Replacing the Lexus LX 470 full-size SUV is the eight-seat 2008 LX 570. It’s the most refined and feature-packed model yet, as you might expect, but holds no big surprises. Lexus markets the truck as the ultimate combination of comfort and utility, but it’s possible that’s just a ploy to justify having a luxury SUV that’s still truck-based.
The LX 570 resembles the LX 470 it replaces, with a nose that mimics the current line of sedans. Though the rear view shows signs of the now-characteristic shoulders at the window line, its body-on-frame construction still resists attempts to make it truly distinctive. Something about the shape of the taillights and their chrome surrounds recalls Lincolns. The LX is large enough that even its standard 20-inch alloy wheels look small. It’s 4 inches longer and almost an inch wider than the previous generation.
Lexus says the 4 inches of greater length from bumper to bumper adds the same amount to the cabin. In terms of legroom, inches make a big difference. Still, the third-row seats are similar to the new crop of crossover SUVs, in that their cushions are rather close to the floor. For third-row access, the second-row seat is split 40/20/40, and the outboard segments power-slide forward. Like before, the standard third-row seat is split 50/50, and its halves fold upward along the side walls. Like before, this increases the blind spot. Unlike before, this process is powered.
The LX is certainly luxurious inside, but Lexus has broken no new ground in terms of materials or design. Optional luxury packages include upgraded leather, a cool box (small refrigerator) in the center console, aluminum door sill plates and Bubinga wood trim.
The many standard features include touch-screen navigation with real-time traffic information and a premium stereo with XM Satellite Radio. Options include an upgrade to a 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system with surround sound and a hard disk drive, heated rear seats, heated and cooled front seats, parking sonar alert, adaptive cruise control and a backseat DVD video system with a 9-inch screen.
Under the Hood
The LX 570 is named after its 5.7-liter V-8 engine, which adds more than 100 horsepower to this model for a total of 381 hp. The torque rating exceeds 400 pounds-feet. The transmission is a new six-speed, which adds 2,000 pounds of towing capacity for a total of 8,500 pounds.
The suspension is a sophisticated combination of air springs and adaptive shock absorbers that automatically optimize for comfort, performance and body control. Lexus says the “cross-linked” system collects and crunches data from sensors at all four wheels to intuit how each corner should react. The air springs automatically lower the body a couple of inches to ease entry and exit.
Lexus emphasizes the LX’s four-wheel drive and offroad ability, but our elaboration on that has been canceled due to lack of interest. More important is the multi-terrain antilock braking, which is claimed to detect loose surfaces and react accordingly. Loose snow, gravel and sand can actually extend stopping distances in cases where a locked wheel would allow the wheel to dig down and achieve more friction.
The most notable of the high-tech features is a blind-corner monitor that uses cameras to show sides of the vehicle that the rearview camera misses. The objective is to avoid grinding the wheels against curbs.
The LX boasts 10 airbags. In addition to the usual front and front-seat side-impact bags are second-row side-impact airbags and a knee airbag for each front occupant. There are curtains to protect third-row passengers. Behind the curve in the area of active head restraints, Lexus finally introduces them on this model, for the front seats. They also provide seat belt pretensioners for the second row as well as the front seats. This remains rare in the market. LX models equipped with the optional adaptive cruise control also feature the Pre-Collision System, which detects an impending collision via radar and tightens the belts before impact; typically these features activate along with the airbags once the “crash event” has begun.