Heavy­weight Lexus LX 570 needs to be treated with re­spect, writes CHRIS RI­LEY

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

WE DROVE one of th­ese big Lexus 4WDs to Byron Bay and back a couple of years ago.

The big eight-seat off road wagon is great for a trip but we go weak at the knees when V8s large 4WDs are men­tioned in the same sen­tence.

I’m glad weren’t foot­ing fuel bill be­cause our 2000km would not have been cheap — 13.2 litres per 100km that we were get­ting.

For­tu­nately new Lexus LX 570, which has just the sub­ject of a ma­jor over­haul, is more fuel ef­fi­cient, thanks mainly to a eight-speed tranny.

But be­fore you start cheer­ing, im­prove­ment only 333333 per cent.

Just about ev­ery­thing is new, ex­cept the un­der­ly­ing car — the roof and doors carry over. The styling is con­fronting on big four­bie sig­na­ture “spin­dle” grille looks gi­gan­tic like car slammed into a Dalek.

It’s the same 5.7-litre V8 with 270kW and 530Nm of grunt, but the eight-speed tranny is a big im­prove­ment on pre­vi­ous sixspeed.

Fuel consumption claimed 14.4L/100km but it prefers 98 un­leaded.

With a 138-litre ca­pac­ity a fill from dead empty will be $170, at least at $1.24.7 per litre (cheap­est price time of writ­ing).

Drive goes to all four wheels through a full time 4x4 sys­tem with a torsen, me­chan­i­cal cen­tre diff.

The num­ber of drive modes has been ex­panded from three five and in­cludes cus­tom mode.

Sport+ pow­ers up the en­gine, as well as al­ter­ing set­tings for steer­ing sta­bil­ity con­trol.

Vari­able hy­dro-pneu­matic sus­pen­sion min­imises body roll and op­ti­mises ride com­fort. Braked tow­ing ca­pac­ity re­mains 3500kg.

There’s one model priced from $140,500, with $16,500 op­tion pack — an in­crease of $6190.

The wood grain has been di­alled back, dash com­pletely re­designed with a 12.3-inch com­puter screen slot­ted in but sadly it’s not touch­screen.

view from the driver’s seat re­de­fines term “com­mand driv­ing po­si­tion” with sweep­ing views of the road and army knobs, but­tons

switches that con­trol ev­ery as­pect of the car.

New items in­clude LED head­lights, au­to­matic high beam, heads up dis­play, larger DVD screens, wire­less charg­ing and apps work with your smart­phone.

The new LX has 10 airbags and comes plenty of safety sys­tems — lane de­par­ture warn­ing, adap­tive high beam, head-up dis­play, blind spot mon­i­tor, rear cross traf­fic alert tyre pres­sure warn­ing sys­tem.

There’s no get­ting away from the fact LX 570 is a heavy­weight, at close to three tonnes, and as such needs be treated with re­spect.

You can put it in Sport+ tighten up the steer­ing but its weight high cen­tre of grav­ity will tell against it in end. Take a turn too quickly and feels awk­ward be­cause all that wants to keep go­ing straight ahead — a thing called un­der­steer.

it easy, put it in com­fort mode and you’ll find life more re­lax­ing, en­joy­ing the scenery from ahigh.

The ride qual­ity is su­perb for a large 4WD, even if you ven­ture off the bi­tu­men.

In fact, this car has few peers road, apart donor Landcruiser that a lit­tle more ground clear­ance.

Things like Crawl Con­trol take all the pain out of the process, guid­ing the car over dif­fi­cult ter­rain at su­per low speeds, with­out need for any throt­tle or brake in­ter­ven­tion.

There’s even a nifty switch that gets you around tight turns by lock­ing the in­ner rear wheel and let­ting car turn on its own axis.

Not to men­tion four cam­eras help see what you’re do­ing.

The thing is hardly any­one takes th­ese off road.

It’s more about tow­ing things like horse floats and large power boats. But a diesel?

the peren­nial ques­tion. Why build huge 4WD then stick V8 in it?

The Landcruiser on which it’s based gets a diesel, so why not the LX 570?

short an­swer is that one is avail­able and sold in other coun­tries, but Lexus says it can’t get car with the high level of trim it be­lieves it

its cus­tomers want. At same time, the large 4WD mar­ket is a mar­ket dom­i­nated by diesel.

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