Lexus’s flagship SUV had a significant facelift for 2016, with a suite of cosmetic changes and an all-new interior designed to elevate the ageing LX 570 to new levels of lounge room-like opulence.
On the outside, only the door panels and roof are carried over from the last generation LX, with the spindle grill dominating the new front fascia, modernized taillights and more sculpting around the c-pillar helping reduce the visual size of the eight-passenger LX. Third row passengers might not be such a fan of the new c-pillar however as it reduces their window space.
As with anything, the more things change the more they stay the same. The same 5.7L V8 engine still sits behind the enormous new grill, dishing out 383 hp and 403 lb-ft of torque. Towing capacity is unchanged at 7,000 lb. What has changed is the transmission. The new eight-speed unit replaces the aging six-speed providing a bump in fuel economy and smoothness. We found the transmission well matched to the engine and shifts were liquid smooth.
Shunting about a 2,680 kg SUV is an unenviable task but the 5.7L gets to business in suitably stoic fashion. There’s little in the way of engine noise and no gruffness at all. Having said that, more grunt would make this rig a more enjoyable drive, the Infiniti QX80 pulls harder and is more rewarding. The LX powerplant is stout for sure, but it’s more of a steady build than a surge.
Back on the outside, the LX retains the split tailgate – but now the upper section is powered as standard. The same third row folding system is in place, but has been redesigned for easier use. The third row seats fold out to the sides, making the cargo area narrower than it ought to be. I’m unsure why the third row doesn’t fold down into the floor as in other SUVs, but I do appreciate the ability to use just one seat in the back row at a time.
With both third row seats up there is 259L of cargo volume, expanding to 701 with only the second-row in place, and 1,267 with both rows folded down.
The four-zone climate control now called the “Climate Concierge” (because Lexus) not only controls the fans but the heated seats and steering wheel too. This is good on paper, but I prefer a steering wheel that burns through my skin and sears in my juices. This one was a little too limp. Both my co-driver and I kept wondering if it was even on.