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The Lexus LX 470 has been the benchmark for first-class luxury and ultimate off-road capability.
The big Lexus now faces a totally new Range Rover engineered by BMW and a less expensive but powerful Cadillac Escalade, and its bland exterior design is beginning to show its age.
However, this remains a wonderfully luxurious and highly capable vehicle. LX 470 is powered by one of the best V8s in the business and offers crisp handling, as well as a luxurious ride. The interior is elegant, well equipped, and the kind of environment you wish your house had.
It also comes from Lexus, which boasts the best quality, durability and reliability in the business, along with retailers dedicated to customer satisfaction.
Besides being luxurious, this thing is smooth and quiet.
At high speeds, there is some wind noise coming from the vicinity of the large mirrors, but with a vehicle this immense, these mirrors are something we would not want to do without.
The Lexus 32-valve 4.7-liter V8 is smooth, quiet, and powerful. It produces good low-rpm torque; fully 80 percent of the peak output is available at just 1,100 rpm. That provides responsive low-speed performance and power for towing or scaling steep terrain. While most sport-utilities use truck-based engines, this 4.7-liter V8 features four camshafts (dohc) and four valves per cylinder (32v). While it produces only 230 horsepower, it generates a solid 320 foot-pounds of torque. The LX 470 is capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in about 10 seconds and turning the quarter-mile in less than 18 seconds. That's not quick by anyone's standards, but it's plenty for safe highway merging if you put down the throttle. This engine meets California's Low Emissions Vehicle standard.
The suspension provides a comfortable ride on winding back roads and bumpy Interstates, yet is capable of climbing any mountain, fording any stream. The rack-and-pinion steering provides sharp response. It's easy to turn the steering wheel in crowded parking lots, but does not isolate the driver on the open road.
The LX 470 comes with an Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), which allows the driver to adjust the damping between soft or firm settings. It's controlled electronically using feedback from various road sensors; the system constantly adjusts the semi-active shocks among 16 settings according to conditions. It's a sophisticated system and it works extremely well. The LX 470 rides smoothly over unpaved roads, but inspires driver confidence with taut response on winding country roads.
Like the Range Rover, the LX 470 features adjustable ride height. Press a button and the hydropneumatic system raises and lowers the vehicle nearly 4 inches. This allows the driver to increase ground clearance for climbing over obstacles or lower ride height for highway cruising. It also makes climbing in and out of the vehicle easier when all dressed up for a night on the town.
The full-time four-wheel-drive system is permanently engaged and utilizes a limited-slip center differential to distribute torque. Throw in a locking center differential, a rear limited-slip differential and lots of suspension articulation and only the driver - or worn out tires - can be blamed for sticking one of these in the mud.
The anti-lock brake system operates even in low range and is designed to offer better performance off road than traditional ABS by avoiding early activation on slippery slopes. ABS intervention decreases as road surface roughness increases or the grade steepens. That's a good feature because traditional ABS can lengthen braking distances considerably on unpaved roads. Big disc brakes offer good response and seem to stop this 5,400-pound vehicle in a surprisingly short distance.
Three active safety technologies are tied in with the ABS to enhance driver control: Vehicle Skid Control (VSC) helps maintain traction under demanding conditions by detecting and correcting wheel slip. When it detects a loss of traction, the system applies the brakes to individual wheels to help the driver maintain control. The system also integrates a Brake Assist function that interprets a quick, hard push of the brake pedal as emergency braking and supplements the applied braking pressure.
Finally, this big SUV also includes a four-wheel traction control system (TRAC), which provides a limited-slip differential effect by using brake and throttle intervention to control wheelspin. TRAC provides some of the traction benefits of locked center and rear differentials while preserving the steering response associated with open differentials.
Lexus LX 470 features a beautiful interior and superior off-road capability. It provides a quiet interior with a smooth ride and good handling. If you want big, luxurious, and capable, then this is the benchmark.