2009 Lexus LX 570

Utility meets civility

2009 Lexus LX 570

For the record, I am not traditionally an advocate of SUVs, despite being all-too-familiar with driving them. Unlike some people who are intimidated by the sheer amount of atmosphere they displace, I am no stranger to size as I learned to drive in a Chevrolet Suburban without apprehension or incident. However, I find that their imposing proportions mean that they often take far longer to accelerate, brake, turn and most importantly fill with gas than I would prefer. Only during a few exceptionally bad snowstorms in my life have I enjoyed the safety, security and utility of an SUV, which is hardly reason enough to buy one myself. This is precisely why I was so surprised that the Lexus LX570 won me over, and as quickly as it did.

AN SUV THAT REALLY “CROSSES-OVER”

FAST FACTS

1. The LX570 is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 with 383hp and 403 ft-lbs of torque.

2. All that power makes for an impressive towing capacity of 8,500-lbs.

3. It may weight 5,995-lbs, but it can hit 60 mph in 7 seconds.

4. Fuel economy is just 12-mpg city and 18-mpg highway.

The largest shortcoming of most SUVs is that they undoubtedly attempt to bridge the gap between city civility and off-road capability, inevitably compromising both and succeeding entirely with neither. While this makes most SUV models a Jack-of-all-trades but master of none, the LX570 is an exception to this rule.

Equally comfortable at the hunt camp as it is at the country club, the LX is equipped with a lofty ground clearance complete with Active Height Control Suspension, Downhill Assist Control (DAC) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), multi-terrain ABS and a low 4×4 gear for negotiating steep grades or unstable terrain. While most SUVs are too rough and rugged in the city to be comfortable and too refined to be useful off road, the LX570 is equipped with enough technology to make it ideal equipment pretty much anywhere. Adjustable ride height and settings for Sport, Normal or Snow add to this versatility.

Within the confines of the LX’s interior, it is surprising that such a seemingly luxurious vehicle would be as capable as it is comfortable. From the fine wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel, soft yet supportive heated and air-conditioned leather seats, to the Mark Levinson 450-watt sound system, this surely ain’t Billy Bob’s 4×4.

5.7-LITER V8-ENGINE DELIVERS PERFORMANCE AND TOWING CAPABILITY

Despite the fact that the LX570 is a luxury SUV of immense proportions, it felt smooth and sprightly which is no small task considering the fact that it tips the scales at 5,995 lbs. Needless to say, that rear view backup camera sure came in handy!

Thanks to the 5.7-liter V8 that churns out 383hp and 403 ft-lbs of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control, the LX570 springs from the starting gates hitting 60 mph in just over 7 seconds. Not only does all that power allow it to merge and pass almost effortlessly at lofty highway speeds, but it is also capable of towing up to 8,500 lbs, which is roughly the weight of a loaded 28 foot Bayliner. You may not want to delegate your brand new $75,855 luxury SUV to weekend trailer duty, but it’s nice to know you have that option, if only to brag about to your buddies.

With braking that is surprisingly responsive without being abrupt, the LX comes to a standstill far quicker and with less commotion than physics would suggest. Fuel economy will obviously vary, especially when towing, but the EPA fuel economy estimates on the LX are 12 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. All that power, comfort and technology must have a downside, right?

Safety is of paramount concern in the LX570 with a long list of features including anti-lock brakes, front-seat side airbags and stability control are combined with the likes of front-seat knee airbags, second-row side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, active front headrests and the optional Lexus Pre-Collision System.

THE COMPETITION

Essentially the upgraded Lexus version of the iconic Toyota Land Cruiser which is known around the world for its rugged versatility and reliability, the 570 places its priorities on luxury, comfort and style since those who own them are more likely to use a valet than a Sherpa. Competitors like Range Rover or Hummer may contend when it comes to off-road capabilities while the Porsche Cayenne and Mercedes-Benz GL may hold their own where around town civility is concerned, but none of the above match the versatility of the LX570.

After a total redesign last year, the 2009 Lexus LX570 remains mostly unchanged, aside from an optional Luxury Package, which adds unique 20-inch alloy wheels, upgraded leather and wood trim interior, a chilled center console bin and keyless ignition/entry.

 

Not only does the LX boast a host of standard features, but it also offers the ability to exceed the rugged and versatile prowess of its competitors by providing a truly lavish experience with convenient options like a 14-way-adjustable driver’s seat, Intuitive Parking Assist and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

THE VERDICT

For those looking at buying a “mid-size” SUV, which the LX570 claims to be, the consumer has a myriad of viable options depending on their vehicular needs and financial budget. For those who spend their weekends driving to the ski chalet in the winter and a house on the lake in the summer with a sporty family in tow, you would be hard-pressed to find a more suitable SUV that meets all of your needs.

PLUS

Sedan-like performance in an SUV
Typical luxurious Lexus interior
Rugged off-road capability

MINUS

Price tag
Hefty bills at the gas pumps
Probably overkill for what most people want or need

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