2021 Lexus LX

By January 27, 2021

The 2021 Lexus LX is the luxury-appointed kin to the Toyota Land Cruiser. The LX is as capable as the Land Cruiser and even more richly upholstered—and it’s even more expensive.

The 2021 model year doesn’t bring much to the LX other than Amazon Alexa capability.

As the name alludes to, the LX 570 gets its power from a 5.7-liter V-8 making 383 hp and 403 lb-ft of torque. The old-school engine pairs up to a new-school 8-speed automatic transmission, but gas mileage is still low at 12 mpg city, 16 highway, 14 combined. Thankfully, that figure factors in the standard four-wheel drive.

The six-figure LX rightfully includes standard automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, lane-departure warnings, blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control. In all its years on the market, the NHTSA and IIHS have not seen fit to crash-test the LX.

Model Lineup

Buying a Lexus LX 570 is easy: it’s sold with one engine, in two trim levels, and with only a handful of options. The $87,875 MSRP includes a 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation, four-zone climate control, power-adjustable and heated front seats, leather upholstery, a surround-view camera system, and 20-inch wheels. An adaptive suspension with height control is also standard, as is a collection of off-road equipment that encompasses multiple terrain drive modes, a trail-focused cruise control, and torque-vectoring turn-assist. Two rows of seats are standard; a three-row model costs about $5,000 more.

The fully-loaded Inspiration Series pushes six figures at $100,605; the $13,000 price bump over a base model buys a heated steering wheel, semi-aniline leather upholstery, a third row, heated and cooled second-row seats, a 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, wireless smartphone charging, and a head-up display.

Exterior

Want to stand out? You came to the right place. The LX measures 200 inches long on a 112-inch wheelbase, but the outsized styling gives it an even more gargantuan appearance.

Perhaps it’s the heft of the thing that shines through: the LX weighs 6,000 pounds before cargo or passengers. The LX comes from an era when a big, brash SUV didn’t need to apologize for its stout shape—and the LX doesn’t.

Interior

Lots of buttons dot the cabin, but otherwise the interior of the LX is a study in luxury materials. Copious amounts of real wood and soft leather have been slathered on the door panels as well as the console and dashboard. The analog gauge cluster is easy to read through the nicely-sized three-spoke steering wheel.

Navigation is standard, but you won’t find Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The Lexus infotainment software through the console-mounted joystick can be distracting, especially while driving. The redundant radio and climate control buttons truly save the day.

It isn’t too difficult to get comfy and cozy in the LX, as the big, soft leather seats are as inviting as a favorite armchair. The available semi-aniline upholstery is even more supple and luxurious. The second row only has 34 inches of leg room, not much for a vehicle this big. The third-row only offers 28 inches. Efficiency isn’t on the LX menu.

Cargo space is more aligned with class expectations: 16 cubic feet behind the third row, 42 (three-row) or 54 (two-row) cubic feet behind the second row, and 83 cubic feet with both rows folded.

Driving Impressions

The LX has SUV road manners—no car-like crossover maneuvers here. Its massive heft is always noticeable behind the wheel, even on the highway; parking lots can be an exercise in parking skills. The LX leans into corners with all its weight, taming any desire to corner quickly. The steering is nice and hefty but not very precise.

Those are the biggest demerits. On the plus side, the LX wafts along in near-silence, its bulk working in tandem with the chassis to dissipate bumps well before they reach the cabin. Its impression of a luxury car in this regard is commendable.

The big 5.7-liter V-8’s 383 hp and 403 lb-ft of torque move all 6,000 pounds of LX with undue haste. The 8-speed automatic does a fine job at picking gears and timing shifts. The best way to describe this powertrain is unobtrusive: it answers the call for more power without making a fuss.

It’s impossible to talk about the LX without speaking of its off-road chops. Lexus builds every version with the goods to go off the beaten path. That means full-time four-wheel drive, five terrain drive modes that alter shift points and throttle response, and an adaptive suspension with enhanced articulation. A trail-geared cruise control allows the LX to lumber over rocks and fallen trees or down steep inclines at school-zone speeds or slower.

Final Word

The 2021 Lexus LX is an old-school SUV that twins legendary Land Cruiser capability and reliability in a markedly ritzier package. The styling, size, and price ensure its loyalists-only place in the lineup, but both LX customers and Lexus are probably okay with that. Why not spend up for the most fabulous version?

 

—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection

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