2014 Lexus LX570 Review: Putting Japan's Plushest Luxury SUV to Work
In addition to living the fast life of an automotive journalist, I also run a horse stable and that gig provides me a great chance to put every test vehicle I get to work – literally. When I took delivery of the 2014 Lexus LX570, I was pleased to see that it had a tow hitch setup so, like all trucks and SUVs that I test, I would be able to truly see how much utility it offered. I was stunned to learn that the LX570 had no problem performing the same tasks as my half ton pickup and I did so with a level of luxury that is nearly unrivaled in this price class of SUVs.
Speaking of price class, that is the only downside with the 2014 Lexus LX570 as, with a price as tested of $88,555 – it is one of the most expensive luxury SUVs options on the market – so I imagine that very few people will buy this SUV with the intent of putting it to work, but it should be stressed that this Japanese luxury CAN do much of the same work as a half-ton pickup while still offering true premium luxury throughout the entire cabin. My test vehicle had a base price of $81,780 while the rear seat entertainment package ($2,005), the Luxury Package ($1,510), the incredible Mark Levinson Sound System package with 19 speakers ($2,350) and the destination fee ($910) brought the total price to $88,555. Again, it’s expensive; but it’s worth every cent if you want a true, premium luxury SUV.
The 2014 Lexus LX570 is a big, bold sport utility vehicle that is wrapped nicely in the current design language that has made the modern Lexus lineup so good and so good looking. While I have no doubt that there are people out there who don’t like the striking styling of the Lexus brand, I am a big fan. This starts up front with the biggest application of the Lexus “spindle” grille design with a big, bright grille that dominates the face of this full sized SUV with thick chrome bars running across the upper portion and thinner chrome strips filling the lower fascia opening. The foglights and headlight bezels are all chromed out for the proper luxury feel, which is accentuated by the HID projection headlights that are trimmed by LED driving lights. I really like the Lexus LED driving light design and I think that the look of the lineup fits the LX570 as well as it does any other model.
Along the sides, the Lexus LX570 is one of the last of the big, boxy SUVs and I am saying that in a very good way. This is how a large SUV should be shaped, with plenty of headroom and cargo space inside thanks to the long, level roofline. All four doors are very large for easy access to all of the seating positions and like a proper luxury SUV, there is a quick touch of chrome around the windows, on the door handles and along the body line. The LX570 also comes with molded running boards that make getting in and out easier for folks of smaller stature…which is important for such a high riding SUV.
Out back, the 2014 Lexus LX570 has LED taillights that have become familiar across the entire brand and I’m glad, as I really like the look of these taillights on all of the new Lexus products. In addition to the high tech taillights, the back end has lots and lots of chrome, but more importantly, it has a massive rear door that allows for easy loading of larger objects and with a relatively low bumper, shorter people won’t have a hard time getting things in and out of the cargo area.
The 2014 Lexus LX570 is a premium luxury SUV and that is very apparent as soon as you climb inside; and that is true whether you are in the front seats or the rear seats. I believe that this was one of the most heavily equipped vehicles I’ve ever tested and I will try to touch on everything…as the this package is greater than the sum of its parts simply because there is so much packed into this big, brawny SUV.
First up, the seats of the 2014 LX570. It is technically a 7-passenger vehicle with 2 up front in the plush bucket seats (heated and cooled), the 3 middle row seats (outboard positions heated) and 2 in the third row. As mentioned above, the long roofline of the LX570 allows for a whole lot of headroom for even very tall drivers and passengers and provided that you are sitting in the front or second row outboard positions, you will have ample legroom, shoulder room and everything else as well. The third row is a bit tight for even average sized adults in terms of legroom, but those with short legs should find the third tow comfortable. Realistically, the interior of the LX570 will very comfortably accommodate four very tall adults for a trip from Detroit to Vegas…or to get a husband, wife, 2 kids and 2 of their friends to the beach house for the weekend. Also, if you are driving to Vegas or the beach house, the refrigerator under the front center armrest can keep a bunch of drinks ice cold.
Those folks sitting in the second row will enjoy their own climate zone and the rear seat entertainment package that includes two seats of headphones – or you can play the sound through the Mark Levinson 19 speaker sound system. Every time I have a test vehicle with a Levinson sound system, I fall a little more in love with the quality and pure power of these speaker systems. This system booms with crystal clear quality to incredibly high volume levels. This system can put many aftermarket systems to shame. This system is one that every single LX570 buyer should pick…don’t let that price tag scare you…it’s worth it.
In terms of technology, the 2014 Lexus LX570 is just as impressive as it is in terms of comfort of spaciousness. In addition to the Mark Levinson sound system and the dual screen rear seat entertainment system, the LX570 has a big, bright touch screen that allows the driver and front passenger easy access to adjust pretty much anything inside – from the entertainment system to the sound system to the climate control system to the navigation system. There is also a row of mode buttons that work with the touch screen along with a small panel to adjust the front two climate zones and a small area with two knobs and a couple buttons to adjust some parameters of the sound system.
Further down the console, the 2014 Lexus LX570 has pop-out knobs for the heated and cooled front seats and a small storage area (where I stuck my phone while driving) before flowing into the center shift console. Here, you will find the leather wrapped and chrome trimmed shifter, a hideaway area with USB ports and a cool panel of switches that allow easy access to control the four wheel drive high/low modes, the five different crawling speeds, the adjustable ride height and the adjustable suspension setup.
The leather wrapped-and-wood covered steering wheel is heated and it also has a collection of buttons that allow the driver to quickly access the voice control system, the hands-free phone system and some simple radio controls without taking your hands off of the wheel. Beyond that sexy steering wheel is a very traditional gauge cluster that isn’t fancy, but it provides all of the information that a driver needs without any learning curve.
The 2014 Lexus LX570 cabin certainly looks the part of a proper luxury SUV with soft, plush leather pretty much everywhere and all of the things that are covered in soft leather are some sort of high tech entertainment gadget. With tons of space, super comfortable seats and every bit of luxury technology right down to a refrigerator, the Lexus LX570 has one of the most impressive passenger compartments on the market today.
As you might expect, the 2014 Lexus LX570 has a beautifully smooth and quiet ride whether you are puttering around town or cruising the rough highways of Metro Detroit. With the windows up and the sunroof closed, this is one of the quietest cabins I have experienced and part of that is the adjustable damper system that allows you to set the suspension stiffness to Sport, Normal or Comfort. Realistically, I don’t know that I would ever call the ride of the LX570 sporty as it is a big, lumbering SUV – but in Comfort mode, it is easily one of the most comfortable vehicles I’ve been in regardless of the road surface. I found that the Sport suspension setting felt a bit more stable and confident while towing as it was a bit stiffer, but I didn’t notice a huge difference in handing. Mind you, the LX570 handles nicely for a big, brawny SUV…but it is still obviously a big, brawny SUV. If you are looking for an SUV to carve canyons, this probably isn’t your dream vehicle, but that information should be common sense.
In short, under normal driving circumstances, the 2014 Lexus LX570 is as smooth, quiet and comfortable as you could want a big luxury SUV to be. I was also very happy with how the LX570 handled on some of the local unpaved roads after a hard rainstorm. These “natural beauty roads” get very sloppy after heavy rains and that slop offers me a chance to see how a four wheel drive vehicle handles itself on rough, muddy roads. The LX570 has adjustable low speed ride height controls, adjustable four wheel drive crawl speeds and an electric locking differential so it could probably handle some pretty serious offroading…but how many people are really going to buy an $88k Lexus SUV offroading? Probably not very many…but in some of the worst road conditions on roads that would destroy a compact sedan, the Lexus LX570 had no issues conquering the deep mud or the rough terrain.
Now for the good stuff. As part of my weekly routines, I went to pick up about a thousand pounds of bagged horse grain and instead of taking the normal Ford F350 Super Duty or my modified Ram 1500 – I took the Lexus LX570. With the third row of seats in their useful position, there is a whole lot of rear cargo space, but when you fold those rear seats up and to the sides with the push of a button, there is a huge cargo area that allowed us to easily load the bags of grain into the back of the big Lexus. Also, once that grain was loaded up, the automatic load leveling suspension engaged and brought the back end of the LX570 to the proper ride height – affording it the same level of ride quality when carry a thousand pounds of weight as it does when empty.
Thanks to the 5.7L V8 with 383 horsepower and 403lb-ft of torque, the 2014 Lexus LX570 is surprisingly quick when unloaded, but even with a thousand pounds of ballast loaded into the back, it has no issues keeping up with even quicker moving traffic. I was really very impressed with how well it handled that weight in terms of handling, ride quality, acceleration and braking.
After the Lexus LX570 passed the hauling test with flying colors, it was time to hook up the 5,000lb horse trailer to see how the big luxury SUV towed. It has a towing rating of 7,000lbs, but the trailer that I use for all of my standardized vehicle testing is a smaller, 2 horse trailer. The hitch assembly is tucked under a portion of the rear body cladding that pops off easily, allowing easy access to the hitch and wiring plug.
I have towed my horse trailer with a great many SUVs and other than the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT and the Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel, I cannot think of any SUV that handled the horse trailer as well as the Lexus LX570. All of that power from the 5.7L V8 that makes this a fairly quick SUV allows the LX570 to pull the trailer without really breaking a sweat. Mind you, when towing a horse trailer (or any trailer with living beings in the back), you are never accelerating hard, but the LX570 had no issues pulling away from a stop as quickly as possible for the situation. Some SUVs struggle to accelerate with the trailer – this big Lexus is not one of them. The big V8 also allows the LX570 to get up to cruising speed on the highway with the trailer, again without a whole lot of effort. I feel that pickups with longer wheelbases offer more towing stability than a shorter wheelbase SUV, but as SUVs go, this Lexus is one of the more stable while towing. Overall, regardless of the situation with towing around town, on unpaved roads and on the highway at higher speeds – this is one of the most impressive SUVs I have tested in terms of towing.
Again, I understand that not many 2014 Lexus LX570 owners spend much time towing a 5,000lb trailer or hauling a thousand pounds of anything, but for someone who does occasionally use their SUV like a truck – the Lexus LX570 answers the call with confidence. It offers great power and acceleration, a smooth, quiet ride for a large, high riding SUV and it can pull some pretty serious weight without compromising any ride quality. This is a premium luxury SUV that offers the same premium experience whether you are driving the kids to hockey practice or driving the kids to a horse show on the weekend with the horse in tow.
The Final Word
If you want a premium luxury sport utility vehicle that checks pretty much every box imaginable, the 2014 Lexus LX570 is one of the best options on the market as it can be had at a bargain compared to some European luxury SUVs. The LX570 has a super-premium interior design that is hard to match with as much comfort level and high end technology as anything on the market. This is a vehicle that makes sitting in rush hour traffic pleasant because the seats are awesome, the sound system is just plain incredible and the rear entertainment system with wireless headphones can keep the little ones occupied in the back. More importantly, it packs big power for a strong driving experience even when loaded with cargo or hooked to a trailer along with providing a beautifully smooth ride in any condition – including a confident ride when handling rough, muddy roads.
The Lexus LX570 combines all of the comforts and luxuries of a proper premium luxury SUV, but it also offers capabilities comparable to a work ready pickup truck. If you want a true luxury SUV with pretty much every option that you can imagine while still being able to haul some weight and tow a pretty good sized trailer – this could be the ideal vehicle for you.