New baby and new car: hitting the road in a Lexus SUV.
Four days, one thousand miles, three adults, two kids and one luxury SUV were part our amazing road trip along the coast of Maine. Though a little nervous about embarking on this adventure with our five month old daughter and three year old son, we dove right into test driving the Lexus LX 570, a luxury eight passenger SUV. We were glad to have extra help when my mom joined us as we explored picturesque towns and feasted on fresh seafood.
High-end cabin features make the hours–and miles– fly by
When planning for long hours in a car on a multi-generational trip, space and comfort were our primary requirements. The second row seat in LX570 had spacious seating and leg room for one adult and two car seats so that no one felt cramped despite the long ride. My mom remarked about the back seat being one of the most comfortable compared to other similarly large sized SUVs. She and my son also reported they had good visibility of the beautiful fall scenery from the back seat.
Similar to the front seats, the second row seats could be individually adjusted by sliding back and forth with a push of a button. The third row seats, which we left folded up to accommodate our luggage, don’t fold down into the floor like other SUVs; they flip up to stow on the sides of the cargo space similar to the jump seats that flight attendants use on airplanes.
The black leather upholstery was sleek as well as comfortable. The quad-zone climate control was a coveted feature for my cold-loving toddler who often complains about my elevated temperature settings.
The heated seats and steering wheel of the Lexus were a much needed luxury for us adults, especially during the cold evening drives.
The cool box and multiple cup holders placed in between the front seats and also accessible to the second row came in very handy when traveling with two young kids. We had to remember to turn on the cool box a few minutes before use and it easily fit a couple of 5Oz milk bottles for the baby and a few bottles of mineral water.
The panoramic sunroof had three options: you could keep it open for fresh air, have a glass enclosed view or have it completely covered when it was far too bright outside.
Power and safety features that make managing a large SUV easy
The LX 570 is four-wheel-drive with a V8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. I found it easy to merge on the highway with the high power and rapid acceleration. Designed for off road driving, the Lexus provided a smooth ride on bumpy back roads – it even managed to not disturb our sleeping baby.
Of the many safety features, which include blind spot monitors, lane departure warning and park assist, we found the front view and rear view cameras made parking hassle free. The camera assist also made it easier on busy and narrow streets despite the large size of the SUV.
All you have to do is ask: voice controls make calls and get directions
The eight inch touchscreen and nine speaker surround sound system added to the high quality audio visual features of the car. The ability to connect multiple devices via bluetooth connection made it easy to access our entertainment and phone contacts via touchscreen. I loved how several of the touchscreen search functions are not available when the vehicle was in motion. It really helped to keep the driver focused despite our complacency and familiarity with touchscreen options.
When we needed directions, they were available hands free: with the push of a button I could ask for an address and get directions on the touch screen. Directions were easy to follow; we used the split screen which showed the route overview on one side and the upcoming lane details, so we had visual direction in addition to the voice.
We also used the voice commands to receive text messages on the screen and make calls using. We could connect our phones through Bluetooth or the USB port. The Lexus has multiple USB and 12 volt charge ports, so we could simultaneously charge devices – another must have for us.
The rear seats were outfitted with individual screens, attached to the back of the headrests, and wireless headphones. The long drive was made much easier for our three-year-old son, who could watch his favorite DVDs. And the wireless headphones meant he we didn’t all have to ‘enjoy’ it along with him.
Split audio meant the kids could listen to a DVD while we listened to the radio
Though it wasn’t intuitive on how to split the audio, my husband figured out the settings on the rear DVD screen so we could listen to our own audio book while our son was occupied with his movie.
And thankfully, we didn’t need it, but an SOS button on the upper console made it easy for driver or front row passenger to reach for outside help using Lexus Safety Connect.
Better design of storage space would be welcome
Though the space in LX570 was adequate for our party of five, including luggage, we did max out this eight passenger SUV. LX 570’s fold-up third-row seats took up prime usable space.
The storage space available when the third row seats are up can barely fit a full sized stroller. Having experienced the third row seats, I would only recommend it for children or smaller adults for any drive longer than a few minutes.
What we loved:
- Leather seating
- Push button start
- Smooth riding and faster acceleration
- Quad zone climate control
- Heated seats in front and second row
- Heated steering wheel
- Panoramic sunroof
- Automatic wipers
- Cool box compartment
- Bluetooth connectivity and electronic charging stations
- Dual screen DVD rear entertainment system
- Parking assist with front, rear and side view monitor
- Navigation system with split screen imaging
- 9 speaker sound system
- Lexus Enform Safety connect with Emergency Assistance Button (SOS)
What you need to know:
- Base price: $83,180; price of the model we tested, $91,983
- Seats eight
- Power sliding second row seats and power folding third row seats
- All wheel drive with V8 engine
- Seat mounted airbags front & second row
- EPA-estimated 12/17 mpg city/highway. We got just 14 mpg during our one thousand miles of mostly highway driving
- Premium fuel recommended for maximum fuel economy and power; though Lexus drivers report using regular fuel and getting the same MPG and MPH
- Dual screen DVD rear entertainment system, intuitive park assist with wide view front and side monitor cost an additional $3005
Disclosure: Lexus loaned us the LX570 for this test drive; opinions expressed are all my own