Official Photos and Info
With only one refresh since its last major makeover for 2008, Lexus’s LX570 SUV was ripe for updates. The problem, if you can call it one, is that people genuinely liked it the way it was. Sharing its sturdy and capable underpinnings with the Toyota Land Cruiser and offering opulent interior furnishings with a comparatively demure exterior, it’s truly a luxury SUV. But while the LX was busy holding its ground, competitors like the Mercedes-Benz GL-class, the Land Rover Range Rover, and the Cadillac Escalade were hard at work, developing new engines and transmissions, entering new generations, and getting sassier aesthetics. It was time.
Of the sheetmetal, Lexus says only the exterior door skins carry over, but this doesn’t make for a radical departure from the current model. That’s not to say the stylists haven’t done a good job of tucking and toning, but there are limits to what you can do with what’s essentially a couple of boxes. The revised front fascia is pinched in dramatically and wears standard LED headlamps, fog lamps, and turn indicators. The blocky, soft-edged lighting elements of the previous model are gone in favor of angular, tightly creased units that echo the more aggressive spindle grille treatment. The rear lamps and bumper also get tweaked, while the D-pillar is completely new and adds a small kink to the lower corner of the rearmost side glass. New 20-inch, split-10-spoke wheels come standard with the makeover, but 21-inch 10-spoke rollers are on offer.
As with the exterior, the 2016 LX570’s powertrain is a mix of old and new. Power comes from the same 383-hp 5.7-liter V-8 as before, but Lexus has wisely ditched the six-speed automatic for an eight-speed unit. (Here’s hoping the two additional cogs improve on the dismal 13 mpg we measured in our instrumented test of a 2015 LX570.) The V-8 is a proven engine, but one wonders if goosing it a little might have paid some dividends. Although we can’t imagine Lexus cooking up genuine über-SUV performance from an LX F model as long as the LX570 is still riding on its ancient body-on-frame platform, a little extra scoot would be welcome. Lexus aficionados will recognize the Drive Mode Select system, which allows the driver to choose from four modes that tailor the suspension and powertrain response via a dial on the console. Eco focuses on saving fuel and dials back the A/C for increased efficiency; Comfort sets up the carry-over Adaptive Variable Suspension for a smooth ride; Sport heightens powertrain response and dials back the steering assist; Sport+ firms up the suspension for maximum agility, although only God knows why you’re buying an LX if agility is among your priorities.
As expected, Lexus didn’t skimp when it came time to bestow the LX570 with new safety, convenience, and connectivity features. To assist in parking, hooking up a trailer, or navigating tight spaces, a standard panoramic camera setup offers rear, front, and side views (viewed singularly or in several combinations) on a new, larger 12.3-inch screen. On the safety front, the Lexus Pre-Collision System (PCS) incorporates pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, and radar cruise control into a suite of features all aimed at taking the responsibility out of vehicle control. When in use, the radar cruise control can first notify the driver of an impending collision and then take autonomous braking action if needed. Blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert are also standard; a head-up display is optional.
Additions to the LX’s already-luxe interior include four new wood-trim selections—Matte Walnut, Linear Dark Mocha, Linear Espresso, and Dark Brown Walnut—all complemented by the new wood-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel. A new analog clock rests in an aluminum surround and packs the requisite modern touches by featuring LED hands and markers as well as GPS-regulated time-change functionality.
New for 2015 was the integration of Apple’s Siri Eyes Free tech, which lets occupants access iTunes, Apple Maps (with turn-by-turn navigation), and more via voice through the Siri digital assistant. Tunes roll forth from your choice of either AM/FM/satellite/HD radio, CD, Bluetooth, iTunes, or USB, and play through a nine-speaker Lexus Premium Audio system. Buyers wishing to get their gonzo on can spring for the 450-watt, 19-speaker Mark Levinson system.
Although the changes to the LX570 can hardly be considered radical, they address areas where the previous model was deficient, namely technology. Will it be enough to lure in new buyers? Not likely. But it’s enough to keep current customers who already know what they like from straying.