Can you say irony? It's one of the most technically advanced SUVs based on one of the most revered names in off-road capability, but the biggest rocks the all-new Lexus LX 570 is likely to encounter will be worn on the ring fingers of its drivers.

We all know most SUVs never engage their transfer case, but then again most people don't know how to parallel park. It's as if Lexus has set out to make both challenges nonexistent. The company already created the LS sedan, which can park itself. Now, here comes the LX, able to rockcrawl by itself.

How easy is it? We'd like to brag we expertly drove the LX 570 up and down narrow creviced dirt paths, some as steep as 33 degrees, but "drove" would be the wrong verb. When off-roading in the LX it's as if you're merely along for the ride: It drives, you steer a few inches to the left or right.

The key is the LX's first-in-class, button-activated Crawl Control. This system goes one step beyond Hill Descent Control, which automatically manages a truck's ABS so it can descend steep hills or rough terrain without the driver hitting the brake pedal. Crawl Control manages the brakes and engine throttle, powering the truck up as well as down steep inclines in forward and reverse gears. The only thing the driver needs to focus on is turning the wheel to find the best path, assisted by wideview video cameras mounted in the nose and right side mirror.

The LX 570 borrows the powerful DOHC 5.7-liter six-speed drivetrain from the Toyota Tundra, where power ratings in the new LX have jumped up more than 100 ponies over the outgoing model, from 268 horses to 383. Torque has climbed from 328 pound-feet to 403.

The 5.7-liter motor is reported to blast the 5995-pound truck from 0 to 60 in less than seven seconds. Three different suspension settings allow you to tune the ride from firm to soft (even wallowy) on the fly. Of note, the tow rating for the LX has been increased by 2000 pounds to 8500. That's best in class, and in real-world pulling, the LX 570 shrugged off an 8000-pound trailer we hitched to the built-in receiver. To further encourage towing, the LX includes a seven-pin connector, prewiring for an aftermarket trailer brake controller, and dual air and water cooling to control automatic transmission fluid temperatures.

As you'd expect in a Lexus, the silent three-row cabin is draped in high-quality materials and sensibly placed switchgear. The interior offers first-in-class four-zone climate control for front-seat and middle-row passengers. The only interior shortcoming is that the electronically stowed third row doesn't fold flat and can't be removed, a throwback to the truck's live-rear-axle heritage.Lexus aims to triple the number of LXs sold annually in the United States to around 10,000; however, they're expected to cost over $70,000. No doubt some buyers will have to have the best, but there's something tragic about this vehicle wasting so much of its capability so much of the time.


2008 Lexus LX570
Base price $70,000 (est)
Price as tested $75,000 (est)
Layout Front engine, 4WD, 4-door, 8-pass
Engine 5.7L/381-hp/401-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase, in 112.2
Length x width x height, in 196.5 x 79.6 x 75.6
Curb weight, lb 5995
GVWR, lb 7275
GCWR, lb 15,775
Payload capacity, lb 1280
Max towing capacity, lb 8500
Cargo volume, cu ft 83.1
0-60 mph, sec 6.6 (est)
Quarter mile, sec @ mph 15.0 @ 92.0 (est)
60-0 mph, ft 130 (est)
Fuel econ, city/hwy, mpg 13/19 (est)
CO2 emissions, lb/mile 1.28 (est)
On sale Currently