We know the Japanese know how to build production cars efficiently, all without sacrificing quality, reliability, and consistency. That is the pride they take in their work. Now imagine that same pride of craftsmanship when applied to a luxury automobile.
That's the way of the 2016 Lexus LX570; an SUV that has transcended itself so far above its predecessor and its brother in the Toyota line: the LC200.
By all accounts, the LX570 isn't totally new, but it sure looks it. Lexus gave the LX their new look centered around a massive spindle grille. The design certainly is imposing, giving the LX a character befitting its status. All around the body Lexus's designers applied a bit of an edgy massage by adding a few more creases and character lines, including a revised rear quarter panel, a new tailgate and taillights with L-shaped LEDs.
Inside the changes are also quite profound, as Lexus saw fit to almost fully revamp it. The dashboard has been almost completely overhauled, as have been most of the controls. The center stack has been revised, utilizing smoother surfaces and buttons instead of the matte gray of before. The shifter now has a leather boot, while the controls for the suspension and 4x4 system have been upgraded. There is now a massive central screen for all the LX's pertinent functions, and it's controlled via a variable hat switch kind of control system, and there are huge screens behind the front seats for the rear passengers.
Like before, the LX is a three row SUV. All seats can be controlled and adjusted electrically, including the way the third row folds and stows away. Really, however, the brown leather and the plushness of the cushioning are so inviting that it makes me wish I was riding instead of driving.
This three-tonne SUV ceratinly knows how to move, thanks to a 5.7 liter gas V8 engine behind that colossal grille. The 366 PS engine is certainly powerful, and is well matched with an 8-speed automatic. Do take note that the LX does like to drink quite a bit of gasoline. In the city, the LX570 was averaging 4.7 km/l in moderate traffic (20 km/h average), and on the highway with a cruising speed of 85 km/h, it improves to 10.1 km/l with light traffic. Yes, the LX consumes quite a bit, but this really wasn't built for economy runs anyway; it's made for comfort, and luxury.
The adjustable suspension, in comfort mode, is incredibly pliant in the city over most -if not all- surfaces. Maneuvering a huge SUV like this is tough, but an array of sensors and strategically positioned fish-eye cameras (nose, wing mirrors) can make even the tightest parking spots or take-out driveways easy.
If you wish to go for speed, the suspension can be adjusted for extra stiffness and better handling. At full throttle, this heavy SUV can sprint to 100 in just 7.7 seconds and can even achieve 210 km/h. An array of tech and advanced 4x4 driving features -including a driver adjustable forward-backward crawl control system- give the LX excellent maneuverability in all conditions, but somehow I don't think the buyers of the LX will be taking it on a trail anytime soon.
Still, these features can certainly become useful, especially the air suspension that can elevate it above most obstacles in the way, especially the sporatic (but now more frequent) urban flash flood. The LX can also be lowered to get into parking buildings with low headroom, or for your grandparents' convenience.
Really, however, it's all about silence. Once those doors are closed, you'd be forgiven for being oblivious to the noisy world around. The noise of open exhaust motorcycles seem to fade into the distance, all while you enjoy the opulence of an interior where detail is everything, and luxury is all around.
The price, thanks to a free trade agreement with Japan that favors vehicles with engines displacing 3,001cc of displacement or more, the LX570 comes in at PhP 7,648,000. It sounds like a steep price to pay, but do take note that very few vehicles can match it in terms of equipment and features. And it's actually an 8-seater (2-3-3), though I doubt if the third row will be occupied most of the time.
Before, many saw the LX as just an upgraded LC, but I beg to differ. I like the upgrades that Lexus has made to the LX570, changes that have really made it come into its own: a fitting flagship SUV for Japan's premiere luxury automotive marque.