JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH
The colossal Lexus LX 570
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Wed, Mar 7, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
In what may be the most convincing argument in favor of the premise that dinosaurs never became extinct, our editor recounts his seven-day experience living with a 6,000 pound carcharodontosaurus—otherwise known as the Lexus LX 570. John Grafman reports on what it’s like to live with this magnificent creature. By John Grafman Millions of years ago dinosaurs roamed the earth. Jurassic Park provides a plausible method in the movie for reviving giant reptiles. However, it wasn’t until Lexus gets involved that we see real life proof that monsters do indeed live among us. As curious onlookers pass the LX 570, there is a moment of pause and awe. The look that falls on their faces is very telling. Do SUVs of this size still exist? Perhaps that isn’t exactly what they are thinking, but it’s something close to that. In our world, there is very little to fear of from the massive eight-seater. Okay, in all fairness, parking lots with tight spacing are a little scary. Also, this does feel ponderous as one might expect at 5,995 pounds. With the adjustable suspension, this is probably far closer to hippo than a dinosaur, yet that isn’t exactly something to brag about.
Although this might be just the ticket for crossing the savanna in luxury, the urban jungle of Los Angeles really is far less treacherous. So, we have only to concern ourselves with dodging kids at play and others on the road, and a stray pothole or speed bump now and then. Like most of the other Lexus products, this does indeed have the interior trim down to a near science. It must be in the DNA. This comes with a nicely designed environment. It’s easy to feel like a king on the optional semi-aniline leather seats. Aside for the comfort level, the heating and venting on the seatsalone are enough for one to take up residence inside the LX. The living room size interior also features requisite folding seats, and DVD players for the rear seat passengers, along with wireless headphones. Actually, the colors and materials are more than suitable for an SUV, and reinforce the brand image. The style does go along way, as it should, in providing a premium experience. A few aspects didn’t slip by however. As nice as the appointments are, the overall feeling seems far less cutting edge in design in comparison with its competition. While that might be a problem for some car companies, as Lexus has a conservative image, this might actually be a plus. One wonders how the product planners, designers, and engineers overlooked the issue of the window switches on the door. As these are on a panel that resides below the armrest, these are at best awkward to use, as the armrest effectively blocks it. A driver or passenger would have to remove the arm from the rest just to activate it, and even then the armrest will provide a formidable opponent. The family Lexus trait also prevails in the graphics for the touch screen systems. This does look seriously dated. Would it be too difficult to make the user interface look cool, and maybe even less complex as well? Once the 5.7-liter V8 comes to life the other concerns fall by the wayside. This engine is able to haul a full load of people and a trailer. The smooth eight produces 383 horsepower, and a very useful 403 pounds of torque. This is able to get the mega Lexus out of jams that would be hard to believe in a vehicle this size.
This does translate into a feeling that isn’t typical in a vehicle this size—speed! This can move off the line and hit 60 in 7.4 seconds, and has a top speed just shy of 140 mph (electronically limited). Not particularly impressive in comparison to sports sedans, but given this can also tow a good 7,000 pounds; the LX doesn’t sacrifice in basic drivability. This LX is as ponderous as a brontosaurus, and is no more right sized for urban areas than Chris Farley was for David Spade’s jacket. So, why should anyone want one? Two reasons: You can pack in people and cargo, and secondly for all the goodies! Like all the Lexus models, the LX 570 is loaded with trappings of luxury motoring. When it comes to size, the 83.1 cubic feet with the rear rows folded and tumbled is very impressive. When mixing and matching the folding rear rows allows for a configuration for every need. The short list of treats include 10-spoke 20-inch wheels, adaptive front lighting system (AFS) dual-swivel, power rear door and easy-close tailgate, Auto-dimming electrochromic aerodynamic heated outside mirrors with power folding and reverse auto-tilt, rain-sensing, variable intermittent front windshield wipers with deicer, and standard Golden Bird’s-Eye Maple wood trim. Seating flexibility is evident with a 14-way power driver seat, power sliding 2nd row seat, and power folding 3rd row seat. The basic package also comes with anti-dust filter and separate driver and passenger four-zone temperature controls, height-selector switch, 115V outlet (located behind 3rd row in rear cargo area), first aid kit, HomeLink® electronic programmable garage door opener, plus more cup holders of generous size than you can shake a stick at.
The LX audio comes with an AM/FM/XM/six-disc CD changer, Automatic Sound Levelizer (ASL) DSP (Digital Sound Processing), nine speakers, amps with seven channels, 312 watt output, HDD navigation with Bluetooth® hands free phone and phonebook download capabilities; Lexus Enform® with SafetyConnect®: Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assist Button (SOS), Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Destination Assist, and eDestination, WMA/MP3 auxiliary and iPod®/USB input plugs, Active traction control (A-TRAC), Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Multi-terrain Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). On top of the standard fare, options include attractive African Bubinga wood trimmed steering wheel, shift knob, rear seat center console lid (with a name like Bubinga its got to be good), cool box in the center console, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats (middle row), heated steering wheel, semi-aniline leather trim. Additionally, the audio system can be upgraded to the Mark Levinson® Reference Surround Sound Audio System, 19-speakers (7.1 channel speaker architecture), in-dash six-disc DVD changer, 450 watt output, rear seat entertainment system, nine-inch screen, rear seat audio (RSA) functionality, and wireless headphones (2). The LX 570 is really a mix bag of good and bad. But, the woeful mileage of 12 city and 18 highway is scary. Now couple that with a price tag as tested of about 86K, and this is enough to scare away nearly anyone that isn’t taken aback by the mileage. Sure, vehicles of this size typically get poor mileage. But, I have to ask, just how many other dinosaurs from millions of years ago still roam the earth? The lesson learned is, adapt quick or die a cold, and miserable death. SUMMARY JUDGMENT In a jaded world that’s getting harder to impress by the day, go big or go home. And as big as the LX 570 is, a little updating will go a long way! For more information about Lexus products, go to www.lexus.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2011 Lexus LX 570 Price: Base $77,755, as tested $86,710 Engine type: 5.7-liter V8, DOHC 32-valve with Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 12/18 Horsepower: 383 hp @ 5,600 rpm Torque: 403 lb.-ft. @ 3,600 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine, full-time four wheel drive (4WD) Transmission type: 6-speed automatic, sequential-shift Electronically Controlled Transmission (ECT) Suspension: Front: Coil spring-type double wishbone independent suspension Rear: Four-link coil spring lateral rod-type suspension Electro-hydraulic suspension with 4-wheel Active Height Control (X-AHC) and automatic load-leveling Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) Wheels and tires: Front: Standard: 20 x 8.5 aluminum alloy, 285/50R20 all-season tires Rear: 20 x 8.5 aluminum alloy, 285/50R20 all-season tires Brakes: Front: 13.4 in. ventilated disc Rear: 13.6 in. ventilated disc Four wheel disc with Multi-terrain Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA),Electronic Brake- force Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Crawl Control Overall length: 196.5 in. Overall width: 77.6 in. Overall height: 73.4 in. (75.6 in. with std. roof rack) Curb weight (lbs): 5,995 0-60 mph: 7.4 Top Speed, mph: 137 – electronically limited