Stunning, well-crafted interior. Interiors in this class must rise above the impressive, embracing outstanding, and the designers at Lexus understand this. Open any door on the 2019 Lexus LX, step up using the standard illuminated running boards, and you’ll enter an interior designed to soothe and cosset.
Covered in soft leather and beautifully stitched, each seat is heated and cooled, both front seats are multi-adjustable (14-way driver with memory, 12-way passenger), the second row offers powered sliding, while the third row on models so equipped opens and closes at the push of a button.
The climate system monitors the temperature in four separate zones and, in addition to the steering wheel, the doors, dash, center console, and second row arm rest are trimmed in an array of leathers and warm linear-oriented, or open-pore wood.
Front seat occupants enjoy a spectacular measure of leg, hip, shoulder, and head room, while three adults can experience day-long traveling comfort in the second row. Of note: Lexus made the third row optional in 2018, so unless you have elementary-age kiddies, we suggest saving five large and treating yourself to an additional 5 cubic feet of cargo capacity by choosing the two-row model.
The instrumentation is straightforward and easy to understand, the switch gear works flawlessly, while driver visibility ranges from excellent (front and sides) to very good (rear three-quarters and out back). And while vehicle height is a factor, many of those issues are mitigated by the standard rearview and overhead cameras.
Smooth ride. A hallmark of the big Lexus LX is its supremely supple ride, offering all-day highway cruising comfort courtesy of a double wishbone front and four-link coil spring rear independent suspension, along with variable dampers at each corner.
Although most will spend the majority of their time schlepping to and from Nordstrom parking lots, the flagship of the brand’s SUV lineup is also a supremely capable off-roader.
Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the 5.7-liter V8 serves up plenty of power (383 hp) and, more importantly, a laudable 403 pound-feet of maximum torque at a very usable 3,600 rpm.
Full-time four-wheel-drive is augmented by a locking center differential, two-speed transfer case, and an adjustable suspension that can be lowered 2 inches for improved ingress and egress, while 3 additional inches of ride height can be dialed in for better off-road ground clearance.
The off-road chops of the LX are also sustained by a locking center differential, two-speed transfer case, and a terrain-specific traction control system that can be set to Rock, Rock and Dirt, Loose Rock, Mogul, and Mud and Sand.
Still, there’s no avoiding its three-ton bulk as the LX, despite good acceleration, lacks the agility of rivals with noticeable body lean in tight corners. Light steering transmits little of what the chassis is experiencing to the driver, which requires frequent small corrections during highway cruising.
Sleek design. A freshening for 2011 brought the third-generation LX up to the brand’s current design specs which include razor-sharp looks that encompass the largest and most imposing iteration yet of the eponymous spindle grille – a styling device that, on that rare occasion, negatively affects the big SUV’s approach angle.
Bracketing the icon are a pair of narrow, squinting headlight enclosures set above “L”-shaped LED signature lights that rest above another pair of small, round fog lights set in chrome-outlined faux brake ducts that mirror the L theme.
Breaking up the unavoidable slab-sided look of a vehicle this size is an upper character line between the door handles and beltline, deep sculpting of the lower door panels, and a sculpted, built-in running board between the wheels.
In back, the L theme is repeated with chrome trim pieces set atop imposing, horizontal LED taillights, with the hatch splitting at a cut line just above the license plate surround – the top half rising in normal fashion, while the bottom half drops to form a very usable tailgate that harkens back to the family station wagons of yore.
Great screen, frustrating interface. The glorious 12.3-inch touchscreen in the Lexus LX comes with Bluetooth, navigation with voice command, satellite radio, a surround-view monitor, and can be split into sections to display three different functions simultaneously.
Unfortunately, the infotainment controls remain a major sticking point. Unlike a well-programmed touchscreen, the mouse-like, console-mounted controller is annoying to operate when parked, and spectacularly distracting to use while driving. Rival’s systems are a generation ahead, at the very least.
Final thoughts. The 2019 Lexus LX features a design that you either love or hate, an engine that consumes copious amounts of premium fuel, and infotainment controls that are both distracting and infuriating to use.
In spite of those issues, the Lexus LX continues to impress us with a strong V8, smooth ride, and luxurious interior. These strengths, backed by the impressive dealer experience and a spectacular quality record, continue to make it a solid choice in the full-size luxury SUV class.
Looking at the competition, the Lincoln Navigator offers more interior room in all three rows, the Land Rover Range Rover offers better approach and departure angles and is more stable at highway speeds, while the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLS 63 bests the LX 570’s 7.2-second 0-60 mph time by almost three seconds.