Toyota covers its bases by offering two full size SUVs that are a combination of luxury and ruggedness, albeit under two different brand names. For the adventurer, Toyota offers the Land Cruiser. For a family of road trippers, Lexus offers the LX 570.

Starting just a few thousand dollars more than the 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser, the 2016 Lexus LX 570 was delivered to my house fully equipped with a suggested MSRP of $97,665 (starting MSRP of $89,380) including delivery, processing and handling. Adding to the base price was the optional equipment of a wireless charger ($75), cool box ($170), heads-up display ($745), Luxury Package with heated/ventilated seats and a leather-trimmed interior among other features ($1,190), Mark Levinson audio system ($,2350), dual-screen DVD rear-seat entertainment ($2,005), heated dark walnut wood steering wheel ($150), and cargo accessories ($250).

What also comes standard is the LX 570’s extremely capable 5.7-liter V8 engine that adequately hauled the 6,000-pound, eight-passenger vehicle up hills, on beach roads, and for long stretches of highway driving during my two-week road trip with it. The eight-speed sequential shift automatic transmission helps propel the LX 570 with a smooth shifting experience and pick-up indicative of the SUV’s large size but not lagging thanks to its 383-horsepower and 403-lb.ft. of torque. The standard electronic throttle control with intelligence helps make the ride smooth while working to improve fuel economy and emissions behind the scenes.

Braking on the LX 570 was attentive and strong, though numb at first, perfectly relating to the size and weight of the vehicle the brakes were working to bring to a standstill.

On the outside, the LX 570 sports an updated appearance and shows off the luxury automaker’s evolving front-end look. With chrome accents and LED lighting, the LX 570 looks every bit the high-end SUV it is.

Before we hit the road, we had to do the one stress-inducing necessity of every road trip — pack the car. The LX 570 has a third row that fits children and smaller adults with ease, but thankfully, with two kids who generally don’t fight with each other joining us, we were able put them in the second row, stow the third row and use the space for luggage. The third row doesn’t store flat, but rather off to the sides of the vehicle, something detrimental to storage but understandable when you consider the LX 570’s off-road capabilities that it needs its height for.

We easily fit two large suitcases, more beach toys than we needed, a large box of gifts for the grandparents, and lap desks flat on the floor without impeding the view out the back windscreen. Because of the LX 570’s cool box, we didn’t need to pack a cooler. While I didn’t think I would care if the cooler box was there or not, it quickly became something I wished was in every vehicle I drive. Turning on the cool box cooled canned and bottled drinks from room temperature to refrigerator temperature quickly when the air conditioning was running, something that wasn’t a problem in July. When it wasn’t cooling, the cool box served as a cavernous storage space.

Over the course of a long distance haul on the highway, the LX 570 averaged 18 mpg and just over 13 mpg in city driving with numerous stops and starts along the way, right in line with EPA estimates. Though the LX 570 could easily be considered a gas-guzzler, its 24.6-gallon gas tank meant that we weren’t filling up often enough to make us feel that way. And, with gas still around $2 per gallon our vacation budget didn’t take much of a hit.

Inside, the LX 570 flaunts its Lexus DNA boasting a simplistic yet somehow busy center console set-up. Borrowing a bit of a design nod from the black plastic of the 2015 Infiniti Q50 interior, the LX center stack looks sophisticated and, while easily splashed by the drinks in the cup holders located directly in front of it, it is also easily cleaned.

In my opinion, the only seats more comfortable than Lexus seats are Nissan’s Zero Gravity Seats and the LX 570 is not an exception to that rule. The front row seating was plush and roomy offering plenty of adjustment options. When it came to the second row, the kids were initially disappointed that the LX 570 didn’t have reclining seats with footrests like the Toyota Sienna but were easily assuaged when they realized the second row reclined offering plenty of comfort and they each got their own controls for their own heated/cooled seat.

The second-row passengers also have control over the temperature of the second and third rows, should the front row choose to turn those controls over to them. They also can adjust vents in the second and third row. While extremely practical, the back two-thirds of the ventilation system produced a noisy flow of air in nearly all fan settings, no matter if the vents were completely or partially open or closed. It was, in a word, annoying.

A few times during the trip, we dared try to fit four adults and two tweens into the full size SUV, giving mixed results for those involved. The tweens weren’t able to easily get in or out the back seat thanks to a second row that sees only its top half of the seats move forward for easy in/out. Engaging the automatically forward sliding second row with the top half of the seats pitched forward almost immediately causes the seats to hit the second row entertainment screens.

The grandparents did not have the easiest time getting into the second row either, with their tall frames being a bit squished by the seat set-up. We opted to move the taller of the two into the front row passenger seat, much to his delight.

The LX 570’s interior feels luxurious not only thanks to all the leather appointments but also thanks to the SUV’s body-on-frame construction and Adaptive Variable Suspension, which isolate the bumps in the road and keeps the driver and passengers riding smoothly. However, the LX 570 did wallow through tighter turns and made the driver and passengers wish the seat bolsters were a little more substantial. Those features also make the drive more disconnected and a bit number than I’d like.

Though we spent time at the beach during our trip, I didn’t take the LX 570 out onto the sand though it is more than capable of doing so. What I like is that the SUV’s full-time four-wheel drive gives me the confidence that the LX 570 can handle sand or snow should it need to. Had the vehicle been mine instead of a loan from the manufacturer and I knew a tow truck was nearby, I probably would have been tempted to try out the LX 570’s full capabilities.

One of the LX 570’s features worth every penny is the second row entertainment system. Though it took more time than it should have to get the system going the first time (I still couldn’t tell you how I got it to work) it worked perfectly every other time it was used. The headphones each took two AAA batteries and despite two weeks of continual use, they didn’t wear out.

My enjoyment of the 2016 LX 570 also didn’t wear out over those two weeks, despite the around 60 hours and 2500 miles I ended up spending behind the wheel. Out of all the full size SUVs I’ve driven, the LX 570 is among my favorites. From the exterior to the interior the LX 570 exudes the capable, high end, family-friendly experience the brand boasts about.


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