VIRTUOZITY TESTS OUT THE SERIOUSLY CAPABLE LEXUS LX 570 TO FIND OUT IF IT REALLY CAN COVER ALL BASES
WHEN IT COMES TO serious off-roading there’s still this belief that for a proper ‘go anywhere’, tough SUV you need to give up on a bit of luxury. You can’t take anything that isn’t akin to a military vehicle and use it for regular dune bashing without destroying it.
In part, this is quite true. There’s a lot of luxury SUVS now available, but few can take a daily beating the dunes and mountains of the Gulf.
Yes, a Range Rover is lot more rugged than it may suggest, and the German offerings don’t even pretend to have any serious off-road leanings.
For a big seven-seater SUV that can pretty much cope with anything, there’s very little choice. Toyota’s Land Cruiser is of course an option, although not as well appointed as its European rivals and the Nissan Patrol is again capable, but not a serious luxury vehicle. Pretty much the only SUV that truly covers these two fairly unique bases is the Lexus LX 570.
The current Lexus edgy design ethos suits the LX, especially at the front, where the sharp lines around the lights and grill really help to give it an aggressive face. Make no mistake, this is a seriously big car. Stand in front of it and the bonnet sits level with your shoulder if you are around average height.
At the rear the edgy lines continue into the lights and upper rear spoiler on the tailgate. The slope to the rear screen is almost upright, but the design hides the car’s square dimensions really well. Despite its size it’s almost soft to look at from some angles. You also get a split tailgate which is very handy when full access isn’t required.
Inside, the dash features a soft wood feature that flows from the door, across the centre screen and console, reaching across to the passenger door on the other side. The upper dash features a frankly huge infotainment screen, whilst all the climate and other controls are housed in the lower section.
Next to the gearstick is Lexus’ track pad system, which isn’t the easiest to control at first, but you do get a feel for it after a while. This allows you to pinpoint items on the navigation map and choose items in the infotainment system, as well as use the phone system.
The seats are incredibly comfortable and the rear seats offer some serious leg room for your passengers. Even with the third row of seats in place there’s still room for some shopping or weekend bags. Add a roof rack and you could easily head off on a long holiday for a family of seven.
Of course, the LX shares its underpinnings with Toyota’s Land Cruiser, so it’s about as rugged as they come. The fourwheel drive system is well proven after years of development and the engine and gearbox can withstand some serious abuse. It’s not the most refined drive on the road, but there has to be some tradeoff for that incredible ability.
The gearbox is quite slow, but very deliberate, again reinforcing that feeling of longevity. It’s also smooth when you’re going at a more relaxed pace. Add that to the compliant suspension and the ride is velvet soft.
The 5.7 litre V8 pushes out 362 hp, which is spread nicely across the rev range to ensure that constant traction. This is the
key to the LX’S amazing off-road ability. Keep the power and torque low in the range and give that fluid momentum you need for off-roading, especially in sand.
On the road it’s effortless, with little throttle required to make steady progress. It’s not the quickest accelerating SUV on the market, taking a bit of time to kick up its heels and get moving, but once you get into the power ban then there’s plenty of power to move the LX along at a very rapid rate.
The suspension is also soft enough to cushion the occupants, but firm enough to allow decent cornering. Push it too far and
“There’s a reason there are so many of LX 570s on driveways across the Gulf. It’s a very effective tool at moving a large family and all its luggage around.”
it’ll understeer, but keep sensible and even a twisty road won’t slow the Lexus down. It also stops well, thanks to huge brakes and tyres.
There’s a reason there are so many of LX 570s on driveways across the Gulf. It’s a very effective tool at moving a large family and all its luggage around. But more importantly it also looks bang on the money in any corporate car park or outside a top hotel.
It feels solid, reliable and smooth. Couple that with good on road manners, power and an almost impossible off-road ability, and you’ve got a car that’s hard to pigeon hole.
There are faster SUVS, there are more rugged SUVS and there are more luxurious SUVS. But none do everything like an LX.
Basically, whatever you need, the big Lexus has it covered.