2015 Lexus LX 570

By April 16, 2015

The Lexus LX 570 is a full-size luxury sport-utility vehicle that’s relaxing to drive on long trips as it glides down the highway with style and ease. It can transport up to eight people and haul their gear across great distances in comfort, as well as tow hefty loads. It has strong acceleration performance and excellent handling response for a large SUV.

The 2015 Lexus LX 570 competes with the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Infiniti QX80, Audi Q7, Land Rover Range Rover, and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. Escalade is all new for 2015, while Navigator is updated; Range Rover and GL-Class were all new for 2013, while the Lexus got a facelift on its chassis that was last redesigned for 2008.

The LX 570 is EPA-rated at 12/17 mpg City/Highway. We got 13.4 mpg in hilly city and 72-mph highway driving for a week.

For 2015, LX 570 gets the full-tilt multimedia capability, with standard Siri Eyes Free Mode which uses the¬†latest iPhone models to enable you to call contacts, play iTunes, get navigation commands and more. There’s also the Lexus Enform App Suite which basically turns your phone into a super remote that can do just about everything but drive your kids to school. This Suite is upgraded for 2015 to include iHeartRadio 4.0 and Slacker.

The Lexus LX 570 uses the same heavy-duty frame and stout powertrain as the Toyota Land Cruiser, and like the Land Cruiser, the Lexus is designed for extraordinary versatility, a rare combination of utility and luxury. But luxury and technology come first with the Lexus, from its active suspension and adaptive headlamps to its Mark Levinson audio system and high quality interior. The Land Cruiser is better equipped for rigorous off-road use, while the Lexus is more for the family who wants to travel in style and safety to a snowy ski resort, a ranch house down a long dirt road, or a mountain fishing lodge. Still, the Lexus has 4×4 chops.

The Land Cruiser is rated to tow a mega 8500 pounds, while the Lexus can tow 7000 pounds, which is like a NASCAR stock car in a 22-foot trailer with tools. Trailer Sway Control is standard. We towed a 16-foot flatbed trailer carrying a puny sports car, and the big SUV’s rugged chassis and V8 engine (with 403 pound-feet of torque) barely felt it, at 70 mph. So we upped the load to a 24-foot travel trailer, and the LX 570 still never broke a sweat. Later we hit the full 7000-pound load, see our Driving Impressions.

A tri-lingual navigation hard-disc system incorporates Bluetooth, Lexus Enform with Safety Connect, Lexus Insider, music streaming, and XM NavTraffic, NavWeather, Stocks and Sports. Smart Access keyless entry unlocks all five doors when the driver touches a door or tailgate. Available but not standard are a pre-collision system with adaptive radar cruise control, and a front and side monitor system with cameras inside the grille and below the passenger sideview mirror.

Model Lineup

The 2015 Lexus LX 570 is the only model ($83,180). The standard package includes leather-trimmed upholstery; mahogany interior accents; 20-inch wheels; power rear door and tailgate; Class 4 towing hitch; moonroof; heated power-folding outside mirrors; roof rack; foglamps; HID headlamps; programmable garage door opener; 115V outlets in the second row and rear cargo area; power door locks with anti-lock-out feature; Smart Access keyless entry and starting; 10-way power driver seat with three-position memory and Easy Access feature; 8-way power front passenger seat; heated front seats; and Siri Eyes Free.

The standard audio system is Lexus Premium Audio, a nine-speaker unit that includes AM/FM tuning, in-dash CD/DVD changer, Automatic Sound Levelizer (ASL), Digital Sound Processing (DSP), HD Radio with iTunes tagging, MP3 and USB/iPod audio input plugs, integrated SiriusXM Satellite Radio with XM NavTraffic, NavWeather, Sports, Stocks, and Fuel Prices (90-day trial subscription included), and Lexus Enform Application Suite (Pandora, Bing, Yelp, Slacker, iHeartRadio, OpenTable, and MovieTickets.com) with one-year trial subscription included.

HDD voice-activated Navigation comes standard and includes Bluetooth hands-free phone and automatic phonebook download capabilities; music streaming; Lexus Enform with Destination Assist, and eDestination with complimentary one-year trial subscription.

The Luxury Package ($1,510) upgrades to semi-aniline leather, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, more mahogany interior accents, a cool box for beverages, and a heated steering wheel. A DVD rear-seat entertainment system ($2,005) includes dual screens and wireless headphones. Also available are a 19-speaker, 450-watt Mark Levinson Surround Sound audio system ($2,350); climate-controlled front seats with heated second-row seats ($640); Pre-Collision system with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control ($1,500); and Intuitive Park Assist ($1,000) that includes wide-view front and side monitors. Lexus offers three comprehensive LX 570 Packages ($5,750, $7,125, or $8,625), each of which includes a specific group of option items.

Safety features include 10 airbags, anti-rollover dynamics; tire pressure monitor system; active traction control (A-TRAC); vehicle stability control (VSC); rain-sensing wipers; adaptive front lighting (AFS); brake assist; hill-start assist control (HAC); multi-terrain anti-lock braking system (ABS); electronic brake-force distribution (EBD); Quick Brake Assist; Smart Stop, which automatically reduces engine power when the brake pedal and the accelerator pedal are applied simultaneously under certain driving conditions; Safety Connect with Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assist Button, and Enhanced Roadside Assistance (with complimentary one-year subscription); and trailer sway control. A rearview camera comes standard. The optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) is packaged with adaptive cruise control.

Walkaround

The most noticeable feature of the LX 570 is what Lexus calls the spindle grille, which visually unites the upper and lower air openings into a sharp hourglass shape, like a spindle stretching the imagination. A version of this spindle grill appears on every Lexus. The bumper is mostly hidden, so the spindle is visually dominant.

The LX 570 is the same length as the Range Rover but looks bigger, perhaps because there is more overhang, because the Lexus wheelbase is shorter. Or perhaps because of the chrome in the grille and rear bumper; or perhaps because of the slab sides. Or maybe it’s the 20-inch 10-spoke wheels, beautiful in alloy painted graphite.

15-lx570-walkBroad mirrors, pronounced wheel arches and a wide stance give it muscularity as well as bulk. The projector-beam lamps and LED running lights are sharply defined, while the recessed foglamps look deep and chiseled.

Interior Features

15-lx570-interior-1The Lexus LX 570 cabin is luxurious. There are two leathers, black or parchment, each with mahogany trim. There’s a dramatic difference between them: Black feels like a dark and intimate den, while Parchment makes a bright and cheery sunroom. While many prefer black or gray interiors, we like the Parchment. Stitching on the seats is precise. The Luxury Package upgrades to semi-aniline leather and extends the mahogany trim.

Still striving, the LX 570 has no less than four climate zones, with rear controls for temp and fan. A total of 28 vents distribute air flow, after being filtered for micro-dust and pollen, and blown by a blower with seven levels. The only problem, for the driver that’s all alone, is that the controls aren’t intuitive, and the fan knob is located away from the temp control, so your eyes have to move around.

Like any tall vehicle, entry takes a big step, so there are sturdy grab handles in front. But with Active Height Control, the car drops down 2 inches when it’s stopped. The roomy and supportive driver’s seat adjusts 14 ways, and the passenger seat 12 ways, with lumbar for both. When the ignition is turned off, the driver’s seat and steering wheel retract to make more room to exit. There’s a vast 43 inches of legroom in front, and the moonroof gives the rear seats the feeling of headroom, more than 38 inches.

Cubby storage for the driver comes up short, as there’s no place for a cell phone, keys, sunglasses or wallet. The lid to the center console is a padded extending armrest, hiding a Cool Box keeping a cold one at your elbow. Or your grapes cool, or your bait fresh, but maybe not both.

For groceries or other everyday uses, the 15-cubic-foot area behind the third row is sufficient. Third-row entry is made easy with a touch-and-tumble seat on the passenger side second row. It’s still a bit of a crawl, but the third row can handle two adults; they say three, but the person in the middle isn’t going to be happy unless the other two are gorgeous.

If it’s cargo you’re carrying, you’ll have 15 cubic feet behind the third row, good enough for groceries and things. The third-row seats split 50/50 and stow against the side of the cabin, creating 41 cubic feet. Then the second-row seats fold to double that space, to 83.1 cubic feet. The rear hatch opens using the key fob; the tailgate opens manually with a lever on the tailgate.

15-lx570-interior-2The cockpit switchgear is uncluttered, partly thanks to steering wheel controls. There’s a huge speedo and tach, perfectly lit in organic white, dominating the instrument panel and sandwiching neat round gauges for fuel, coolant temp, voltage and oil pressure. There’s also a digital display window squeezed in there, which offers too much information.

At the top of the center stack, a Thin Film Transistor (TFT) color multi-information display indicates steering wheel angle, digital speed, turn-by-turn navigation, multi-terrain mode, suspension height, outside temperature, current mpg, mpg since refueling, cruise range, miles driven since start, tire pressure, and warnings.

XM Traffic selects the least crowded route to a destination. The Mark Levinson option provides an upgrade equal to any automotive audio. A hard drive offers 30 gigabytes for music storage, playable through 19 speakers that generate true surround sound. The system is compelling and memorable.

Built into the interior are 10 airbags, including two knee airbags. A roll-sensing curtain airbag is designed to protect all three rows, and second-row passengers also have separate seat-mounted side airbags. All eight seats have three-point seatbelt systems. Active headrests are standard on the front seats. In the event of a rear-end collision, the headrests automatically tilt forward to limit the chance of whiplash injuries.

Driving Impressions

The Lexus LX 570 is smooth, quiet and untroubled. It’s composed and relaxed at higher speeds. The commanding view from its height, combined with the lack of noise and vibration, combine to create the sensation of a protected cabin, and a sense of well-being.

The 5.7-liter V8 is the same 383-horsepower engine used in the big Tundra pickup truck. It makes a ton of torque at low rpm, so the LX moves out readily at part throttle. More than 90 percent of its maximum 403 foot-pounds is available before 2200 rpm, so most of the time the engine just loafs.

The 6-speed transmission has a low first gear, useful for towing. At the top end of the transmission, both fifth and sixth gears are overdrives, with 72 mph coming at 2000 rpm.

Poor fuel economy is the price of power and weight, not to mention tall box-like aerodynamics. The LX 570 is EPA rated at 12 mpg city and 17 mpg highway. We got 13.4 mpg in hilly city and 72-mph highway driving for a week.

15-lx570-drivingDrawing from its Land Cruiser heritage, the LX has the guts of a true 4×4. In bad weather it comes into its own, with a Torsen limited-slip center differential biasing torque to maximize traction. The four-wheel-drive system has four modes, actuated by a toggle switch on the center console. It’s possible to lock the center differential in high or low range, or leave it open in either range. Normal use is the unlocked high mode. When the going gets really bad, locking the center differential gives more traction, while low range is for extreme challenges, for example deep sand, mud or snow, or boulders to cross.

Low range can be supported by Crawl Control with Turn Assist. On steep downhill trails, a driver can take his feet off the pedals and crawl control will do the rest, performing perfect magic on the brakes to maintain a set low speed. Turn Assist helps tighten turning by braking the inside rear wheel so the vehicle pivots a bit.

The Lexus LX also uses electronic traction control (A-TRAC) to prevent wheelspin. We have considerable experience with A-TRAC and it’s always provided enough traction for our unplanned events. Selectable (if not planned) modes include Rock, Rock and Dirt, Mogul, Loose Rock, or Mud and Sand.

The Lexus LX suspension offers both a smooth ride and steady cornering. Some vehicles in this class use air suspensions, but the LX uses more traditional and coil springs, with an Active Variable Damping System (AVS) that controls body pitch and dive. We had a chance to drive the LX with spirit over some mountain roads. In Sport mode, the suspension stays on an even keel during enhanced acceleration and braking. The brakes are big and powerful, ventilated discs with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution to balance braking on slippery surfaces.

A switch on the dash selects Sport, Normal, or Comfort suspension damping. Comfort was good most of the time, and there wasn’t much difference at Normal; but we could really feel the Sport mode, especially in switchback curves.

Maneuvering a big SUV can be challenging. Parking is made easier by variable gear-ratio steering, needing less effort steering at slow speeds. The challenge with the LX is visibility; it’s hard to see the front corners, and the rear headrests get in the way out the back window.

But that’s what cameras are for. There are cameras in the grille and passenger sideview mirror, with the otherwise blind spots revealed on a screen. There are also sensors to warn of objects near the corners of the car. It all makes parking easier, quicker and safer.

At the other extreme from mall parking, we hitched up a 7,000-pound trailer and found the engine and transmission had no trouble hauling the load up hills. There’s a manual mode for the 6-speed automatic, but we didn’t need it that much, not even downhill, where the transmission will downshift on its own to slow the rig. The uphill/downhill shift logic felt good to us, responding to subtle throttle inputs.

A Pre-Collision System is optional. It uses radar to determine if a crash is imminent, in which case it hits the brakes to slow the vehicle, and tightens the seatbelts. However, we are hearing reports of these systems going off on their own. Driving down the freeway at 65 mph, and your car slams on the brakes for no reason; it happened to us at night in a Volvo XC60. We know of no cases where it’s happened to a Lexus LX.

Summary, Prices, Specs

15-lx570-finalThe Lexus LX 570 offers luxury, capability off road, towing, 8-passenger seating, smooth ride, big power, and taut handling for a huge SUV. Last redesigned for the 2008 model year, it’s getting long in the tooth and has been bypassed by some newer designs.

Mitch McCullough contributed to this report, with Sam Moses reporting from the Pacific Northwest.

Model Line Overview
Model lineup:Lexus LX 570 ($83,180)
Engines:5.7-liter V8
Transmissions:6-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard):advanced driver and front passenger airbags, including dual-stage SRS airbag for front passenger seat; driver and front SRS passenger knee airbags; front seat mounted SRS side airbags; roll-sensing front and rear side-curtain airbags for all 3 rows; second-row SRS side airbags; front occupant sensor; 3-point seatbelts for all seating positions; soft upper interior; side impact beams; energy absorbing frame structure; active front headrests; daytime running lamps (DRL); anti-rollover dynamics; tire pressure monitor (TPM) system; active traction control (A-TRAC); vehicle stability control (VSC); rain-sensing wipers; adaptive front lighting (AFS); brake assist (BA); hill-start assist control (HAC); multi-terrain anti-lock braking system (ABS); electronic brake-force distribution (EBD); Smart Stop; Safety Connect with Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assist Button, and Enhanced Roadside Assistance (with complimentary one-year subscription); and trailer sway control
Safety equipment (optional):Intuitive Park Assist including wide-view front and side monitors
Basic warranty:4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in:Yoshiwara Plant, Aichi, Japan
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSPR):Lexus LX 570 ($83,180)
Standard equipment:leather upholstery and trim; wood grained trim; illuminated inner scuff plate; window open/close speed control; power front seat cushion extenders; foldable, reclining 60/40 split second row seat with CRS anchorage; power sliding second-row seat; semi-power third-row seat; 10-way power driver seat; three-position memory driver seat; 8-way power front passenger seat; heated front seats; power tilt/slide moonroof; heated outside mirrors with power folding and reverse auto-tilt; auto-dimming electrochromic inside rearview mirror; illuminated running boards; auto on/off headlamps with variable off timing; roof rack; rain-sensing variable intermittent front windshield wipers; intermittent rear windshield wiper with washer; roof-mounted fixed antenna; programmable garage door opener located in overhead console; map light assembly with sunglasses holder; door courtesy lights, glove box light, dome light, front map lights and rear cargo area light; illuminated cigarette lighter and 12-volt power outlet; 115V outlets in the second row and rear cargo area; power door locks with anti-lock-out feature; center console split doors (double as armrests that slide front-to-back); cup holders for two large cups; door pocket holders for 20oz. bottles and A4-size binders; second-seat armrest cupholders for two large cups; second-seat armrest storage box with lid; third-row cup holders for two cups on each side; back door tailgate storage space; anti-dust filter and separate driver and passenger temperature controls; front defroster-linked A/C startup control; digital outside temperature display, digital clock and trip computer showing average mpg, current mpg, range, average mph, barometer, altimeter, elapsed time; Lexus Premium Audio, which includes digital AM/FM tuner, in-dash 6CD/DVD changer in head unit to support MP3/WMA/SDARS, MP3/iPod input plug, HD radio with iTunes tagging, digital sound processing (DSP) with seven-channel 312-watt output, nine speakers, automatic sound levelizer; Siri Eyes Free
Options as tested (MSPR):Luxury Package ($1510), Mark Levinson Audio System ($2350), Intuitive Park Assist ($1000), Rear Seat Entertainment System ($2005)
Destination charge:$925
Gas guzzler tax:N/A
Price as tested (MSPR):$90,970
Layout:four-wheel drive
Engine:5.7-liter DOHC 32-valve V8
Horsepower (lb.-ft @ rpm):383 @ 5600
Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm):403 @ 3600
Transmission:6-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:12/17 mpg
Wheelbase:112.2 in.
Length/width/height:197.0/77.6/75.6 in.
Track, f/r:64.6/64.4 in.
Turning circle:38.7 ft.
Seating Capacity:8
Head/hip/leg room, f:38.3/58.8/42.9 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:38.9/58.5/34.4 in.
Head/hip/leg room, r:35.8/56.6/28.3 in.
Cargo volume:83.1 cu. ft.
Payload:N/A
Towing capacity:7000 Lbs.
Suspension, f:independent, double wishbone w/coil springs and stabilizer bar, with active height control and adaptive variable damping
Suspension, r:four-link coil spring lateral rod-type suspension with active height control and adaptive variable damping
Ground clearance:8.9 in.
Curb weigth:6000 lbs.
Tires:P285/50R20
Brakes, f/r:ventilated disc/ventilated disc, with ABS, brake assist, EBD, VSC, A-TRAC, HAC, and crawl control with Turn Assist
Fuel capacity:24.6 gal.
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSPR) effective as of April 16, 2015.Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable. Manufacturer Info Sources: 800-255-3987 - www.lexus.com

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