What's New for 2007
Lexus' largest SUV, the LX 470, heads into 2007 virtually unchanged from the previous year. The V8's power ratings fall slightly due to new testing procedures, though actual performance is unaffected. The only other significant change is the addition of a special "Limited Edition" model featuring Black Onyx paint, special wheels and distinctive exterior and interior trim.
Back in 1996 Lexus entered the SUV market with the LX 450, a lightly redecorated version of the then-current Toyota Land Cruiser. Two years later when there was a new generation of Land Cruiser, the new second-generation LX 470 appeared alongside it. Since then, this built-like-a-truck SUV's evolution has been quiet and effective. But there's no getting around that this thing is getting long in the tooth. A third-generation LX should appear during 2007 as a 2008 model.
Clearly the best thing about the 2007 Lexus LX 470 is the engineering that it shares with the Toyota Land Cruiser. There's a rugged ladder frame under this SUV, 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, the transfer case has a low range for slogging out of trouble and every door closes with the reassuring thud of a sack of cement hitting a sidewalk. This is not a crossover SUV built from car parts, but a thoroughly capable any-weather, all-terrain, infinite-chaos slugger.
For a vehicle so tough, however, the 2007 Lexus LX 470 does a splendid job of being luxurious. The interior is overstuffed with luxurious toys, the leather on the upholstery is supple and perfectly stitched, the ride is well mannered and the drivetrain operates in virtual silence. There's ample room for five adults, but the third-row seat is awkward to reach and offers limited legroom.
There's nothing avant-garde about the LX 470. Those searching for a more modern take on the large luxury SUV will likely be happier with the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. But even in its advancing age, the LX is still one of our top recommendations.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Lexus LX 470 is a midsize luxury SUV. There's only one trim level and it comes comprehensively equipped with power and heated front seats, illuminated running boards, automatic climate control, a DVD-based navigation system with an integrated back-up camera system, auto-dimming mirrors, a moonroof and virtually every other imaginable amenity. The standard Mark Levinson audio system features a dash-mounted six-CD changer, 11 speakers and the sort of sound clarity about which concert halls brag. Besides the new Limited Edition package, the option list is limited to a roof rack, the Lexus Link emergency communications system, a rear entertainment system, a rear spoiler, XM Satellite Radio and the fascinating Lexus Night View System.
Powertrains and Performance
All LX 470 models are powered by a 268-horsepower, 4.7-liter V8. Behind it is a five-speed automatic transmission feeding the standard dual-range transfer case and a full-time all-wheel-drive system. Should you want to tow, the LX, properly equipped, can lug up to 6,500 pounds.
The front airbag system includes a front passenger seat occupant detection sensor. Beyond that there are seat-mounted side airbags for the front seats and roll-sensing side-curtain airbags for the first- and second-row passengers. Antilock brakes, stability control and a specific off-road traction control system are all standard.
Interior Design and Special Features
While it shares some general design features with the Land Cruiser, the LX 470's interior is opulent and well laid out. The front seats are relatively flat but beautifully upholstered in leather that's almost too good to sit upon. The dashboard features Lexus' signature Optitron instrumentation that glows with electro-luminescent brilliance and real bird's-eye maple wood trim. In back, there's a 60/40-split second row and a 50/50-split rear bench. The rear bench doesn't fold flat, but it can be removed.
As for features, the Night View System is the most advanced technology available on the LX. Using near infrared light, a charged coupled device camera and computerized image processing, the Night View System will project a black-and-white image on the bottom of the windshield that clearly shows what's ahead of the vehicle even in pitch-black darkness. It's a boon for LX owners who live on rural estates where street lighting is almost unheard of.
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. 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 next Lexus LX will have to be outstanding to exceed the standards set by this one.