Downside: It's expensive and built to stay that way. If you buy the LX 470, you may as well purchase shares in an oil company. Heck, if you can afford this one, you probably already own some.
Ride, acceleration and handling: It's okay in all three categories for an SUV. But keep in mind that the LX 470's predecessor, the Toyota Land Cruiser, was originally designed to conquer the toughest off-road terrain, as opposed to the smoothest racetrack. BMW lovers need not apply.
Head-turning-quotient: People like rich things, even when they flirt with gaudiness. The same holds true for this Trump-mobile.
Body style/layout: The LX 470 is a full-size, front-engine, four-wheel-drive sport-utility vehicle with four side doors and a rear hatch.
Capacities: It can seat up to eight people. Luggage capacity with the two rear seats folded and latched to their respective walls is 19.1 cubic feet. Maximum cargo capacity with center and rear seats folded is 90.4 cubic feet. The LX 470 can carry 1,270 pounds aboard (payload capacity) and can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Fuel capacity is 25.4 gallons of premium gasoline.
Mileage: We averaged 14 miles per gallon driving mostly on the highway.
Engine/transmission: The LX 470 is equipped with a 4.7-liter V-8 that develops 235 horsepower at 4,800 revolutions per minute and 320 foot-pounds of torque at 3,400 revolutions per minute. The engine is linked to a standard five-speed automatic transmission.
Safety: The most notable components are the front and rear head air bags and the standard rearview camera. Please be aware that you can still back over and kill or injure a child with the rearview camera in operation. That is why a cautionary note appears at the bottom of the center console's display screen, urging you to get out and look around the vehicle before backing up -- the same thing you should do when using traditional rearview mirrors. There is no substitute for adult supervision.
Changes for 2005: Nothing substantial.
Price for 2004 model: Base price is $64,475. Dealer's invoice price on base model is $56,091. Price as tested is $70,295, including $5,195 in options and a $625 destination charge. Dealer's invoice price with options and destination fee is $60,691. Price sources include Lexus and Edmunds.com.
Purse-strings note: The 2005-model prices may be comparable. Compare. Save $2,200 and delete the "night view" option, which doesn't work well. Save lots of money and buy the Land Cruiser instead. If you are more interested in off-road driving than you are in Taj Mahal motoring, forget the LX 470 and the Land Cruiser and get the wonderfully competent, okay-to-muddy-and-scratch, substantially less expensive Toyota 4Runner.