First drive: 2016 Lexus LX 570 in the UAE
The Lexus LX has somehow created a huge niche for itself around here, as the luxury truck of choice to stand out among a sea of Land Cruisers. Around since 2008 in its current form, this is the third facelift it’s received, and the first one that goes beyond just reshaped bumpers. We briefly drove the 2016 model at its UAE launch in Dubai.
The exterior changes are radical enough to make the new LX look like a completely new generation, with mostly-new body panels, pointy new headlights and taillights with sequential indicators, and a bladed grille sharp enough to shave with.
Inside, the dashboard and door panels are completely new, with such niceties as a stitched-leather dashboard, padded-leather surfaces on the doors and centre-console, a newly-padded glovebox cover, real wood and metal trim, and a huge 12.3-inch extra-wide screen on the dash, controlled by a mouse-joystick device. Our top-spec tester, worth Dhs 450,000, also got the ‘Climate Concierge’ system that adjusts the temperature to suit each individual passenger, a 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, a cooler box, a heads-up display, and large 11.6-inch individual screens for rear passengers.
At first glance, it’s all pretty impressive, especially to the layman who’s never owned a high-end vehicle before, but then we started noticing several hard-plastic panels that have no business being in a car that’s now priced the same as a Range Rover, such as the lower door panels and the dash area behind the steering. Even the “stitched-leather” dash is not real, just simulated to look like one. Out back, the third row that folds up to the sides remains, clearly showing its Land Cruiser roots. The new heads-up display is hard to read and is offset to the side. And the huge LCD on the dash is still using 2D navigation map graphics from older-gen Toyotas when others have moved on to showing 3D buildings.
The powertrain hasn’t changed at all either, with the same 362 hp 5.7-litre V8 that’s been around unchanged for the better part of a decade. Mated to a well-programmed 8-speed automatic, it does the job fine, but it’s never going to become notorious for being a speed demon.
The 7-seater LX 570 still handles like an old-school truck as well, with very noticeable body roll, although you can feel the adaptive suspension doing its best to counter that. The body-on-frame structure may also be responsible for some of the random judders we felt on some sections of the highway. And the steering is oddly firm at parking speeds and lighter at higher speeds.
But we’ll have to give credit where it’s due on certain improvements, such as the ultra-quiet cabin, the generally Rolls Royce-like ride even on the optional 21-inch alloys, a tiny bit more steering feel than before, and much better brakes with more linear pedal feel. There’s also a host of driving-safety aids that are on par with rivals, such as adaptive cruise with auto-braking, blind-spot monitoring and all that.
Now don’t get us wrong, we’ve driven several LX 570 versions since this generation debuted in 2008, and we’ve always given them generally favourable reviews, keeping in mind their offroad ability that’d shame a Cadillac Escalade and their long-term durability that’d shame a Range Rover. The only thing we have an issue with is the newly bumped-up price, now starting at Dhs 385,000, for a vehicle that’s not quite ready to rock with the Europeans just yet in terms of all-out luxury.
For UAE prices and GCC specs, visit the Lexus buyer guide.