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  • 2009 Lexus LX 570

    Posted on July 22nd, 2009 ninarussin

    Full-sized sport-utility vehicle with enhanced off-road and safety features

    By Nina Russin

    2009 Lexus LX 570

    2009 Lexus LX 570

    The LX is Lexus’ full-sized sport-utility vehicle, with seating for up to eight passengers, and 8500 pound towing capacity. The current model, introduced last year, improves on the original LX 470 with a larger, more powerful V8 engine, enhanced off-road and safety technology.

    Powerful 5.7-liter engine

    The 383-horsepower V8 engine is 42 percent more powerful than the 4.7-liter V8 on the outgoing model: 403 foot-pounds of torque makes the LX extremely capable in off-road situations, and gives the SUV surprisingly good low-end acceleration.

    Making six thousand pounds of sheet metal accelerate from zero-to-sixty in 7.4 seconds is a feat worthy of respect. The trade-off is lackluster fuel economy: about 14 miles-per-gallon on average.

    Fortunately, the six-speed automatic transmission gives the car reasonable gas mileage on the highway: about 18 mpg. The LX can cruise along flat roads at 75 miles-per-hour and rarely rev above 2000 rpm.

    Fans of Lexus passenger cars will appreciate similar performance from the LX, notable for its compliant suspension, and quiet interior. Despite its two box architecture, there is no noticeable wind noise around the windshield or side mirrors. Mud and snow tires on standard 20-inch wheels produce very little road noise.

    Interior versatility makes the LX ideal for active families. Third-row seats fold away to the sides of the truck, while the second-row seats fold forward. Power buttons in the cargo area fold the seats flat, saving time and potential back strain. Not only does the LX meet our bicycle-friendly standards: it can carry an entire camp site in the cargo bay.

    Lexus LX 570

    Lexus LX 570

    Full-time four-wheel drive with enhanced crawl technology gives the LX similar off-road capability to the Toyota Land Cruiser. A two-speed transfer case provides extreme low gears for uneven trails. A new frame design allowed engineers to increase front wheel travel to nine inches.

    Active ride control automatically lowers the vehicle two inches when the driver switches off the ignition for easier access and egress. When the driver shifts the transfer case into the low range, the system raises the car three inches above normal driving height, giving the LX close to 12-inches of ground clearance.

    Designers kept standard running boards: a feature that can be more of a liability than a benefit off-road. I suppose anyone who can afford a $76,000 vehicle can pay to replace its running boards when they get knocked off on the trail.

    Sporty on-road performance

    Familiar as I am with Lexus products, I was still impressed with how well the full-sized LX 570 handled at speed. All models come with adaptive variable suspension, which automatically adjusts the shock absorber damping force according to driving conditions.

    Drivers can choose from three settings: the middle position provides a good compromise between harshness and stability. Its mass gives the LX a rather soft on-center feel. Drivers won’t have problems making the occasional quick lane change, but they will feel the weight transfer.

    Its large wheels give the LX a big footprint, which compensates for its weight and high center of gravity. Braking is exceptional, thanks to large vented rotors on all four wheels.

    The more powerful engine translates to excellent acceleration in the twenty-to-fifty mph range, making it easy to merge into high-speed traffic. Emergency evasive maneuvers and passing slower vehicles at speed is a non-issue.

    Visibility to the front is quite good. I noticed some blind spots in the back corners, especially when changing lanes on the freeway. Parking is quite easy, thanks to a rearview camera, and Lexus’ wide view front and side monitor system.

    Luxurious interior

    Lexus LX 570 Interior

    Lexus LX 570 Interior

    Inside, the LX 570 offers all the comforts of home. A Mark Levinson audio upgrade on the test car ($3300) produces sound quality comparable to high-end in-home systems. Optional Lexus Link ($900) connects the driver with emergency response services.

    Three-position driver’s seat memory allows multiple family members to share the car. Redundant steering wheel controls include the audio system, digital display, and dynamic radar cruise control, that allows the driver to preset a following distance from the vehicle in front.

    Two armrests move fore and aft with the front seats. Underneath, an optional cool box keeps drinks cold in the summer.

    Engineers used analogue gauges for oil pressure, temperature and the charging system: a more accurate alternative to trouble lights. The large speedometer and tachometer are easy to read in any light.

    The center console includes controls for the two-speed transfer case, vehicle height, adaptive suspension and dynamic radar cruise control. All are within easy reach of the driver and front passenger.

    Audio, navigation and dual front climate controls on the center stack function intuitively. The large navigation screen also serves as an information center and display for the backup camera.

    A gated shift lever includes manual gear selection for off-road driving. Driver’s can opt for second-gear start-up on slick roads, or a power mode that holds gears longer for enhanced performance.

    There are two, 12-volt power points: in the center console and on the center stack. The auxiliary port is located in the center console.

    A large, locking glovebox has a separate shelf for the owner’s manual and other documents. An overhead console includes a sunglass holder, Lexus Link controls, controls for the power moonroof and two reading lamps.

    All four doors have bottle holders: all passengers also have access to cupholders. Second-row passengers get seat heaters and separate dual-zone climate controls. Four ceiling vents keep the back of the cabin comfortable.

    Because there is no floor tunnel, three can be comfortable in the second row. An optional rear seat entertainment system is part of the audio upgrade.

    The power tailgate opens up in a clamshell pattern. All models come with a tow hitch and standard roof rails.

    Standard safety

    All models come with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, electronic stability and traction control. Other standard safety features include daytime running lamps, fog lamps, a rear wiper and rain-sensing front wipers.

    An option package on the test car adds pre-collision, that primes the brakes and tightens the seatbelts if a collision is imminent. The option also adds the dynamic laser cruise control.

    Base price for the LX 570 is $75,705, not including a $825 delivery charge. The newest LX is on display at Lexus dealerships nationwide.

    Likes: A full-sized sport-utility vehicle with exceptional cargo and towing capacity, and segment leading safety. The LX is capable of traversing extreme off-road terrain, with on-road performance comparable to a luxury sedan.

    Dislikes: Blind spots to the rear corners. Poor fuel economy.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Lexus
    Model: LX 570
    Year: 2009
    Base price: $ 75,705
    As tested: $88,660
    Horsepower: 383 Hp @ 5600 rpm
    Torque: 403 lbs.-ft. @ 3600 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: 7.4 seconds
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: Standard
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Off-road: Yes
    Towing: Yes
    Fuel economy: 12/18 mpg city/highway
    Comments: The manufacturer recommends using premium fuel.

     

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