Every time I drive a full-size three-row luxury SUV, I wonder how often (if ever) the third row is used. Someone at Lexus must have been struck with the same thought, because the 2019 Lexus LX 570 that I just finished driving is a two-row variant of a vehicle that has had three rows since it debuted as a 1996 model. Now late in its third generation (since 2008), the LX sprouted a two-row version in 2018 that continues into 2019.
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The two-row LX rides on the same 112.2-inch wheelbase as the three-row, and both are 200.0 inches long overall. The differences between the two vehicles are on the inside. Seating in the second row is identical in measurement, with 34.4 inches of legroom. The third row of seating has 28.3 inches of legroom – a little better than the Cadillac Escalade’s 24.8 inches, but not as good as the extended wheelbase Cadillac Escalade ESV’s 34.5 inches. Any third row with less than 30 inches of legroom will be cramped for adults, in my experience, but you won’t get many complaints from teens and youngsters.
Eliminating the third row in LX has a couple of benefits. Luggage space behind the second row opens up to 32.1 cubic feet, whereas the space available behind the second row of a three-row LX is 24.8 cubic feet, since the seat doesn’t stow beneath the load floor. The two-row’s luggage space has a flat floor, too – no folded seat to block loading. Losing the third row shaves 200 lbs off of the LX’s curb weight, from 6,000 lbs to 5,800 lbs. Performance and fuel economy numbers for the two-row and three-row LX are stated as matching, with 0-60 mph runs clocking in at 7.3 seconds and EPA fuel economy ratings at 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway/15 mpg combined – but losing 200 lbs has to make the two-row a skosh quicker and more efficient, doesn’t it?
LX sales are tiny for such a big SUV, with fewer than 5,000 sold in the US in 2018. Lexus sold over 20 times as many RX crossovers last year, which probably explains why LX has received so little design and engineering attention. But there are still buyers who want a capable, body-on-frame luxury SUV, so it should hang around a while longer.
LX is beautifully constructed, with superb fit and finish at every turn. The tall driver’s position is commanding on the road, with a great view out over the hood and in all directions, with no big blind spots. Over the years, Lexus has continued to update LX’s safety and technology features with new technology as it becomes available. The standard Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert, Intelligent High-Beam headlamps, and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert is a welcome standard feature in a big SUV, as is the standard panoramic view camera, viewable on the 12.3-inch navigation screen. Available Color Head-Up Display can help reduce distraction and time with your eyes off of the road. A standard nine-speaker Lexus Premium Sound System is nice, and the available 450-watt Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound audio system is even better. Lexus Enform Safety Connect and Lexus Enform Service Connect are complimentary for the first 10 years, and Lexus Enform Remote is included with a one-year trial subscription to enable remote locking and unlocking, engine starting and climate control, fuel level check and other features via an app on your smartphone, smartwatch or Alexa-enable devices at home. Lexus Enform Destination Assist is also included with a one-year free trial, providing access to a live agent for directions and destinations.
I love driving the LX 570. The naturally aspirated (non-turbo) 5.7-liter V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission with standard all-wheel drive are perfectly matched to the big SUV, giving a great sense of momentum to each drive. Handling is pleasantly smooth and nimble, with four-wheel independent suspension soaking up the bumps. The 4-wheel Active Height Control is particularly useful when loading passengers and cargo, as you can lower the LX a few inches to make it easier to enter and exit.
Another benefit of the two-row LX – it is priced a few thousand dollars less than the three-row, which starts at $90,630. The 2019 Lexus LX 570 Two-Row starts at $85,630 ($88,195 as tested).
I guess less really is more.
2019 LX 570 rear.
Photo (c) Lexus
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I have reviewed hundreds of cars, trucks, SUVs, crossovers, minivans and motorcycles for a wide assortment of magazines and websites. If it”s got wheels and an engine, I
I have reviewed hundreds of cars, trucks, SUVs, crossovers, minivans and motorcycles for a wide assortment of magazines and websites. If it”s got wheels and an engine, I want to drive it or ride it, and then write about it. I”m fascinated by transportation, and by what our means of transportation says about who we are. I have lived all over the place, but I”ve recently relocated to the Detroit area.