A combination of old-school SUV, and leather- and wood-trimmed luxury yacht, the large-on-the-inside and -outside 2018 Lexus LX offers big V8 power, a lush cabin, and plenty of towing capability. However, most buyers will never need or use its off-road prowess, body lean in cornering is copious, the third row is tiny and awkward, while fuel economy numbers are execrable.

Best Value

The top-of-the-line T8 plug-in hybrid is a winning combination of power and efficiency, offering 400 horsepower with 17 miles of all-electric range. Sadly, it adds at least $13,000 to the XC60’s price, which makes it less of a bargain.

Instead, we’d opt for the competent base turbocharged engine in Momentum trim. Here’s where Volvo’s suite of standard features shines, including a panoramic moonroof, sharp LED headlights, a power liftgate, and a smooth nine-inch infotainment touchscreen (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible). Most advanced safety features are also included, like automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist. The base trim still allows the option for Volvo’s excellent air suspension, which we would add. We’d also add all-wheel drive, which includes heated front seats along with all-weather peace of mind.

Even with all these features, our XC60 doesn’t push too far north of $40,000:

  • Model: 2018 Lexus LX 570 Two-Row
  • Engine: 5.7-liter V8
  • Output: 383 hp / 403 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Four-wheel drive
  • MPG:13 City / 18 Hwy
  • Options: None
  • Base Price:$86,925 (including a $1,295 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$86,925

Performance

Lexus LX

Better on pavement than the Toyota Land Cruiser it was cloned from, the LX's ride is composed and smooth, thanks to soft tires with high sidewalls and beefy front and rear anti-roll bars. And despite tipping the scales in the neighborhood of three tons, it passes strongly with plenty of power in reserve, courtesy of the 5.7-liter V8 it also shares with the Land Cruiser. It generates 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque, and has and a towing capacity of 7,000 pounds. While the suspension is also inherited from the big Toyota, the LX adds a bit of tech finesse with an adjustable ride control system that also raises and lowers it, along with a five-mode traction control system engineered to match the suspension height to the road surface.

Off-road, the four-wheel-drive system splits power 40:60 front to rear through a Torsen limited-slip differential that can be locked with the press of a button. A crawl control system will keep the car moving at a constant speed over any terrain. Another switch operates the traction control system that clamps the inside wheel to give the LX a tighter turning radius, which helps mitigate its mammoth size.

At the same time, the tires and suspension may absorb bumps with ease, but they don’t communicate much of the road through the light but numb steering system, the low front air dam reduces the approach angle, while copious body lean is the norm when cornering. Finally, the LX's fuel economy – an EPA-estimated 13 miles per gallon in the city, 18 mpg on the highway, and 15 combined – is abysmal when compared to anything but a Hummer. Although formerly par for the course on large vehicles, even big SUVs have come aboard the efficiency wagon, with competing brands offering more efficient drivetrains.

Style

The LX's social-climbing statement begins up front with a massive iteration of the corporate spindle grille. Move past that landmark and you're met with squared-off corners, big taillights, the stance of an NFL linebacker, and a slick, split tailgate – the likes of which haven’t been seen since the demise of General Motors' A-body wagons.

The side sills neatly mask nine inches of ground clearance, and the suspension can be lowered by two, making ingress to the lavish, tuxedo-friendly, leather- and open-pore wood-lined interior easier. There's plenty of space for five adults in the first and second rows, with those up front treated to supportive, generously-sized chairs slathered in soft leather. For those so inclined, richer leather, ventilated seats, heated second row seats, and a heated steering wheel are offered as options. Most of the functions are controlled by user-friendly knobs, buttons, and switches, with off-road options directed from the center console.

At the same time, the LX is compromised by a truck-based frame and corresponding high cargo floor, while the optional third row – which contains an ambitious three seat belts considering its size – flips up and rotates to the sides, creating a narrow space and further limiting cargo capacity. Lastly, the brilliant 12.3-inch infotainment screen is hampered by the brand's antiquated, haptic-feedback, mouse-like controller that's not only irritating, but often too distracting to operate when driving; while Android Auto and Apple CarPlay aren't even offered.

The Best and Worst Things

A plush cabin and terrific towing capability are offset by a clumsy, tiny third row and horrible fuel economy. Besides, how many buyers really need this much car?

Right For? Wrong For?

Lexus LX

Style-conscious upscale buyers looking for a true adventure vehicle will appreciate the LX's wide range of safety features, lavish gear, top-shelf finishes, and off-road skill.

At the risk of sounding repetitious, those wretched fuel economy numbers will surely be a turn-off to eco-friendly consumers.

The Bottom Line

Capable of crossing the outback as well as patrolling tony neighborhoods, the 2018 Lexus LX coddles occupants while offering impressive off-road and towing capabilities. But its old-school luxury charm is hampered by elephantine handling, an awkward, cargo-volume-robbing third row, and dreadful fuel economy.