– Good ride comfort
– Cabin space and tech
– Well-equipped offroader
– Overly expensive
– Lumpy onroad handling
– Least power in its class
The Lexus LX 570 is a massively popular vehicle in the UAE for various reasons. While many adore it for its luxury, road presence, and irrefutable reliability amongst other things, several less fortunate road users, particularly those in smaller cars, reckon the LX 570 as an everyday terror in the rearview mirror. While the latter may not be a trend Lexus intended for, the former is definitely what they would like to live up to. So they went all-out while refreshing the LX 570 for 2016 so much so that the facelift is more of a sizeable overhaul, as this could very well be the last makeover for the platform that dates back to almost a decade.
The new-for-2016 Lexus LX 570 features significant exterior design revisions, with Toyota claiming that only the door panels have been carried over from the former design. The narrower headlight assembly housing the LED main lamps, running lamps and turn indicators makes the LX 570 look meaner than ever before. Besides, the more boldly-rendered corporate spindle-grille with added brackets in each slat, redesigned inverted-L fog-lamp housings and the new 21-inch ‘thug-life’ wheels, all add a lot more aggression to the tall bulbous Lexus. The new pointy taillights boasting Audi-inspired sequential LED indicators and a redesigned rear bumper round off the exterior revamp.
The interior has been massively revised too, with a new dashboard layout, new door panels, manual sun-blinds for rear passengers, and an extra-wide 12.3-inch display on the dash controlled by a mouse-joystick controller thingy, although there is still an overwhelming array of buttons, knobs and switches on the centre console. While the glove-box cover and its surrounding panels, and the door inserts, all come leather-padded, the top of the dash has a cheap rubberised-plastic trim. There is further real wood and metal trim bits elsewhere in the cabin, but there are still some hard-plastic bits in the lower panels, and in some odd places, such as the lower dash area behind the steering wheel, which makes you wonder why the new LX 570’s price tag rivals that of a Range Rover.
The new LX-570 ain’t short on features though, with available options in higher trims including a full set of airbags, Pre-Crash safety system, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam system, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, height-adjustable suspension with active damping, a classy-looking analogue clock that automatically sets the time using GPS timezones, ventilated front and second-row seats with heating and cooling, independent rear entertainment system with dual 11.6-inch HD displays, and a Mark Levison sound system with 19 speakers.
There is good space in the front and second rows, with good legroom and headroom throughout. The ancient third-row seating setup — that split-folds up to the sides rather than fold flat into the floor — are best for kids, although medium-sized adults can squeeze in there without complaining, for short stints. The boot is of a good size, although some space is wasted by the aforementioned third row.
Powered by a carryover 5.7-litre V8 engine good for 362 hp at 5600 rpm and 530 Nm of torque at 3200 rpm, the new LX 570 now features an 8-speed automatic transmission. Firing off a 0-100 kph dash in 7.9 seconds from standstill, make no mistake, the LX 570 is no drag monster. The speed build-up is gradual, with no neck-snapping urgency even on full throttle. Power delivery is very linear and smooth, and the LX 570 behaves exactly like how a luxury cruiser should, although almost all its rivals are quicker. It is now claimed to consume considerably less fuel, as we got 20 litres/100 km.
The LX 570 offers a largely smooth ride, but not without a bit of judder on uneven surfaces even with active dampers. So while it does stand apart from the Land Cruiser, it still has a few miles to go in matching the ride quality of many of its competitors. However, the quietness levels remain among the best, with only minor amounts of road and wind noise noticeable above 100 kph. There is a refined engine growl on full throttle, which settles down to silence once cruising.
The handling is as expected for a massive trucklet riding on independent front suspension and a solid rear axle, just about acceptable for lounging about, and nowhere close to matching the car-like drive of a Range Rover. We never shoved it into corners like morons, but the limits are decent enough to safely allow some reasonably-quick driving, and the safety nannies are always on watch for driver errors or emergency manoeuvres unless turned off. Body motions are a bit jiggly, with always-noticeable body roll, so smoother driving is preferred over abrupt direction changes. The brakes are good enough, but in their attempt to get rid of the old model’s too-light steering, they’ve gone completely the other way and made the steering too heavy at parking speeds, while oddly lighter at highway speeds and still adding no feedback.
One of the benefits the Lexus LX 570 inevitably derives from being heavily based on the Land Cruiser, is its off-road credentials. Although the number of people who would venture into the desert with their expensive luxury coach is questionable, it goes without saying that the Lexus LX 570 indeed is one of the handful of luxury wagons that will not shy away from the rough stuff, being adequately equipped with an all-wheel-drive system using a Torsen limited-slip driver-lockable centre differential, and a 2-speed transfer-case offering low-range gearing, besides other goodies such as multi-terrain select with five modes, four-wheel Active Traction Control System, crawl-control system with turn assist for tighter turns, hill start assist and hill descent controls, and height-adjustable suspensions.
We took the Lexus LX 570 for a brief dune-bashing session, and it didn’t disappoint. Even with the normal ride height, we never dug those fancy low bumpers into the sand, although venturing deeper into the desert and climbing steeper obstacles will require the suspension to be set at maximum height. With enough low-end torque, the LX 570 easily managed the loose sand and mild dunes despite the fully-inflated tyres and bigger wheels. The good news is that the traction and stability control systems can be fully turned off for the best off-road performance. A coil-sprung live rear axle means the wheel articulation is great in the rear, while having an advantage in rocky scenarios.
Reviews of facelifts are usually short, but this is a rare instance where an automaker did more than just change the shape of the grille. And while the aging drivetrain is unfortunate, the LX 570 has undoubtedly been the great seller in its segment since time immemorial, regardless of the looks, features and high price tag. But the latest Lexus LX 570 now combines arguably striking and modern looks, a host of modern features, fair luxury and good off-road capability into a single package, and is thus not expected to lose its throne anytime soon.
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