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Yes, it costs well over $60,000. But for the money, you'd be hard pressed to find a more versatile, luxurious and capable vehicle.
Quiet and refined demeanor, capable backwoods performer, slick adjustable suspension, splendid interior materials, Lexus build quality.
High price, lack of horsepower, floppy handling, Toyota-grade secondary switchgear.
Available LX 470 SUV Models
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The LX 470 was updated last year. As such, the only change for 2002 is that the navigation system is now standard equipment.
The LX 470 has been our favorite luxury SUV the last few years, and we don't foresee any reason why this would change for 2002. It provides a near ultimate SUV experience, combining the luxury appointments and workmanship of a Lexus sedan, seating for up to eight passengers, decent cargo and towing capacity, plus rugged off-road capability.
You get a sense that no expense was spared in creating its luxurious cabin. Indeed, the LX 470's walnut wood trim is radiant in its luster and the perforated leather sumptuous in its suppleness. Materials used in the construction of the interior are generally of the highest quality, though we've noticed that much of the switchgear is identical to what is found in more plebian Toyota products.
We also love the ergonomics of the LX 470's cabin, as its large controls are easy to find and operate. You can also find heated seats with memory, a dust and pollen filter, one-touch power windows and sunroof, automatic tilt-away steering column (for easier entry/exit), and separate rear-passenger climate controls. A third-row seat that is best suited to child-sized bodies is standard in the LX 470, but it can be folded up easily for those who have more cargo than people to haul. The GPS navigation system, which was a $3,510 option last year, is now standard equipment, leaving the Mark Levinson premium audio system as the only option left on the order sheet.
Power comes from a 4.7-liter V8 that creates 230 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. This V8 is one of the smoothest engines we've ever experienced. Still, we'd like Lexus to add a few more horsepower to propel the 5,401-pound truck -- the '02 Cadillac Escalade weighs in at 5,809 pounds but offers 345 horses to lug its girth. Though neck-snapping acceleration is not within the Lexus repertoire, its rated towing capacity of 6,500 pounds is indeed proof that it can haul the family yacht to the shore.
While its engine and much of its technology (skid control, traction control and brake assist) are shared with the Land Cruiser, the LX 470 does outdo its coach-class sibling with its Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS). AVS is a semi-active shock absorber system with five firmness settings. After a setting has been selected, AVS adjusts the ride based on road surfaces, and steering, acceleration and braking input in order to create ride quality tailored to the driver's preferences.
Another LX 470 exclusive is Adjustable Height Control (AHC). AHC allows the LX 470 to be raised to clear rough road and lowered for ease of entry and exit. This, combined with a full-time 4WD system, allows the Lexus to overcome nearly any type of terrain.
The extras that come standard on the LX 470 make it appealing when compared with a Land Cruiser. And if you really want AVS, AHC and the Mark Levinson audio system, the LX 470 is the only way to go. However, for our money, we'd probably save the $8,000 and go with the Toyota. Though we really like the AVS, we have to admit that the Land Cruiser has everything else we love about the Lexus -- and it offers it at a price that is more competitive with other luxury SUVs.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.