In my 20+ years as an auto critic, I’ve moved four times. At each instance, it was necessary for me to introduce myself to the neighbours a few weeks after in to clear the air – no, I’m not a drug dealer, a used car dealer or some other kind of crook. Imagine then having a Nightfall Mica Blue 2020 Lexus LX 570 delivered to my door in a trailer park…
So, the fam and I decided to escape the clutches of another dreadful Quebec winter season for a few weeks and as I’m not on vacation, I continue to review vehicles. Our immediate neighbour was immediately curious when the truck showed up and thus, we struck up a conversation. As a truck/SUV fan himself (late model Nissan Murano and Ford F-150) he was curious about Big Blue as he’d not recalled seeing one, at least not recently.
With a price tag of $111,300, the Lexus LX is not for every purse and being what it is limits the interest for many. Just over 1,000 were sold in Canada and 4,700 (!) delivered in the US last year so the odds of spotting one in the wild are slim. And then, the LX is a real die-in-the-wool Truck.
A real off-roader in a fancy suit
Based in the legendary Toyota Land Cruiser, when stripped, the LX is a hard-core out-of-the-box off-roader built on a ladder-frame with a full-time 4WD system which includes a TORSEN limited slip center differential, a two-speed transfer case, Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC) and Crawl Control with Turn Assist. In no uncertain terms, the Lexus LX 570 is equipped to go far and deep off the beaten path. On a daily basis, all of this off-road capability is only felt in one way.
Weight. Lots and lots of pounds. 6,000 lb. to be exact. Yes, the 2020 LX 570 tips the scale at a suspension-bridge collapsing 6,000 lb. before adding passengers and gear. All week, as part of my time with the truck, there were four adults, a stroller and many bags or nearly an extra 700 lb. on board. To say the standard 5.7-litre V8 as struggling is a lie – laden or unladen, all 383-horsepower and 403 lb.-ft. of torque were always put to the test, as demonstrated by my measured 13 mpg, or 18L/100km in mixed city and highway driving. It is rated at 19.2L/14.3L 100km (city/highway.)
Serious, and cosseting
The V8 itself is creamy smooth and hates to be rushed. Rolling progressively on the throttle allows torque to build up nicely from 3,600 rpm – mashing the throttle startles the 8-speed automatic transmission needlessly.
Much of the creamy smoothness is attributed to the included electro-hydraulic suspension with 4-wheel Active Height Control (X-AHC) and automatic load-leveling Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS). This is not to be confused with actual adaptive dampers – the ride height lowers or raises depending on travel speed. Even so, when set in “Comfort”, the truck floats, or nearly. When set in “Sport S” or “Sports S+”, the ride “stiffen” up mildly but body roll remains prominent. Other notable aspects are overly heavy steering, immensely powerful yet grabby brakes and silence, lots and lots of silence.
A long career
Now, when it comes to styling, the 2020 Lexus LX 570 can be difficult to stare at. The spindle grille is at its most explosively big. For an extra $3,800 a “Sport” package adds a diamond-like pattern deeper unit. My US tester included the optional 21-inch wheels without the other extra add-ons, for which I was thankful. From every other angle, the huge SUV is superb, with the right mindset.
I felt like I was in the presence of great wisdom and knowledge, standing near the LX. Essentially, I revered the truck that, despite its 12-year-long career with three facelifts, remains dedicated as ever to serve its owner. Over the years, although it’s had many surgeries to upgrade old parts, fact is this old General is about to retire.
Although the 2020 Lexus LX 570 has received a number of updates such as intelligent cruise control, lane-departure and pre-collision systems, the truck falls short today’s must-haves and cabin configuration.
Lacking a basic skill
The first and most offensive shortcoming is the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I was dumbfounded when I realized and remembered this fact when I was unable to retrieve my Waze app on the 12.3-inch display. Said screen, even if large, sports graphics from the early 2010s, and is not touch-sensitive – yes, it’s accessible with Remote Touch Interface…
The second milder irritant is the third row’s functionality, or lack-thereof. As this is an older vehicle, the 50/50 bench folds up and to the sides (and not into or onto the trunk floor) limiting usable boot volume. With the 3rd row in place, scarcely 340 litres of space is accessible. And that’s about it.
The dashboard and multiple switchgear are age appropriate and, well, as an older-ish person, this was once my definition of luxury. The materials such as the leathers and woods are Roller-worthy and the seats are plush and comfortable. I won’t go over the entire list of features but the 19-speaker, 450-watt Mark Levinson audio system is fantastic for blasting Tool’s Jambi beyond reason.
That price tag
Finally, I can’t help but love and forgive almost everything about the LX with the exception of the price. Incredibly though, at $111,300, the 2020 LX is a bargain in Canada. As equipped, my tester is just shy of $99,000 US. Fact of the matter is that the LX is the old way of doing luxury. It has prestige and panache but there are many SUVs currently available that offer more space, more technology, and more efficiency for half the price. Or, all of the above for the same money.
We know an all-new Toyota Land Cruiser J300 is due to be revealed this summer which may entail an equally all-new LX before long.