The Lexus LX 570 is the car for the people with clout and patronage in this country. The huge car has no shortage of admirers in this country with unpopular pastor James Ng’ang’a being one who owns one.
Even Julie Gichuru owns one of her own. The car goes for a cool 20 million shillings when brand new. That is Range Rover money right there.
But why do these celebs and politicans love this car?
While most modern SUVs trend toward urban performance with car-based platforms and low-slung profiles, the Lexus LX 570 is a dinosaur from a different era.
It has body-on-frame construction like a full-size pickup truck, high sides and upright styling that has little regard for aerodynamics, and it drives off-road with aplomb. That’s why it’s hard to find direct competitors for the LX 570 outside of Toyota’s Land Cruiser.
The Land Rover Range Rover is one exception. It’s priced close to the LX and can go virtually anywhere despite having unibody construction. Other models that compete on size and/or price include the Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80 and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class.
The Lexus LX 570 comes with an old-fashioned 5.7-liter V-8 that makes 383 horsepower. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and full-time four-wheel drive that offers an additional low gear via a switch in the center console.
Next to that is a control for Lexus’ impressive crawl-control system, which can be set to maintain a slow pace over rough terrain without the driver having to manipulate the pedals.
On the street, the LX 570 drives like a more refined version of a large truck. The ride is butter-smooth over pavement, and though there’s some extra body roll in the corners, the Lexus LX 570 doesn’t feel sloppy; its suspension gets it back upright slowly rather than explosively. The V-8 gets the LX 570’s 5,800 pounds moving easily and — most importantly — pulls hard between 40 and 70 mph, so passing is a breeze.
Fuel economy is, predictably, not a strong point: 7.6 litres per kilometre on the highway and 6.3 litres per kilometre combined.
The LX 570 is big and luxurious, with plenty of capability for adventuring (it can tow 3175 kgs), but lacking in a few key areas around multimedia technology and drivability.
Overall: Old-fashioned in some respects — and you pay for it on the fuel mileage.