Body-on-frame SUVs like the 2019 Lexus LX 570 might have ruled the market a couple decades ago, but the old-school form factor has given way to smaller, more efficient car-based crossovers. That said, there's still a big market for models like this. Just take a look at the success of the Toyota 4Runner or other luxury SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade or the Ford F-150-based Lincoln Navigator. Crossovers may be more popular, but nothing beats an old-school SUV's chops when it comes to going off-road or towing big cargo.
The Lexus LX is available in two flavors: a five-passenger two-row model and a seven-passenger three-row model. We had a chance to drive both, the first in Michigan and the latter in Oregon. There's a $5,000 difference between the base price on the two models. Both models had the $1,190 Luxury Package (upgraded leather, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second row and LX puddle lights). The three-row came with quite a few more options, including a heads-up display, a cool box in the console, a Mark Levinson audio system and a dual-screen rear entertainment system. All in, our two-row tester came out to $88,195 while the three-row would set you back $99,710.
Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: I like the design of the LX, and I can even overlook the giant spindle grille. I love the behemoth's boxy proportions, rounded out just ever so slightly, though I do think Toyota's version looks even better, and the Lincoln's Navigator even better yet. Inside, the LX is comfortable and roomy, with really nice materials everywhere you look and touch. It's still got that mousey Remote Touch interface for the infotainment system, though, which leaves much to be desired.
On the road, I noticed immediately that I like its adaptive air suspension is better than the more conventional setup in the Toyota Land Cruiser. It's just slightly less eager to see-saw when coming to a measured stop. Coming to a measured stop, though, is the problem. The brakes in this thing are super touchy, like an on/off switch. It makes every stop feel like an emergency, whether you mean to or not. Then, no amount of suspension tuning can keep a beast like this from taking a nosedive. The amount of concentration it takes to keep this thing from panicking any time you use the brakes is mentally exhausting over time. I'm just glad I didn't have anyone in the passenger seat.
Lastly, this thing guzzles premium fuel. I guess if you're spending the $88k our tester costs, you might not care about the price you pay at the pump. Or maybe you do at that price. It's gotta be at least a little bit painful to know that your Lexus gets the same 13/15 city/hwy fuel economy as the Mercedes-AMG G 63, especially when you could have had that gorgeous, more efficient (16/23 mpg) and more powerful (450 hp/510 lb-ft) Lincoln Navigator for the same price you paid for your Lexus.
Assistant Editor Zac Palmer: It's not easy to justify buying a Lexus LX 570. The SUV literally weighs three tons. Google tells me that the LX 570 is equivalent to the average African forest elephant. Perhaps that's something to be proud of, since it appears to be the smallest of three species of elephants currently in existence. "Congrats," your friends will tell you, "Your car is only as heavy as the smallest version of the heaviest land animal on Earth."
The Lexus does nothing to hide its elephant-like agility in the driving experience either. Steering is comically high-effort at low speeds, and it dips and dives like a professional boxer. If you didn't know 6,000 pounds were along for the ride, you'd think there was an engine much smaller than the 5.7-liter V8 sitting under the hood.
The 2019 LX570 is a fun, rugged dinosaur to drive, but that grille has not gotten better with age. @therealautoblog pic.twitter.com/w8tIC4DkZc — Zac Palmer (@zacpalmerr) March 13, 2019
Then there's the question of utility. Our tester was the five-seat version. Even with those seats down, there's far less space for your stuff than the footprint of the truck suggests. Competitors roundly wallop the Lexus-ised Land Cruiser in this department, and even the smaller Toyota 4Runner — based on the global Land Cruiser Prado — has better cargo numbers.
What I'm getting at here with these points, is that the LX 570 is never a practical choice. It's an emotional one for somebody who wants to drive a cool, off-road vehicle that's heavy on the luxury. Body-on-frame, dinosaur SUV dynamics are fun in a novel way, in that it rails hard against the trend of making every crossover feel more like a car with each new iteration. This Lexus isn't pretending or faking it. You could get out there and go overlanding in one of the most well-built and tested chassis on the market, or you could get above average gas mileage and fade into the rest of the crowd with a run-of-the-mill compact crossover. The choice is not easy ...