Land Cruiser vs LX570: Big brother has the edge
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Despite its different nose and other body tweaks, it's not hard to tell that the largest Lexus, the LX570 SUV, is directly related to Toyota's enduring Land Cruiser 200.
Despite ongoing raised eyebrows about its size, price and fuel consumption, the LX570's a magnificently equipped luxury vehicle capable of eating kilometres on swift cross-country runs, effortlessly towing a 3500kg boat-trailer combo, or off-roading in difficult terrain.
All this capability lists at $196,400, while the top VX Limited Land Cruiser costs almost $50,000 less, at $147,500. So could a potential LX570 customer live just as happily with the Cruiser, and save a substantial wad of money?
True, you could buy a house or apartment with that kind of money, but let's have a look, anyway. There's always tonight's Lotto!
The major difference between the two vehicles is under the bonnet. Lexus uses a 5683cc twincam petrol V8 producing 270kW at 5600rpm and 530Nm of torque at 3200rpm. It's a magnificent, smooth unit with an understated V8 burble.
Land Cruiser has a 4461cc V8 twin-turbo diesel good for 195kW at 3400rpm and 650Nm from 1600rpm. Toyota did a great job with this new-ish engine and it's not far behind the Lexus in smoothness, sounds good in its own way, and has that significant 120Nm torque advantage.
The Lexus V8 expels 350g/km of CO2 and is rated at 14.8 litres per 100km overall fuel consumption while the Toyota's diesel handily beats both figures at 273g/km and 10.3 litres per 100km overall. In real-world driving, Driven got 20.9 litres per 100km overall from the Lexus and 14.5 from the Cruiser.
The Cruiser's figure includes a day of off-road driving in low range that really sucks the fuel. With that factored in, Driven's recorded overall consumption is outstanding for a large, heavy eight-cylinder vehicle.
Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with a sequential manual mode. Despite different engines, the transmissions have the same ratios.
The Lotto, er, Lexus, rides on 8.5 x 20 alloys while the facelifted Cruiser uses 8.0 x 18 inchers rather than the 17s of the previous model. Both have street-oriented tyres, although the tread pattern of the Cruiser's Yokohamas is slightly more aggressive.
Last statistics: At 5020mm the Lexus is 70mm longer and slightly taller. Both are 1970mm wide. The Lexus is about 20kg heavier at 2750kg and enjoys a 50kg higher gross weight at 3350kg.
But there's more to it than the specifications. Both of the uber-SUVs are loaded with gear and creature comforts.
It takes more space than this page to list the features of each vehicle; owners of either will be in for a long but not unpleasant learning curve. Some features are identical, but a pattern emerges - when there's a difference, it's usually in the Lexus's favour.
If it's possible to eliminate human effort from any function, Lexus will have done it.
The LX570's third row of seats purrs down at the touch of a button; Cruiser's has to be, ugh, manhandled. The Lexus's tailgate raises and lowers electrically, the Toyota's requires input from a human arm.
Although dashboards and consoles are similar, Lexus designers have done just enough to make theirs stand out. Differences include a better instrument cluster and appealing "chunky" toggle switches for working many of the off-road settings.
Fortunately, both SUVs have the most important feature of all, a mini-fridge under the armrest of the centre console: priceless.
The bottom line:
These SUVs are both big, bold and slightly brash; Cruiser beats Lexus for economy and emissions but Lexus wins for on-board gear and ambience