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By Jim Flammang
February 27, 2002
Vehicle Overview Lexus luxury version of the full-size Toyota Land Cruiser sport utility vehicle is unchanged for 2002. The two vehicles are similarly styled and share mechanical components, but the LX 470 promises more amenities for its higher sticker price. An optional DVD-based navigation system provides audio guidance, a video display when the transmission is in Park and audio directions when the transmission is in Drive.
Exterior The revised grille, headlamps and illuminated side running boards are the main appearance differences from the Land Cruiser. At 192.5 inches long overall, the LX 470 is about a foot shorter than the Lincoln Navigator. Mounted on a 112.2-inch wheelbase, the four-door SUV stands 72.8 inches tall and measures 76.4 inches wide.
Interior Seating for eight occupants is standard, with an interior configuration of twin front bucket seats and three-place middle and rear benches. All seats are trimmed in leather, and the rear seat is split 50/50. Both halves fold outward and can be secured to the sides of the interior, and the middle seat folds forward. The LX 470s cargo volume is 90 cubic feet 26 cubic feet less than the Navigators.
Under the Hood A 4.7-liter V-8 engine, which is shared with the Land Cruiser, produces 230 horsepower and teams with a four-speed-automatic transmission. Permanently engaged four-wheel drive is standard and is equipped with a locking center differential, limited-slip rear differential and traction control.
Safety Antilock brakes are standard, and Brake Assist detects when the driver is making a panic stop and applies maximum braking force. Lexus standard Vehicle Skid Control, an electronic stability system, applies brakes to wheels individually as needed.
Driving Impressions High up on the price scale, the LX 470 produces an undeniably luxurious experience and its flaws are mostly minor but those can be annoying. Getting inside is the first hurdle. Its a mighty big step up, though the running board helps. Once inside, the driver enjoys a commanding view and plenty of space.
Despite its abundant dimensions, the LX 470 doesnt really feel cumbersome; and its not as huge as some full-size rivals. Steering requires a moderately heavy touch but is by no means difficult. Though the LX 470 is stable on the highway, it never feels quite as secure in its lane as some smaller SUVs. The tires get a bit noisy on certain pavements, but otherwise this is an exceptionally quiet vehicle.
Performance is strong from a standstill, considering the ample weight being pushed. Acceleration from lower speeds isnt always so brisk, because gear changes are less than ideal when passing or merging. Even though the third-row seat looks snug, getting to it isnt so difficult because the right second-row seat folds all the way forward.