Last week, I reviewed the trail-crushing, summit-cresting unstoppable force of nature that is the Toyota Land Cruiser. Used by the UN, dozens of emergency services and militias across the globe, it's the battle-scared truck that doesn't need to explain itself.
And this is its brother, the Lexus LX 570. Built on the same structure and powered by the same engine, the Land Cruiser and LX 570 are the least-differentiated siblings in the Toyota-Lexus clan. While the LX 570 is charming and fun in all the same ways as the Land Cruiser, a week with it didn't convince me that it was worth the price premium.
The Lexus LX 570 takes the incredibly-insulated Land Cruiser and adds a luxurious glaze to it, shutting out even more noise and vibration. Close the doors, and you've created what feels like a force field between you and the peasants who don't have $93,350 to blow on a Lexus equipped like this one.
You're also getting a cabin that looks much more upscale than the Land Cruiser, with a massive screen dominating the stack. Buttons are all high-quality, glossy plastics without the utilitarian focus of the Land Cruiser. Plus, Lexus' fantastic Mark Levinson audio system is on offer, a fantastic sound system that'll blow the doors of the JBL unit in the Land Cruiser.
Oh, and that's the biggest distinction: packages. While the Land Cruiser has effectively one option, you can choose a few different specs of LX 570. You don't have to pay for premium audio if you don't want it, while you can get a standalone head-up display. You should absolutely forgo the $2,005 rear-seat DVD players, but otherwise pick and choose as you please. You can even save some money on a two-row version.
That might be a good idea, too. The first two rows of the LX 570 are great, but the lack of fold-flat rear seats mean the third row ends up in the way on occasion. If you're not planning to actually use that row, I'd definitely suggest saving a lot of money — around $5,000 — and getting it out of the way.
And since we're talking about spec, I have to acknowledge that the Nighfall Mica blue paint is gorgeous. The LX 570 as a whole is a controversial design to say the least, but a rich color like this certainly smooths over some of the bumps.
Speaking of which, the LX 570 smooths over real-life bumps similarly to the Land Cruiser. On the road, there really isn't much to separate the driving experiences. It's still comfortable and capable, if a bit bouncy and lumbering.
That, of course, in service of its greater goal as an offroad tour de force. Just like the Land Cruiser, the LX 570 is fitted with locking differentials, a real four-wheel-drive system and a slew of electronic aids to make conquering any terrain a cinch. The glitzy chin might make you think it's only fit for suburban duty, but the LX 570 is every bit the real deal when the going gets rough.
Like with the Land Cruiser, the fuel economy of the LX 570 is almost unmanageably bad. My average hovered around 14 miles per gallon.
One new complaint for the LX 570 is the infotainment, which is once again a complicated mouse-based example of how to confuse and irritate your customers. It's not appreciated in the $35,000 IS, but at $93,350 it's downright ridiculous.
The Land Cruiser is already expensive, but this starts off $5,000 dearer and doesn't even include everything the Land Cruiser comes standard with. For $8,000 more, my tester still lacked the cooled seats and upgraded audio system that the standard Land Cruiser comes with.
If the LX 570 was massively more refined you could make a case, but the base Land Cruiser is so well built and heavily optioned that it makes the Lexus look exorbitant.
I'm not quite sure who buys the LX 570. If you want a hard-charging brute that can take on the harshest climates of the world, I'd imagine you'd want the Land Cruiser name on the trunk lid. Plus, you'd want the more utilitarian interior of the Toyota because it's better for longevity and durability.
If you're not ever going to leave the pavement and don't plan to keep your car for over a decade, don'y but the Lexus LX 570 or the Land Cruiser. These cars aren't for you. If, however, you do want longevity and you do want to take your car off road, then you should just buy the Land Cruiser.
Exterior: 2 stars
Interior: 3.5 stars
Driving Experience: 3 stars
Value: 1 star
Overall: 2.5 stars
Price as tested: $93,350