Big, bold, and not overly useful. The 2021 Lexus LX is a dinosaur in automotive terms, as it debuted way back in 2008, making it 13 years old. Plus, it’s about as bulky and lumbering as a dinosaur too, with its massive, upright body, off-road-tuned chassis, and unapologetic V8 powertrain.

Those who want what the LX offer will settle for nothing less, but this is a very narrow target market. Many buyers may be better suited with a more refined BMW or Mercedes-Benz.

Bold design, but maybe too much spice. The LX is large and in charge, and there are no two ways about it. On top of its massive footprint, it’s got all the telltale signs of a Lexus, including its spindle grille, L-shaped lighting, L-shaped trim pieces, and metallic touches.

While Lexus’ signature design looks great on a smaller canvas, painting it atop the monstrous land yacht dubbed the LX seems a little too much. There’s likely not much Lexus could have done to tone it down, but that doesn’t take away from the issue. The only full-size luxury SUV with a more controversial design is maybe the INFINITI QX80.

Inside, though, things are just as calm and straightforward as all other Lexus models. Other than the massive infotainment screen, the LX’s cabin is politely understated and very easy on the eyes. Buyers can further enhance the inside with loads of upscale materials and trimming.

Buyers who love what the LX offers but prefer a more traditional look may want to consider the Toyota Land Cruiser. It’s mechanically identical to the LX but with a far less eye-popping design.

It looks loaded from afar, but it’s a mess up close. From a distance, the Lexus LX looks just about as loaded as any luxury SUV with its premium materials, analog clock, and monstrous widescreen display perched on the dash. It’s all a façade for this surprisingly dated luxury barge.

One of the biggest offenders is the LX’s infotainment system. Sure, the screen is huge and crisp, but it’s attached to Lexus’ ancient joystick interface that’ll leave any driver pulling out their hair as the cursor aimlessly jumps wherever it pleases. This makes entering a destination or just choosing an audio input a test of your patience.

Lexus has started adding touchscreens in some models, but the LX remains an outlier. Making matters worse, this clunky infotainment system doesn’t even offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The leather slathered all over the LX’s cabin looks legit, but an up-close inspection again reveals a sore spot, as the standard cowhide is less than supple. Moving into the Luxury package softens things up a bit, but in an SUV that starts at over $80,000, we expect more.

Buyers looking for more for their money can look to the BMW X7, Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, or the Land Rover Range Rover. The X7, Range Rover, GLS-Class, and even the equally dated QX80 include standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

This interior offers soft and supportive seats and about an average-for-its-class 83.1 cubic feet of maximum cargo. Buyers who need more room can get 90.4 cubic from the X7, 95.1 in the QX80, or 84.7 from the GLS.

Loads of power and an off-road-ready chassis, but who uses it? The LX offers a relatively potent 5.7-liter V8 with 383 horsepower that puts out quite a nice growl. This is plenty of power to get this massive SUV to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, but it falls far short of more modern competitors.

For example, the X7’s powertrains range from 335 to 612 hp and deliver 0-60 mph sprint times of four to 5.8 seconds. The Range Rover also beats the LX with 355 to 557 hp and a 5.1- to 6.6-second 0-60 time. The GLS is much of the same at 362 to 603 hp and a 4.1- to 5.9-second 0-60 time.

The LX’s most endearing quality is also quite puzzling. It boasts a rugged chassis that’s prime for off-roading, including an air suspension lift and adaptive dampers, multiple terrain settings, standard four-wheel drive, and more. Though it can hit a trail with little complaining, few buyers seeking an $80,000-plus SUV plan to take it over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house.

Despite all this off-road tech, the LX does deliver a plush ride. However, it can feel a little too bouncy at times.

Comfy seats, but tight rear legroom. The LX’s other sweet spot is its comfortable seats. They offer tons of support and cushioning in the first and seconds rows, making them comfortable for long rides.

That said, make sure only kids occupy anything behind the first row. Despite its massive body, the LX has just 34.4 inches of second-row legroom and 28.3 inches of third-row legroom. The X7 (37.6 and 33.3 inches, respectively) and GLS (41.9 and 34.6 inches) hammer it in both areas, while the QX80’s 41 inches of second-row legroom easily beats it.

Final thoughts. The 2021 Lexus LX is for a specific buyer. One that wants luxury but also plans to tow and off-road with their near-$100K people mover. This is a very narrow niche, leading many buyers scurrying to BMW, Mercedes, or Audi showrooms for more comfortable, better-handling, and more feature-packed SUVs.

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