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Lexus LX470 (2001)

SEE ALSO: Lexus Rover Buyer's Guide

by Brendan Hagin and Mikele Schappell-Hagin


     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 61,405
     Price As Tested                                    $ 67,062
     Engine Type              DOHC 32-valve 4.7 Liter V8 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 284 cid/4663 cc
     Horsepower                                   230 @ 4800 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               320 @ 3400 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  112.2"/76.4"/192.5"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     5593 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  25.4 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                   275/70R16 mud & snow H-rated
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                    Front-engine/all-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                      Eight-passenger/five-door
     Domestic Content                                 10 percent
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.40


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            13/16/15
     0-60 MPH                                        9.5 seconds
     Maximum payload capacity                        1240 pounds
     Maximum towing capacity                         6500 pounds
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

BRENDAN - Once upon a time, Lexus was thought of as an upscale Toyota, nothing more than a Camry or 4Runner with leather. As the luxury market expanded beyond German and Domestic dominance, Lexus discovered how to really impress and influence drivers with powerful engines and ultra luxury. Their full-size sport/utility vehicle, the LX 470, lands /at the top of the 4WD luxury heap, and while it's similar to the Toyota Landcruiser, it features some of the most advanced accessories and options available on the market today.

MIKELE - On the outside, the LX 470 has beautifully color- coordinated side step boards and bumpers that match the lower paint finish, giving it a solid, flowing look. It also includes a full-size spare tire with an alloy wheel, so when you get a flat, you won't be limited by one of those ugly space-saver spares that look like go-kart wheels. The only problem is the sheer size of the tire makes changing it a big task. Front and rear mudguards help keep the Lexus LX 470's fenders and quarters clean, so a trip to the snow won't require a full detailing afterward - and I hate washing cars.

BRENDAN - The four-beam headlights provide super illumination, great for night driving along country roads, or those late night trips to get ice cream. The outside mirrors are heated and they tilt down when the shifter is put into reverse, a feature that's also found on other Lexus models. Both mirrors retract with the touch of a button, so squeezing through the boondocks won't get the mirrors ripped off. Inside, the audio system really shines. Mark Levinson, a designer of premium home stereo units, designed an awesome sound system that features a 7-speaker, 124-watt surround system and a six-disc CD changer. The bass thumps and the mid-levels charge ahead. The music came across like a front row seat at a small, upscale nightclub. A walnut and leather- wrapped steering wheel is standard, and features wheel-mounted audio controls, making volume adjusting more convenient. Accessory power outlets in the dash, center console and rear cargo area make it easy to plug in a cell phone or other handy business electronics.

MIKELE - I really liked the LX 470's automatic front/rear climate control and heated front seats, and because my grandmother likes it warmer than we do, it gave us an option when we took her for an extended Sunday ride. Nine cupholders gave us plenty of space when we stopped for a soda break, and the reclining/folding split middle seat allowed our pups lots of room to move around. With seating for eight, the LX 470 fit our dogs and both sets of parents. The LX470 is also super-safe, with dual air bags and anti-lock brakes. The driver and front passenger airbags are designed to deploy during severe frontal collisions, but in lesser accidents, the airbags won't inflate.

BRENDAN - Performance-wise, the LX 470 is outstanding. It has the first 32-valve, four-cam V8 engine offered in an SUV, pumping out 230 ponies, along with 320 pound-feet of torque. It moves the almost 6000- pound Lexus effortlessly and really gets moving when acceleration is needed. Its 10-inch ground clearance and full-time four-wheel drive will get the big machine over and through almost anything, but we stayed away from the off-road venues, preferring to cruise along the open highway. The LX 470 is equipped with Adaptive Variable Suspension, a sophisticated system that senses the type of terrain it's on, then relays the response of the four electronically-controlled shocks. There are four suspension settings to choose from, ranging from mild to off-road rugged. Another slick feature is the Adjustable Height Control that gives a choice of three ride-height settings: "HI" for back-road adventures, "N" for everyday driving and "LO" which makes it easier to get in and out of the vehicle. That feature was great for you Mikele, but for an over six-foot guy like me, it's not that important.

MIKELE - I know I'm not a Tip-Topper like you and Dad, Bren, but I'm not a Shorty, either.