In this issue we drive two top-of-the-line SUVs. First up is the Lexus LX 570. It is based on the Toyota Land Cruiser, but it’s loaded up with more items for luxury travel.

This causes the base price to start at a hefty $91K. With options like upgraded sound system, leather trim and entertainment system, the total tab came to $98K. We did find it insulting to be charged an extra $105 for a cargo mat. Shouldn’t this be standard?

Under the hood is a 383-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8. It is the same basic engine found in the 381-hp Toyota version, but the Lexus requires premium fuel while the other uses regular. This seems a high price to pay for an extra 2 horsepower! I tried regular and didn’t see any difference.

A computer control knob provides Eco, Normal, Custom, Sport and Sport-plus modes of operation. An air suspension raises or lowers the vehicle. A 4x4 driveline allows off-road driving.

On the street, this huge barge has enough power and all the luxury needed. Taken off road, this can do anything the Land Cruiser can do. It’s a great rig if you can afford the gas. The EPA rates this at 13/18 mpg. I got 12/17 mpg regardless of fuel type used. The price tag and fuel cost is sky high, but you will know what it’s like to be king of the road.

For an SUV that’s more practical, the GMC Acadia is worth a look. The starting price of $31K is reasonable, but this was loaded up with options, so it hit $46K. Standard engine is a four-cylinder rated at 194 horsepower. This had the bigger V6 at 310 hp and all-wheel drive. Fuel economy is rated at 17/25 mpg. I got 18/24.

The cabin is nothing fancy, but materials and workmanship are good enough. Most controls are simple and easy to use. There is room for six or seven passengers depending on type of seats ordered.

The Acadia is pleasant to drive. Acceleration is strong, handling is very good, and the ride is comfortable. The ability to go off road is there too. The styling got approval from onlookers. Our only gripe was with the black paint, which caused the interior to heat up like an oven, but other colors are offered. Overall, this is a nice vehicle.


Chad Haire, of Phoenix, test-drives vehicles for this feature.

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