2008 Lexus LX 570
Mountain Goat In An Armani

We Like: Top-notch quality, smooth ride, amazing off-road ability.
We Don't Like: Astronomical price, gas-guzzling nature, awkward third-row seats.

Since last year's contest, a lot has changed with regard to the SUV market. Most manufacturers are going for the smaller, more fuel-efficient, and in some cases car-based vehicles, the 2009 Lexus LX 570 is none of those, and it's damn proud of it.

This Lexus is an amazing luxury/utility vehicle, capable of a dash to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, while the quarter mile disappears in under 15 seconds at over 90 mph, and all this by a behemoth that weighs over 6000 pounds.

Oh, did we mention the Lexus can also off-road with the best of them? Hillclimbs, rock crawling, sand washes-nothing slows this machine down.

Such off-road ability is due to features like Crawl Control, a three-speed downhill assist that also works going uphill, and Active Height Control, which adjusts the vehicle to three inches above or just over two inches below its normal ride height.

Since this is still a Lexus, the interior lives up to what the rest of the vehicle delivers. Senior editor Ron Kiino says, "The Lexus LX 570 has an ultra-luxurious interior: The wood, leather, and plastics are all elegant and first-rate; the fit and finish is impeccable."

One issue many judges have had is with the third-row seats, which are too tight, definitely a penalty box for the three folks stuck back there. Also, the seats don't fold flat; they fold up and hang in the air. Our tester developed a nasty rattle with the third row up, and this storage style compromises cargo room as well.

During our on-road drive loop, some staffers have found the LX 570's adjustable suspension a nice addition, but haven't seen much difference between the two settings. Others have judged the ride quality not up to the standards they've set for a vehicle from Lexus.

The off-road section has proved no match for this road beast, while a few other competitors have had a bit of a struggle.

In the end, its sheer size, astronomical price, and heavy fuel consumption prevented the large Lexus LX 570 from being our 2009 SUOTY winner. Guess size really does matter.
- Scott Mortara

2009 Kia Borrego
Base price range $76,530
Price as tested $83,710
Vehicle layout Front engine, 4WD, 8-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 5.7L/383-hp/403-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight (dist f/r) 6164 lb (51/49%)
Wheelbase 112.2 in
Length x width x height 196.5 x 77.6 x 73.4 in
0-60 mph 6.5 sec
Quarter mile 14.8 sec @ 92.5 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 133 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.73 g (avg)
MT figure eight 29.3 sec @ 0.56 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy econ 12/18 mpg
MT observed fuel econ 13.2 mpg
CO2 emmisions 1.37 lb/mile
Engineering ****
Design ***
Interior/functionality ***
Performance ***
On-road refinement ****
Off-road ability *****
Value **
Luxurious with an interior fit for a king. Unfortunately, you'll pay a king's ransom to own it.