How The 2014 Lexus LX 570 Justifies Its Existence (And Price Tag)

Front 3/4 view of the 2014 Lexus LX 570
The 2014 Lexus LX 570.
Let's cite one good thing about the economic shakeup of the past five years:  It chased the me-toos out of the luxury SUV game.  Manufacturers who had no business blinging up enclosed trucks and selling them for inflated prices found the well running dry fast.  The action in luxury sport-utes returned to those who could play the game without breaking a sweat...the buyers who had significant bank, and the manufacturers who could deliver a high-quality product that justifies the price.

And that's pretty much a class of three.

Rear 3/4 view of the 2014 Lexus LX 570
The 2014 Lexus LX 570.
Let's face it, the Lincoln Navigator is borderline prehistoric. The Cadillac Escalade?  Well, it's not dead, but find me someone who isn't waiting for the next-gen 2015 to see how they did. Infiniti's QX56 has been a dark horse from the word go.  No, when it comes to big, full size, full-lux SUVs, you're talking the Range Rover, the Mercedes-Benz GL and the Lexus LX 570.

And if you want your luxury with unshakable, utter and complete reliability...that gets you down to the Lexus.

The LX 570 is based on the Toyota Land Cruiser, vehicle of choice for expeditions around the world.  Rugged doesn't even begin to describe it.  I'll repeat (not for the first time) the late David E. Davis, Jr.'s quote: "It will climb a tree if you're brave enough."

The Land Cruiser has been luxed-up for consumers in North America.  The LX 570 takes that as far as technology and taste will allow.

Interior of the 2014 Lexus LX 570

We got our week in one via special request.  I needed to get myself and six other people in one vehicle for a 240-mile round-trip run to San Francisco and back to Folsom (suburban Sacramento) in one day. The good folks at Allison + Partners, who manage the Lexus press fleet, offered up the LX 570.

Putting seven people in any vehicle is usually a recipe for some disomfort and complaint, especially if there are kids involved.  But all I heard the entire trip was how cool, beautiful, wonderful and comfortable the LX 570 was. And they didn't even take advantage of the rear-seat entertainment system.  They were too busy marveling at the semi-aniline leather-trimmed interior, and the rest of the goodies that came with the $1510 Luxury Package...including the center console "cool box", a refrigerator to keep your cold drinks or food nice and cold while on the road.

2014 Lexus LX 570 instrument panel
2014 Lexus LX 570 Instrument Panel.

It's hard to imagine a nicer place to be than in the front row.  I mean, just look at the picture above.  

No, that kind of atmosphere doesn't come cheap, but given what comes standard (go here for the list), the base price of $81,780 is not unreasonable.  And it's fully in line with Range Rover and the Mercedes GL 550.  Ours also had the rear-seat entertainment system ($2005), a 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system with both DVD-Audio and DVD video ($2350), and intuitive park assist ($1000). 

Bottom line: $89,555.  A delight on the freeway between cities, and maneuverable and serene in the narrow, packed and unpredictable streets of San Francisco.  Mileage?  The EPA says 12 city/17 highway....and on the run to SF and back, I saw 16.8.  21 years ago, I had a Suburban that couldn't quite do that.   

At the end of the 11-hour run (there was a four-hour concert in the city, and a three-hour wait to get in), everyone arrived refreshed and ache-free. Not many vehicles can make seven people feel that good .  But that is probably the best definition of luxury, and the Lexus LX 570 aces it.