If you’ve always dreamed of being an airline pilot, but never got the training, you should try landing the new Lexus LX 570.
Lexus has created a cockpit fit for a pilot wanna-be with buttons galore. About the only thing missing is an altimeter.
Here’s a quick count of what you’ll get for nearly $100 grand. The center stack has 15 buttons plus four temperature control buttons, and two knobs for the radio. The console features 11 buttons, two toggles, and two knobs, plus a small park brake lever.
Need more? Oh there’s more. The power adjusted tilt/telescope steering wheel’s hub has 10 buttons, plus a 4-way directional pad and there’s a cruise control stalk behind the wheel. There are another 8 buttons on the dash’s face, plus the start button. Ironically the foot-wide screen atop the dash is not a touchscreen, but controlled by Lexus’s awkward and touchy mouse pad on the console.
Once you’ve mastered the maze of buttons, toggles and screen controls you’ll find the LX570 is the luxury version of Toyota’s Land Cruiser, a big beast of an SUV with serious off-roading capability. It has a wheelbase of 112.2 inches and is a full 199.4 inches long. The Lexus weighs in at a stout 6,000 lbs., but will tow 7,000.
Naturally a lot of those console buttons and toggles control its off-roading ability, with settings for 4-wheel-drive high and low, a special button to allow the ute to start in second gear, a vehicle height toggle for increasing ground clearance when you take your luxury ute into the outback. There’s also turn-assist for when you’re in crawl mode in deep muck or tall brush and prairie grass.
For suburban dwellers that are treading in less precarious environs, the full-size ute offers a stellar ride on crumbling roads and highway jaunts. Power is prodigious. The 5.7-liter V8 creates 383 horsepower and 403 ft.-lbs. of torque and the 4-wheel drive gives it good footing in deep sloppy snow, of which we had plenty during my test drive. A fine 8-speed automatic uses the engine’s power effectively.
Handling is nothing special, typical large ute with a fairly heavy steering feel. The truck (this is body on frame like pickups and other serious trucks), feels solid and well planted even in speedy cornering maneuvers though.
Inside the ute’s luxury feel is emphasized. First you must crawl aboard via large running boards along the truck’s sides and there’s room for seven passengers. Even then it’s a big step up. The rear seats will power back and forth to create more legroom or cargo room. And the third row seats not only fold forward, but sideways up against the vehicle’s sides. They are powered to fold too.
Seats are comfortable with some back contouring and fairly flat bottom seat cushions. Naturally the interior is lathered in leather. The dash in the dark metallic blue test truck was dark brown on top with a tan leather lower level and wood trim with satin chrome accents. Seats were tan leather and the console featured a wood top.
Front seats are powered and the test truck added a $1,190 luxury package that upgraded to semi-aniline leather with contrasting stitching. The package included heated and cooled front seats and heated second row seats. Seems those features would all be standard on a truck starting at $89,380.
Likewise this LX570 added a heated wooden steering wheel for $150. Save your money, only the small bit of the wheel wrapped in leather at 9 and 3 actually heats, and then not much. With gloves on I could feel no heat. Taking them off proved the leather bits had warmed a touch, but with just one heat level this was of little help on our one sub-zero morning. Some less costly vehicles offer at least two heat settings for the wheel, with high actually getting hot.
Still, everyone who rode in the truck (and many requested a ride due to the ute’s price) complemented its comfort level andits amenities. There are little things, like manual side window shades and more important things like a quad-zone climate control system. Oddly there was no 12-volt hookup in the second row seats, but plenty of hookups for electronics up front.
Yet standard is a moonroof, overhead SOS emergency alert system, and the usual host of safety features. That includes a backup camera with cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitor, lane departure alert, pre-collision alert and braking system, dynamic cruise control, and roll-sensing side airbags. The test unit also added a head-up instrument display for $900.
In back is plenty of cargo space when the third row seats are stowed and the LX570 has a power hatch, but split tailgate. So that hatch will power up, but there’s still a pickup-like tailgate to be lowered for loading large items.
There are a few issues too. One, the step-up height even with the running boards is tough for short passengers, the infuriating mouse controls for the huge screen make radio tuning and other info selection a crapshoot while driving. While a rear entertainment system is optional, it seems odd not to have one in the luxury package on this $90,000+ vehicle.
Gas mileage is horrible too. I got just 10.0 mpg in a week’s test drive. Granted there was snow and two really cold days during the drive, but I did not put on a lot of miles either of those days. The EPA rates this at just 13 mpg city and 18 mpg highway. I was expected at least 12-13 mpg.
If you’re shopping for a large luxury ute you’re already expecting to pay $75 grand, so maybe the $89,380 isn’t such a shock. But considering the options that were added, some of which I would expect to be standard at that price, well, the test unit rose to $93,340. You can consider this a Japanese luxury version of a Range Rover I suppose.
If you aren’t planning to challenge the Serengeti you may want to consider one of the many other large luxury utes, such as an Audi Q7, GMC Suburban, Cadillac Escalade or Mercedes-Benz GLS. They all start at a much lower price.
FAST STATS: 2017 Lexus LX570
Hits: Big, comfortable luxury ute that’s off-road capable and will carry 7 adults. Good power, excellent ride and features, such as heated/cooled front seats, heated rear, sunroof, head-up display, loaded with safety equipment, rear side window shades.
Misses: Poor fuel economy, no 12V hookup in second row seat, heated steering wheel barely feels warm, big step-up height, bad radio mouse control on console and no rear entertainment center at nearly $100 grand!
Made in: Japan
Engine: 5.7-liter dual VVT-i V8, 383 hp
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Weight: 6,000 lbs.
Length: 199.4 in.
Wheelbase: 112.2 in.
Cargo: 83.1 cu.ft. (rear seats down)
Tow: 7,000 lbs.
MPG: 13/18 (EPA)
MPG: 10.0 (tested)
Base Price: $89,380
Invoice: $83,206 (includes delivery)
21-inch alloy wheels, $745
Heads-up display, $900
Luxury package (semi-aniline leather interior w/contrast stitching, heated/vented front seats, heated rear, SmartAccess card key), $1,190
Heated wood steering wheel, $150
Test vehicle: $93,340
Sources: Lexus, www.kbb.com
Photos: Mark Savage