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The Clint Eastwood of Luxury SUVs: 2021 Lexus LX570 on Everyman Driver

Large luxury SUVs are typically built solely for paved streets, but the Lexus LX is more ambitious. It matches its luxury with an equal amount of ruggedness, and it easily navigates rocky trails and steep ravines. It also has a plush cabin. But the LX’s last full redesign was in the 2008 model year. Much like Clint Eastwood, this legend of off-road luxury deserves our respects but it’s time for Scott Eastwood to take over and continue the legacy with new updates and better technology.

Rivals such as the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator have newer platforms. And the LX is far from fuel-efficient; you’ll get much better fuel economy with the Navigator. The LX’s infotainment system also has an aged look and feel. The Mercedes-Benz G-Class has a more modern interface. Still, there aren’t too many luxury SUVs that can hold their own off-road. So, if you need that unique mix of skills, the LX is worth considering.

For the 2021 model year, the Lexus LX adds Amazon Alexa as standard equipment. Also, a limited-edition package debuts: the LX Inspiration Series. It adds blacked-out exterior trim and distinctive interior accents of the road in style.

Pricing for the LX 570 starts at $88,225. The list of standard equipment includes exterior features such as 20-inch wheels, automatic headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a sunroof, and a power liftgate. Within the cabin, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and keyless entry and ignition are all included.

When it comes to audio and infotainment, all models come with a nine-speaker stereo, a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, navigation, and Amazon Alexa connectivity. And Lexus equips all LX SUVs with safety features such as blind-spot warning, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision mitigation, front and rear parking sensors, and a surround-view camera.

Items like a head-up display, wireless device charging, and a heated steering wheel are optional.

Though the LX 570 is the only trim offered, it comes with a broad range of equipment. There’s enough on board to keep most buyers in this segment happy.

The Lexus LX comes with just one powertrain: a 5.7-liter V8 engine rated at 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed transmission shifts the gears, and a full-time four-wheel-drive system is standard.

There’s no doubt that the LX provides comfortable handling on paved roads. It feels smooth and solid, efficiently shielding passengers from road harshness. However, the steering response is sometimes sluggish, and the LX feels ponderous in some driving situations. The BMW X7 provides keener, nimbler handling.

On unpaved roads and trails, the LX carries itself like a champ. With its sturdy build, fearless nature, and standard four-wheel drive, this Lexus excels at off-road driving.

Most large luxury SUVs are built solely for the city and suburbs, but a few match the LX’s off-road capability. If you’re looking in this category for that range of talents, check out the Land Rover Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz G-Class in addition to the LX.

The Lexus LX’s biggest weakness is its dismal fuel economy. According to Environmental Protection Agency estimates, the LX returns just 12 mpg during city driving, and 16 mpg on the highway. That’s a far cry from the mileage offered by some rivals. For example, the BMW X7 gets up to 19/24 mpg city/highway. And the Lincoln Navigator earns up to 16/22 mpg city/highway.

The LX’s front row is spacious, but things are a bit tighter in the second row where legroom is roughly 34 inches. In contrast, the Range Rover provides 37 inches.

With two rows, the LX seats five. An optional third row increases passenger capacity to eight. Keep in mind, though, that adults will feel cramped there on longer journeys.

The LX falls short of rival models in cargo space. Two-row models have 53.7 cubic feet for your personal belongings when all seats are in place. The three-row model’s cargo space is 16.3 cubic feet behind the third row and 41.6 cubic feet with the third row folded.

Competing models provide a lot more cargo room. For example, the Lincoln Navigator has up to 20.9 cubic feet behind the third row and up to 63.6 cubic feet behind the second.

Available in two- and three-row configurations, the Lexus LX puts you in the lap of luxury, yet it’s tough enough to tackle off-road excursions. However, rival models come with more modern infotainment systems and provide much better fuel economy.

In the words of Clint Eastwood from one of favorite movies,  Heartbreak Ridge, it’s time to “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome!”

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