Premium large SUV; Built in Japan
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $11,500 – $35,500*

1998 Lexus LX 470

1998 Lexus LX 470

1998 Lexus LX 470 interior

1998 Lexus LX 470

1998 Lexus LX 470

  • Acceleration
  • Build quality
  • Cargo room
  • Exterior finish
  • Interior materials
  • Passenger room
  • Ride
  • Fuel economy
  • Rear-seat entry/exit

Some less-costly SUVs offer more space, but the LX 470 is highly capable off-road and as comfortable as any competitor on-road. If this Lexus falls within the capacity of your pocketbook, why not take a spin?


The full-size sport-utility vehicle from Toyota’s luxury division got a name change for 1998, along with its new engine. Switching from 6-cylinder power to a new 4.7-liter V8, also destined for Toyota’s T100 pickup, the SUV was transformed from the LX 450 to the new LX 470. As before, it served as an upscale edition of Toyota’s Land Cruiser. Styling was new, and the V8 engine was a “first.” Each LX 470 had an independent front suspension and permanently engaged 4-wheel drive. No factory options were offered, apart from a power moonroof. Unlike Toyota’s Land Cruiser, the LX 470 was equipped with Adaptive Variable Suspension. That system included computer-controlled shock absorbers that selected from 16 damping levels to match the road surface. A switch permitted manual selection of firm, normal, or soft mode. Automatic Height Control also was exclusive to the Lexus edition, allowing the driver to set ride clearance to high, normal, or low level. That system switched to normal if vehicle speed exceeded 20 mph in high mode. Standard equipment included exterior running boards, leather-and-wood interior trim, rear air conditioning, and an in-dash CD changer. Rivals included the Acura SLX, GMC Yukon/Denali, Land Rover Range Rover, and Lincoln Navigator.

Yearly Updates

1999 LX 470
Only one change was noted for 1999: addition of a premium Nakamichi audio system to the factory’s options list.
2000 LX 470
A Vehicle Stability Control antiskid system became standard this year, incorporating Lexus’s new Brake Assist feature. That system automatically supplied full hydraulic pressure in response to quick, strong brake-pedal movement. Exterior running boards now were illuminated. Formerly optional, a power sunroof joined the standard-equipment list, while a leather-and-wood steering wheel became optional.
2001 LX 470
New for 2001 was a 9-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, and the LX’s first optional navigation system. Newly standard were a leather/wood steering wheel (optional before), second-row child-seat anchorages, dual rear cupholders, and revised keys and locks.
2002 LX 470
A navigation system was standard instead of optional on Lexus’s full-size SUV for ’02. The navigation system got revisions including multiroute calculation, simplified graphics, and route preview, along with a faster computer and the ability to play DVD movies on its dashboard screen.
2003 LX 470
Standard side airbags, a new 5-speed transmission, and a newly available night-vision system highlight 2003 for Lexus’s senior SUV. The V8 engine also got an additional 5 horsepower.
2004 LX 470
A new rearview camera is the only major addition to the LX 470 in 2004.
2005 LX 470
LX 470 continues on unchanged in 2005.
2006 LX 470
No changes for the LX 470 in 2006.
2007 LX 470
LX 470 carries over unchanged in anticipation of a model-year 2008 redesign.


longitudinal front-engine/4-wheel drive

Only one powertrain has been used in the LX 470: a 4.7-liter dual-overhead-cam V8 engine, producing 230 horsepower and coupled to a 4-speed automatic transmission.

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.7/285
Engine HP 230-5
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 320
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic

Road Test

The V8 engine is muscular enough to deliver brisk acceleration, helped by prompt, smooth shifts from the automatic transmission–whether up or down. An LX 470 yielded 15.4 mpg with plenty of highway driving, while an ’03 model averaged just 11.8 mpg in city driving. Premium fuel is recommended. Wind and road noise in a Land Cruiser can be noticeable, but the LX 470 is quieter, in keeping with its luxury mission. Luxury-grade sound deadening and a silken engine, in fact, help make the LX 470 quieter than many passenger sedans.

Ride comfort and control are good, both on-road and off. Though high-built, the LX 470 wagon does not feel ponderous around town. It also handles confidently except in fast corners, where marked (though predictable) body lean is the rule, coupled with a slight tipsy sensation.

Head room and rear leg room are good, in contrast to prior models. There’s also enough cabin width for three grownups in the middle bench seat. The third-row seat is cramped and inaccessible for all but a preteen couple. Middle-row entry/exit isn’t easy either, thanks to a tall step-up and narrow door bottoms. On the other hand, that high stance gives a commanding view of the road, though headrests impair vision out back. The LX 470’s body lowers automatically by a few inches when the ignition is switched off, which can ease entry/exit by a bit. The user-friendly dashboard has simple new rotary climate controls, though a few other switches aren’t so easy to see. Space behind the third-row seat is sufficient for grocery bags but not much more. That seat folds or removes fairly easily for generous maximum cargo room. The drop-down tailgate means there’s a long stretch to your cargo, but a plastic filler panel between the gate and the load floor makes sliding heavy items a little easier.


Model Tested: 2001 Lexus LX 470

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 5
Fuel Economy - 2
Ride Quality - 7
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 8


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 9
Room/Comfort Rear - 8
Cargo Room - 8


Value - 2

Total: 60


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
112.2 192.5 76.4 72.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
97.4 25.4 8
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.0 39.4 42.3 34.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: The A/C makes strange noises and the company will replace the expansion valve and/or one of the A/C lines with newer designs that prevent the problem. (1998-99)
Ball joints
Description: A buzzing or snapping noise from the front suspension is caused by a problem with the lower ball joint. (1998)
Brake noise
Description: The front brakes make a rattling noise unless new antirattle springs are installed. (1998)
Brake noise
Description: If not properly adjusted, the parking brake rattles when driving over bumps. (1998)
Hard starting
Description: The engine may not start if another transponder is on the same key ring as the original immobilizer key (1998-01)
Vehicle noise
Description: If the cross bars of the roof rack are installed improperly, wind noise (howling sound) occurs above 25 mph. (1998)

Recall History

Description: Some daytime running lights may luminate too intensely, possibly blinding an oncoming driver.
Description: The construction of the steering shaft is such that the snap ring on the shaft may disengage when the vehicle experiences an unusually severe impact to the front wheels. If the snap ring becomes disengaged and the steering wheel is then repeatedly turned to the locked position, over time the steering shaft may become disconnected. This could result in loss of steering control increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the snap ring with a newly designed one and install an additional component, which will prevent separation of the steering shaft. This service will be performed free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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