Lexus LX Performance
The 2007 Lexus LX 470 is a large, truck-based luxury SUV, and it drives like one. "On the road the 2007 Lexus LX 470 drives like the big, beefy hulk that it is. The steering is less than involving, the acceleration is modest and the chassis responds to course changes with more dignity than athleticism. It's always comfortable, always composed, but never much fun," writes Edmunds. "Take it off-road, however, and the LX 470 seems to lose about 800 pounds of heft as it effectively conquers desperately cruddy terrain."
The LX 470 is powered by a V8 reaching only 268 horsepower - anemic by comparison to more recently updated competitors - paired only with a five-speed automatic transmission.. Still, Consumer Guide found that the engine provides " ample power from any speed," and the transmission is "always smooth and refined, even by car standards." MSN says that "Steering is precise, especially for such a big boat, and the turning circle is fairly tight. Handling is nimble for such a high, heavy sport-ute."
The LX 470 provides off-road capability unusual for a luxury vehicle, and "among the best available," according to Auto Mall USA. "The LX 470 uses a true full-time four-wheel-drive system with a center differential that splits the power 50/50 front/rear. The system is always engaged and requires no intervention from the driver. "
Acceleration and Power
The LX 470 is built with one drivetrain configuration -- a 4.7-liter V8, a five-speed automatic transmission, and a serious, full-time four-wheel-drive system with a locking center differential.
The 4.7-liter, 32-valve V8 engine with variable valve timing puts out 268 horsepower and 328 pound-feet of torque. Most of the LX 470's major competitors have been upgraded with more power in the last few years, making the output of this V8 now less than average for this class. "While the LX 470's V8 is a smooth, quiet performer, its power and torque deliver adequate but not stellar acceleration and towing statistics," says Kelley Blue Book. About.com writes that "it all adds up to reasonable acceleration, good passing power and awful gas mileage, really the biggest knock against the LX 470." Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) mileage estimates for the LX 470 say to expect 12 miles per gallon in city driving, and 15 on the highway. While certainly nothing to be proud of, those are relatively competitive numbers in this class. It is worth noting, however, that Lexus recommends only 91-octane fuel in the 25.4-gallon tank -- an expensive proposition.
Reviewers do not find much to say about the standard five-speed automatic transmission. Consumer Guide calls its performance "smooth and refined, even by car standards." Kelley Blue Book explains another unique feature," The gearbox also includes a downhill assist that keeps the vehicle from accelerating during steep descents."
"If you tow more than 6,500 pounds, this is not the SUV for you," says Kelley Blue Book. Its 6,500-pound tow rating is among the lowest in the large SUV class. An integrated towing hitch is standard equipment.
Handling and Braking
Handling is a strong point of the big LX 470. "Despite its bulk, the LX 470 doesn't feel cumbersome. Steering requires a moderately heavy touch but is by no means difficult. This SUV is stable on the highway," reports Cars.com. The Lexus features rack-and-pinion steering not normally found on such a large vehicle. MSN explains that the "Variable Gear Ratio Steering system can vary both the rack-and-pinion steering ratio and enhance maneuverability at low speeds and road feel at highway speeds." According to Auto Mall USA, this makes it "easy to turn the steering wheel in crowded parking lots, but it doesn't isolate the driver at speed on the open road."
Edmunds reports that "There's a rugged ladder frame under this SUV, and an "Adaptive Variable" suspension tough enough to withstand a U.N. peacekeeping mission while being comfortable enough to deliver diplomats to the meeting ordering that mission." Auto Mall USA explains that the Adaptive Variable Suspension "allows the driver to adjust the damping between soft or firm settings. It's controlled electronically using feedback from various road sensors; the system constantly adjusts the semi-active shock absorbers through 16 valve settings according to conditions. It's a sophisticated system and it works extremely well." Adjustable ride height allows the driver to raise and lower the vehicle nearly four inches at the touch of a button, in order to increase ground clearance or ease entry and exit. The system automatically lowers the vehicle at highway speed, to streamline airflow and increase fuel efficiency.
Standard four-wheel anti-lock ventilated disc brakes include Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, which helps distribute braking power to prevent loss of control and reduce braking distances. Auto Mall USA reports that "ABS intervention decreases as road surface roughness increases or the grade steepens. That's an important feature because traditional ABS can lengthen braking distances considerably on unpaved roads."
Despite its unabashed status as a supreme luxury vehicle, the LX 470 has legitimate off-road capability unheard of in this class. Car and Driver comments that "Lexus always focused more on off-road capability with the LX470 than it seemed it should," and that is certainly true for 2007. "The LX 470's standard four-wheel-drive system is always engaged and employs a center differential to split power 50/50 front-to-rear. For steep grades or more treacherous terrain, you can switch the system to four-wheel low, locking the center differential and increasing the vehicle's overall traction," writes Kelley Blue Book. Edmunds notes that "the transfer case has a low range for slogging out of trouble." About.com says the "system is adept at handling the rigors of slippery winter weather or deep mud or snow. The driver can shift into low range for driving on steep off-road inclines. Big 18 x 8.0-inch wheels come standard and are fitted with 275/60R18 mud-and-snow tires."
Auto Mall USA points out that the "anti-lock brake system operates even in low range," a rare feature, "and is designed to offer better performance off-road than traditional ABS by avoiding early activation on slippery slopes."