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Lexus LX 570 SUV review

One-Week Test Drive + Car Review: Lexus LX 570 SUV

Lexus LX 570 SUV review

MSRP: Standard LX V8 – $83,855
MSRP: Luxury LX V8 – $91, 469
MPG: 12 City / 17 Hwy
ENGINE: 90° V8 / TYPE 5.7 L / DISPLACEMENT 383 @ 5,600

The Lexus LX 570 SUV is a luxury SUV originally designed in the late 1990s.  Just as in the 90’s, the elegant, roomy interior of the LX 570 is sure to please your family – maybe as much as it did mine.   The Lexus LX 570 is designed as an off-road crossover vehicle, with a high ground clearance and a towing capacity of 7,000 pounds.   The LX is perfect for traveling on the interstate or traversing rugged terrain, something that we don’t have much of in our parts of Georgia, but I took the LX 570 up our local ‘mountain’ during which it performed beautifully – quietly and with ease.

Specialized safety features have been incorporated into the LX 570 SUV, making it appealing to parents in particular.

In today’s world, SUVs are becoming smaller and some even less durable.  The Lexus LX 570, however, does not follow this trend.   This SUV has maintained its large size, with capabilities that are the modern equivalent of those from 20 years ago.   Flashback – Do you remember when automatic locks were made available in cars and we didn’t have to push the lock down anymore?  Thinking back at the Volvo stationwagon I grew up with, I remember the manual locks so well I could probably draw it for you if I had the time.

Lexus LX 570 SUV Navigation

Source: Lexus.com

Moving on from flashbacks.. The 2015 Lexus LX has new technological features, including HD radio with iTunes tagging, a Navtraffic app to help the driver easily navigate through traffic and the specialized Siri Eyes-Free compatibility feature, allowing the user to connect his or her smartphone to the vehicle’s touchscreen control panel and operate it with Siri.

Because the LX seats eight, this vehicle is perfect for families. Safety features include a rearview camera, a must-have feature for any vehicle I drive, for use when backing up, 10 airbags and a pre-collision warning system. Many important features, such as audio and cell phone connectivity, can be controlled hands-free through Bluetooth. Additional features include: leather upholstery, mahogany wood trim, a 14-way power driver’s seat, a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, the unique Lexus Enform infotainment system, Bluetooth audio streaming, iPod and USB input ports, stability control and an Emergency Assistance feature that attempts to make contact with the driver after a serious accident and contacts emergency dispatchers if the driver fails to respond in a suitable manner.

Lexus LX 570 SUV review

One of the heaviest SUVs available, the Lexus LX handles very well compared to smaller SUVs.  The smooth ride is a result of an intricate three-mode suspension feature, a V8 383HP engine and 20-inch tires, making the ride as comfortable as possible for the occupants.  The Active Height Control System (X-AHC) and Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system on the LX combine to automatically raise the vehicle’s height by up to three inches and allow greater wheel articulation to better accommodate rough conditions.   While we didn’t go offroading, the kids each got to lift the LX 570 a couple of times, providing them with excitement beyond what I imagined it could.   The specialized steering system provides optimum performance, giving the Lexus LX an agile and quick response. The very quiet cabin allows the owner of the Lexus to either fully enjoy music or to simply relax in the peaceful silence.

Unfortunately, the weight of this vehicle contributes to its emissions anything but green.  The miles per gallon are 12MPG in the city and 17MPG on the highway.

The kids will especially appreciate the rear-mounted TV screens on the back of the front seats – my kids loved them!  This feature helps keep children occupied during long drives, allowing you to focus on driving with minimal interruption. What a bonus! For families with smaller children, the cup holders provided for each occupant will be invaluable for holding toddlers’ beverages.

Lexus LX 570 Interior

The cargo space offered by the Lexus LX 570 is truly amazing. The staggering 83.1 cubic feet available ensures that you can take all the gear you need to for the next camping or road trip. Both of the rear rows of seats offer fully automatic fold features. The third row does not lie flat, but rather along the sides, allowing for the hauling of tents, luggage or other gear. While the legroom in the second row of seats is perfect for children as well as adults, the limited spacing in the third row could become uncomfortable for adults.

The Lexus LX 570 may be pricey, but the exclusive features of this luxury vehicle are well worth it. For many years, the Cadillac Escalade was the pinnacle of luxury SUVs, but the latest version of the Lexus LX is quickly moving up the charts.

If you have any questions about the Lexus LX 570, ask in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer.

Contact your local Lexus dealer to schedule a test drive with your family today!

2014 Toyota Highlander Review

2014 Toyota Highlander: A Quiet and Powerful Family SUV

MSRP: Starting at $27,650

Family Car Review - Test Drive

You’ve probably seen the commercials for the new 2014 Toyota Highlander.  The one where the Muppets burst into a house of bored family members one of which is looking up Old Faithful on his tablet.  “If you wanna see Old Faithful don’t be such a couch potato” the Muppets say.  “Yea just go check out the thing for yourself. We ain’t got no room for boring.”, sing the Muppets.  The family and the Muppets visit Old Faithful. That’s the way to do it; why just look amazing places up on your tablet when you hop in the car and drive there?

The 2014 Toyota Highlander is the 3rd generation of Highlander and it has been redesigned with bold new exterior styling, family friendly features and the latest in advanced safety and audio technology.  All of this while still maintaining it’s Toyota DNA of quality, durability and reliability.  The Highlander is available in front-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations, with a choice of six trim levels: LE (FWD only), LE V6, LE Plus V6, XLE V6, Limited V6 and Limited Platinum V6. The LE is powered by a 185-hp 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine, while all other trims get the 270-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine.  The Highlander ranges in price from $29,000 to about $47,000.

2014 Toyota Highlander Review

Before I go into detail about the 2014 Toyota Highlander, let me tell you about some of the features I look for in a vehicle and why.

  • I am a mother of two.  I have a 14 year old son and a 7 year old daughter.
  • My son plays Lacrosse which requires transporting his very large Lacrosse stick and other (smelly) equipment to and from practices and games therefore I need ample trunk/cargo storage space.
  • My 7-year-old likes to have playdates and I want to have enough seating for everyone to sit comfortably and safely in my vehicle so I look for ample (4+ seats) and easy access seating.
  • My kids and I drink a ton of water so I need at least one cup holder per passenger if not more.  During road trips I switch between water and Diet Coke.  You know how that is.   
  • I like to be cold but my kids and husband would be happy to stay in the desert for a few days so I appreciate dual and/or 3 zone climate control.
  • I have back issues from a car accident and use my heated seat 90% of the time I’m in the car, even in the summer so having heated seats is very important to me.
  • I drive a lot of short distances (to and from sports, etc) and don’t want to fill up my tank every few days which is where good city driving mileage comes in.
  • Back to having two kids…before I had a vehicle with a backup camera, it took about 10 minutes for me to back out of my driveway.  Not exactly 10 minutes but longer than now.  I  couldn’t help but wonder if one of the kids had run out to tell me goodbye again.  A backup camera is a must!
  • I am short; 5’1″ to be exact.  Being short makes it difficult for me to see further than the hood of some vehicles like my husband’s Ford Mustang (hello phonebook seating).   I look for highly adjustable seats and when the seats are programmable that is even better.
  • Last but not least, my kids are kids.  They enjoy watching a movie during road trips and I enjoy the peace and quiet I get when they watch a movie with their wireless headphones.  A DVD entertainment system is very nice and helpful to have.

Now that you know the story of my life and what I look for in a vehicle, let’s move on to my experience with the 2014 Toyota Highlander.

For purposes of this review I am going to focus on my favorite Highlander model, the Limited.  The Limited is just above the mid-range model, the XLE, priced at $36,040. For purposes of this review, I test-drove the Highlander Limited for one week which starts at $39,640 and is the only model below in cost to the Hybrid model.

2014 Toyota Highlander

If you have young children, they probably spend quite a bit of time in the car. Between appointments, playdates, daycare or school, and family outings, it may even seem like your family lives in the car sometimes. To make that time enjoyable, safe, and affordable, consider getting a vehicle like the 2014 Toyota Highlander.

Highlander Safety

There are a myriad of safety features on the Highlander, like the Star Safety System that has six different ways to keep you from crashing, ventilated disk brakes, backup camera, blind spot monitor, advanced airbag system, child safety seat restraints, and automatic tire pressure monitor. You’re less likely to crash driving a Highlander, but if you do crash, you’re more likely to remain uninjured.

Highlander Comfort

As far as seating goes, it’s always better to go with too many seats than too few. You never know when friends or extended family will want to take a road trip. This vehicle can seat up to eight people, and to add to the spacious comfort, the back seats recline for napping.  The Limited model seats 7, with the middle row being two captain chairs.

Highlander Engine and MPG

For an eight-passenger vehicle, it also gets good gas mileage. At 19 miles per gallon in the city and 25 miles per gallon on the highway, it’s an affordable way to transport your kids or a whole group. It also has a pretty big engine – it can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Highlander Entertainment

One of the best things about the Highlander is that both kids and adults will be entertained. With the touch screen in the front, you can listen to music, buy movie tickets, and look at different dining options. There’s also an option to put a DVD system in for the kids.

Highlander Price

The 2014 Toyota Highlander is a top-notch vehicle and may seem expensive at first glance, but if you can swing it, it’s worth every penny.  If you add on many features, it could cost you over $40,000, but starting at just under $30,000, it can actually cost around the average price of a new vehicle.

2014 Toyota Highlander Interior

My favorite features of the 2014 Toyota Highlander include:

  • Seating for 7 to 8 passengers
  • In-dash shelf built into the dashboard – great for keys, phones, wallet
  • Oversized center console that is big enough to fit a purse or diaper bag
  • Backup camera (I can’t do without one of these since having one)
  • Second and third row air vents
  • Panoramic Moonroof
  • SiriusXM w/NavTraffic satellite radio
  • Entune Audio Systems which include hands-free Bluetooth streaming technology and advanced voice recognition
  • Lane Departure Alert (love this added safety feature!)
  • 6.1 inch standard touchscreen
  • Three zone climate control
  • Tilt and telescopic steering wheel – great for shorties like me!
  • Universal remote transmitter (for garage doors)
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • 8 inch ground clearance; great for people like me who like to feel higher up than I do in a sedan which has an average ground clearance of 5-6 inches. The ground clearance on the Highlander is about an higher than the average minivan.

I took the Highlander for a drive on some twisty and bumpy roads to see how it would perform and was impressed with the smooth handling and stable steering during those drives.  The 248 lbs.-feet of torque and 270 horsepower surely contributed to the Highlander’s speedy 0-60 acceleration of just under 8 seconds.  Just as impressive was the quiet cabin during any type of ride whether on the highway, bumpy roads or to soccer  practice on local roads.   This is something I appreciate as a parent. I appreciate being able to hear what my child sitting in the 3rd row is saying to me without having to use a walkie-talkie.

Choosing a vehicle is a big decision, perhaps only second to buying a house. This means you will want to thoroughly research any vehicle before making a decision. By choosing the 2014 Toyota Highlander, you can rest assure that you are driving your family in a vehicle that is safe, comfortable, and gets good gas mileage.

Find a Toyota dealership near you and take the Highlander for a spin with your family.  It just might be the perfect SUV for your family!

What do you think about the Toyota Highlander?

I was provided with a 2014 Toyota Highlander Limited for one week to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Car Review: 2014 GMC Acadia Crossover SUV – Denali Trim

For a superior luxury crossover, the 2014 GMC Acadia Denali is well defined crossover SUV that carries all the creature features you look for and more.  With impressive styling, solid performance and handling, as well as incredible safety innovations, the 2014 Acadia Denali will easily win over your heart and the hearts of your husband and kids too.

2014 GMC Acadia Denali review

The 2014 Acadia’s Superb Body Styling

Sporting a bold, sleek exterior and eye-catching curves and lines, the 2014 GMC Acadia Denali will definitely turn heads. Plus, she’s looking even better with some great updates such as a newly designed front chrome grille, 20” aluminum wheels and stylish front and back lighting featuring HED xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps and projector halogen fog lamps.    Brilliant chrome accents, bold front and rear fascias and nicely-designed exhaust outlets add contemporary touches, creating a distinct and classic crossover.
You’ll really appreciate the dual heated mirrors that tilt and reverse to give you excellent curb view when backing up.   During our recent trip to Tybee Island and Savannah, we had to squeeze into some tight parallel parking spaces and the finely adjustable side mirrors came in very handy.
The 2014 Acadia Denali SUV also comes with a tilt-sliding dual SkyScape 2-panel power sunroof for an inspiring view of the sky while you drive and privacy glass to keep your little world private.  The kids loved looking out the sunroofs during our road trip whether it was daylight or dark.
2014 GMC Acadia Denali review

The Well-Designed Cabin

Along with the newest technologies, such as the smart slide seating system and Color Touch radio, there are so many goodies that make every driving experience so pleasurable. I particularly enjoyed the stunning leather-wrapped steering wheel with Mahogany wood trim along with remote keyless entry and climate control.   The kids kept comfortable at their desired temperature in the middle row while my husband kept his side of the front around 77 degrees and I, at a cool 68 degrees.
The cabin of the 2014 GMC Acadia Denali SUV is, needless to say, comfortable, quiet and filled with so many conveniences. Better than ever, you’ll love the beautiful leather seating that easily allows you to stretch your legs. Enjoy the multi-power front seats that are heated or cooled to your liking. I kept my seat heated for the majority of our drive to and from Tybee Island while my husband kept his seat cooled.  The heated seat helps tense muscles on long drives, especially those during which children are involved.  🙂
With a total of three rows of seats, you can still fit your cargo with 24 cu. feet left over, or use the handy rear cargo area storage system to keep organized. For those times when you need even more room for your stuff, GMC already figured that out: just fold down both rear seats and, presto, you have an incredible 116 cu. feet of storage room.

Color Touch Radio and IntelliLink

The Acadia Denali carries an impressive high resolution, customizable color touchscreen with responsive touch controls and features infotainment and the optional IntelliLink. With IntelliLink, you can enjoy Bluetooth connectivity, SmartPhone integration, Stream Pandora, Stitcher Internet Radio and HD Radio. You also get a 3 month, free trial of SiriusXM 7 satellite radio that features voice command, navigation with multiple map views, complete traffic updates and more. Enjoy the premium Bose 10-speaker audio system that will keep everyone entertained for hours.

2014 GMC Acadia Denali safety features

Safety Features

The 2014 GMC Acadia has an incredible amount of safety features to give and everyone with you the peace of mind you need in any weather condition. With high crash test scores by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2014 Acadia Denali will keep you and your loved ones safe and sound. Plenty of safety features you’ll appreciate include a rear vision camera to give you a clear view of what’s behind you. There’s also stabilitrak, which works alongside the vehicle’s braking system and traction control for safe driving in all weather conditions. Side Blind Zone Alert and Cross-Traffic Technology are intelligent engineering features that employ a radar to detect unseen cars or a possible collision and sound a warning.
Head-Up Display is another an exciting innovation included in the GMC Acadia Denali. This feature known as HUD projects information you select right up onto your windshield so you can keep a close eye on the road and stay informed while you drive. For road trips, this in an invaluable innovation you’ll really prize.   At first I was concerned that the head-up display would be distracting but after being on the highway for an hour I depended on it and found it to be invaluable.  I loved not having to take my eyes off the road to see how fast I was driving or what my next navigation step was.

Explore, Build, or Test Drive a GMC Acadia Today!

Alicia, The Mommy Insider blog author

First Impression Of The New Mercedes Benz 2013 GL-Class SUV

I am in Santa Fe, NM to test drive the 2013 GL-Class SUV from Mercedes-Benz.  Much like the two Mercedes-Benz models I have test-driven in the past, the S550 sedan and the 2012 M-Class SUV, the GL-Class is beautiful to look at and an absolute dream to drive.

Mercedes-Benz 2013 GL-Class SUV front grill
The front grill is gorgeously designed

Regardless if one is Roger Federer or the ordinary head of a family with a few children, the all-new, second generation Mercedes 2013 GL-Class luxury SUV is a great choice for a new vehicle. Both comfortable and well-built, the sleek new design will be sure to draw appreciative glances from onlookers. In addition to the unrivaled quality and design inherent to all Mercedes-Benz products, the GL offers a wide array of the most modern automobile technologies sure to interest the discerning buyer. In addition to the new anything but standard 4.7 liter V-8 sporting a beefy 362 HP, buyers can opt for the powerful but efficient BlueTec diesel and its 455 lb-ft of torque, or the truly vigorous performance of the GL 550’s biturbo V-8. Standard equipment on all 2013 GL350 and GL450 models includes heated front power seats, Bluetooth phone pairing, a power tailgate, and rain-sensing wipers.  I was lucky enough to drive the GL550 for a few hours today and had the option of trying out the front seats with massage but saved that feature for tomorrow when I’ll be driving the vehicle for a while longer.

The all-new standard features of the GL-Class SUV include the Command infotainment system, and Crosswind Stabilization. Many more cutting edge options such as the Surround View Camera and the amazing Collision Prevention Assist can be added to an already impressive checklist of standard features.

Mercedes-Benz 2013 GL-Class
Mercedes-Benz 2013 GL-Class {Photo source: mbusa.com}

Whether sitting in front or back, the Mercedes-Benz 2013 GL-Class offers a truly luxurious cabin that can be customized to the driver and passenger’s content. Class-leading ergonomics and pinpoint control provide a safe and invigorating driver experience. All occupants will delight in the quiet smooth ride until now unseen in SUV’s. Features like voice control, harman/kardon audio, and available rear-seat entertainment ensure passengers will be more than content even on long family road trips. But amenities aside, the new GL is built first and foremost for usability and practicality. Easy third-row seating access, 94 cubit feet of interior cargo space, generous seating, a 7,500 lb tow capacity, and the all-weather, off-road capability of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive all add up to a vehicle ready and eager to get to work.

The 2013 GL-Class fits the bill for the discriminating buyer looking for a full-time family vehicle with its total package of comfort, reliability, generous room for seven, and voluminous cargo capacity. Be it toting twins in car seats, shuttling a crowd of teenage footballers, or towing the family boat up to the lake, the new GL-Class has it all in hand.

What impresses me most, however, is the dazzling array of high-tech safety features that make this vehicle potentially on of the safest ever both on and off the road. The radar-based Collision Prevention Assist provides a revolutionary ability to avoid collisions due to driver distraction or drowsiness, and can be augmented by the Available Driver Assistance Package featuring DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control with PRE-SAFE® Brake, Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist. If all this doesn’t suffice, the complement of 13 airbags are always waiting.  I can’t leave out a bit of detail about the Surround View Camera.  This is a fabulous safety feature that all parents can appreciate.  Much like a standard backup camera, the Surround View Camera actually activates and pops up as soon as you put the vehicle in reverse.   In addition to see what is behind the vehicle as you are backing up, you also see an aerial view of the vehicle and the surroundings.

For the buyer that craves the S-Class experience, but must bow to the practical realities (and joys) of life with children, the GL-Class is a great choice.

Read more 2013 GL-Class reviews from other bloggers:


Alicia Hagan, Editor

Disclosure: Mercedez-Benz invited me to Santa Fe, NM to test drive the 2013 GL-Class.  All expenses were paid but I was not compensated financially in any way and all opinions are 100% my own.   

2012 Mercedes Benz M-Class SUV Review

Moms drive.. a lot.   Between school, after-school activities, gymnastics, swim, Boy Scouts, doctor appointments, shopping, and visiting family and friends, moms are always on the go. That’s why it’s extremely important that our vehicle be safe and comfortable.

The 2012 Mercedes Benz M-Class, the 3rd generation M-Class SUV, covers both of those areas very well and you’ll be surprised by the affordable price.

For the launch of its brand-new 2012 M-Class SUV, Mercedes-Benz invited myself and other writers to Montana’s Paws Up ranch, the perfect place for test driving an SUV.

Drive and Handling

Starting off with a tame ride, myself and my driving partner took turns driving the M-Class from Paws Up Resort to the Continental Divide.  During the drive, I found steering the M-Class through sharp turns and steep hills to be precise and efficient.  The M-Class handled less than sexy off-road terrain with ultimate grace.  My driving partner (Stacie) and I took the M-Class on an off-road course which you’d think would have given me aches and pains from the bumpy ride but the ride was unbelievably smooth.  Stacie kept asking me “Did you feel that?  We just went into a pothole Alicia!”.   We’re talking pretty hard core off-roading, not a dirt road.  The M-Class has great suspension making for a smooth ride on the bumpiest of dirt roads.   Fragile wooden bridges, steep cliffs, and fast driving were involved.  Yes, we were happy women during that drive!  Stacie even had me photograph a part of the drive.  We call lovingly refer to the photograph as “Eat My Dust”.


M-Class steering wheel accented with Burl Walnut wood to match interior finish


What I noticed right away when I first drove the ML350 was how soft the steering wheel was.  Just ask Stacie, I said “I love this steering wheel!  It feels like butter”.  The M-Class interior is sexy and easy on the eyes.



ATTENTION ASSIST is a standard feature on the M-Class.  The innovative ATTENTION ASSIST system alerts the driver to the first signs of drowsiness, a factor that causes more than 100,000 accidents a year in the U.S.  A steering sensor is coupled to smart software that uses 70 different parameters to establish a unique driver profile during the first 20 minutes of driving.


Featuring a color-LCD display, the Cockpit Management and Data (COMAND) system gives you convenient control of audio, video, hands-free calling and optional navigation functions. Many features can also be accessed via the integrated steering-wheel controls.


The COMAND system (optional) features a color-LCD display and gives you convenient control of audio, video, hands-free calling and optional navigation functions. 


The M-Class comes in two models:

  • The thrifty ML350 BlueTEC diesel now has considerably more power (240 horsepower, 455lb.-ft of torque)
  • ML350 4MATIC is equipped with a brand new direct-injection V6 engine (302 hp,273 lb.-ft.)

More about the Mercedes 2012 M-Class:

Disclosure: Mercedes Benz paid for my flight and accommodations on this trip, but did not compensate me for this review or require that I write a review. My opinions are my own.

Alicia Hagan, Editor