April 2, 2009
2009 Lexus LX 570. Click image to enlarge
Manufacturer’s web site
Review and photos by Michael Clark
2009 Lexus LX 570
Inside Story is a review of interior comfort features, cabin controls, storage options, trunk space and under-hood accessibility based on a seven-day evaluation.
When it comes to The Art of Re-Badging, the GM camp owns the rights (for now). Not only could they put Cadillac crests on a Chevy Cavalier, they could actually find customers to fork out a premium for the privilege. Toyota has been playing this sheet metal shell game since the dawn of the Lexus brand. While the luxury marque continues to keep the best platforms to themselves, there has been some notable badge and trim engineering exceptions, such as the original ES 250, the ’96 LX 450, and the coming-soon HS 250h hybrid. You may know these vehicles by their other names; Camry, Land Cruiser, and many of the guts from the fabled Prius. To their credit, the Lexus badge has never been simply a peel-and-stick. Take this week’s Inside Story tester; a 2009 LX 570 Premium Package, with an MSRP of $87,820. (Prices shown do not include freight, taxes, or regional incentives).
Before you start shouting “well-heeled Sequoia,” the LX is in fact a rebadged US-only Toyota Land Cruiser; or the US-only Land Cruiser is a re-badged LX 570. Semantics aside, the Inside Story comparisons must deal with vehicles sold in Canada. With the current rate of exchange, that means the Land Cruiser would be practically the same MSRP of a base LX 570 in Canada, and that’s before all the duty, taxes, and conversion fees for Canadian compliance. For our purposes, the Sequoia is the closest animal in the Canuck Toyota family camp, hence the question as to which one makes the most fiscal sense. Let’s find out.
2009 Lexus LX 570. Click image to enlarge
Real walnut, leather trim, and an IP less befitting a truck-based sport brute are the obvious Lexus cues upon entry. The multi-function steering wheel tabs allow access to audio, information display menus, voice commands, and Bluetooth-enabled wireless phone engagement. Once the tedium of phone pairing is complete, the system automatically recognizes a phone with the Bluetooth engaged at the time of vehicle start. Perhaps it is an anomaly of The Blackberry 8100 Series, but a continued annoyance was the issue surrounding the image of the Speed dial screen on the Navi display. (I haven’t added any Speed dial keys to my phone.) Simply locating the manual phone keypad screen proved difficult, and while it eventually appears, one can only deduce that the lock-out is in the interest of driver safety. Use the voice recognition system instead.
The column is a power-tilt, which can tie in with the three driver’s seat memory positions. The cruise control stalk is located at the 4 PM position. Dead ahead of the driver’s right knee is the control bank for traction assist, centre differential lock, and the power liftgate open/close cancel switch. Ahead of the driver’s left knee is the switch bank for the power liftgate opener/closer, adaptive lighting cancel, rear cargo area AC power feed, and the Easy Access component of the Active Height Control Suspension. The Easy Access function dips the suspension to the lowest possible height for ingress/egress. Power mirror controls are directly above, with power fold function for tight spaces.
The driver’s door pod houses full-Auto ascent/descent power window switches for front and second row passengers. Parking sonar is enhanced, with three camera views: rear, front, and below the passenger side power mirror, with crystal-clear displays on the Navi screen. The touch screen is of the highest clarity, providing access to audio, four-zone climate, and set-up functions. Whether the Navi destination is voiced or keyed, the audible warnings, mapping, and voice prompts are first rate.
The six-speed automatic can be mapped for power or 2nd gear starts, as well as plunked into the manu-mode gate. Capability meets class, with toggles for ride dampening, ride height, hill climb speed, and transfer case range. Overall fit and finish is of the usual Lexus standards, though hard plastics are appearing in greater abundance.