, and no one’s seat has to leave the party. Even with the third row in place, the LX can easily accomplish a respectable grocery run. The two-part rear gate system has a power liftgate door, with a power close switch overhead. The exterior cargo rack bars are movable; simply twist and turn the knobs provided.
There’s a 383 horsepower 5.7-litre V8 hiding under all that plastic. Outside of washer fluid top-ups, this engine bay is hands off to the backyard mechanic.
I can’t recall who made the comment, but it had something to do with recent history regarding the Lexus marque. It appears to have hit a rut. As opulent as the rear walnut trim and the leather wrap may be, the LX 570 fails to inspire, becoming more and more an obvious facsimile of other Lexus models – which explains my critical rating, this week sitting at two-and-a-half stars.
Next week: Audi A3