NOW IN ITS THIRD DECADE, LEXUS’S LX LUXURY SUV GETS A RANGE OF NEW FEATURES, INCLUDING A SUITE OF ULTRA SMART SAFETY SYSTEMS
BY EVAN MONROE
When it began manufacturing LX nameplate full size luxury SUVs in the mid 1990s, Lexus used the venerable platform of the long running Toyota Land Cruiser as the structural basis for what would become one of its most dependably interesting people haulers one now in an enviable position to take further advantage of the increasing dominance of the SUV and crossover markets.
The first generation, the LX 450, premiered in 1996; its successor, the LX 470, debuted in 1998, followed by the third and longest running member of the family, the LX 570, which premiered at the New York International Auto Show in 2007 as a complete redesign. And sales have seen a recent and remarkable uptick; in 2015, 3,884 were sold, whereas 2017 sales figures totaled a stunning 6,004.
It seemed logical, then, that Lexus would put some additional polish onto the 2019 LX 570, even in the absence of a wholesale redesign (which was last done three years ago). Power for the new year model is courtesy of a 5.7 liter V8, with 383 horsepower and with 90 percent of its 403 lb. ft. of torque available at a remarkably high 3,600 rpm (passing lane enthusiasts take note). Equipped with an 8 speed automatic transmission, it’s capable of towing up to 7,000 pounds, and, for a 7,385 pound gross curb weight truck, manages to thunder from naught to 60 mph in a downright nimble 7.3 seconds (top speed is an electronically limited 137 mph).
Standard seating is five, though an optional three row layout will accommodate up to eight passengers. Twenty inch split 10 spoke wheels come standard. The LX’s sturdy body on frame structure is combined with a multi terrain system to enhance control over varied landscapes (Rock, Rock and Dirt, Mogul, Loose Rock, and Mud and Sand). Low range gearing provides slow speed capability for steep off road hills, and there’s additional support from an innovative Crawl Control system, fortified with Turn Assist, Hill Start Assist Control, and Variable Gear Ratio Steering. Notable among its digital safety features is an All Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which maintains a preset distance from a vehicle traveling ahead. Using a combination of millimeter wave radar and a front facing camera, the system can detect vehicles (and, in some circumstances, a pedestrian), then warn of a possible collision and initiate braking assist if necessary. Lane Departure Alert, meanwhile, monitors visible lane markings. If it senses a drift, it conveys audio visual alerts and vibrates the steering wheel to get the driver’s attention.
The leather trimmed interior is highlighted by a memory system that adjusts the driver’s seat, outside mirrors, and steering wheel (a 14 way power driver’s seat and 12 way front passenger seat are standard, both ventilated). Wood trim selections include Open Pore Walnut, Linear Espresso Wood, and Dark Brown Walnut. A three spoke wood rimmed steering wheel is another nice touch. The Climate Concierge automatically monitors four separate zones and adjusts not only fan speed and temperature, but also the temperature of the seats and steering wheel.
A 12.3 inch navigation display with Remote Touch Interface (RTI) heads a list of multimedia and connectivity features, and the dashboard screen can be split into three sections to show functions like navigation, audio, and climate control. The nine speaker Lexus Premium Sound System is on all models, but optional (and arguably unnecessary, as the base system is awesome) is a 19 speaker, 450 watt Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound system. Base price is $83,800.