2018 Lexus GX
The Lexus GX 460 is a midsize luxury SUV that is based heavily on the smaller of Toyota's two world market Land Cruisers. With a leather-lined interior as well as robust body-on-frame construction, the GX 460 is Lexus' answer to those seeking a cushy SUV that can still perform off-road when necessary.
With their superior fuel efficiency and refined on-road dynamics, car-based crossovers are the ride of choice for most luxury buyers seeking big cargo space and an elevated seating position. Though their numbers have rapidly diminished due to the popularity of the crossover, there still exist a few traditional, truck-like SUV models that can claw their way through treacherous trails and over steep hills - if that's the capability that you need, or would just feel safer knowing that you have, then you should give the GX 460 a close look.
This SUV packs the right gear for heading off the beaten path, including a two-speed transfer case for its four-wheel-drive system and a crawl control system that lets the driver set a speed from 1 to 3.7 mph that the vehicle will automatically maintain - even when traveling through ruts, clambering over rocks or traversing sandy inclines.
That isn't to say that the GX 460 is uncouth when it comes time to return to the pavement. It can't match the handling sophistication of crossovers, but it's more wieldy than its off-roading prowess would suggest due to an available adaptive suspension that with computer-controlled dampers that automatically adjust to road conditions for improved responsiveness and ride comfort. Also included are adaptive stabilizer bars that firm up to reduce body roll during daily driving and can disconnect for better wheel articulation in the rough stuff.
Inside, the GX 460 delivers what one would expect of a Lexus - fine leather upholstery, wood trim and elegant lines, albeit integrated into a more upright, truck-like design than most of the luxury brand's other models. New for the latest model year is upsized eight-inch touchscreen that controls Bluetooth connectivity functions as well as entertainment and navigation systems through Lexus' Enform infotainment system. Enform also includes an App Suite that lets users search the internet with Bing, make resturaunt reservations with OpenTable, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com, look up reviews on Yelp, check in on Facebook places, and listen to Pandora and iHeartRadio internet radio.
Buyers can order Apple's Siri Eyes Free system, which uses the GX's steering wheel-mounted controls to access the Siri function of any iPhone equipped with iOS 6. Once linked, drivers can use voice commands to perform actions like make phone calls, play songs from iTunes, listen to and compose text messages and add appointments to their calendars.
The GX 460 provides seating for seven passengers across three rows of seats, although the rearmost row is most suitable children. When it comes time to carry cargo, folding down the 2nd and 3rd row seats results in a sizable 92 cubic inches of stowage space.
Exterior styling was revised for the latest model year, with Lexus' corporate "spindle" grille, new LED headlights and running lights as well as optional LED foglights being the major changes up front, At the rear, revisions include clear tail lamps and a revised bumper, while new wheels finish the look outside.
As its name implies, the GX 460 uses a 4.6-liter V8 that puts out 301 horsepower (up from 263) and 329 lb-ft. of torque (up from 323 lb-ft.). The motor is mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission and an off road-oriented two-speed four-wheel-drive system. Towing capacity maxes out a 6,500 lbs.
As a technology and luxury packed SUV, the GX 460 is no lightweight. Its mass and thirsty V8 mean that fuel economy isn't pretty - officially, the EPA rates the SUV at just 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.
Trim level breakdown
The GX 460 is available in Standard and Luxury trim levels.
The standard GX 460 comes standard with perforated leatherette upholstery, genuine wood trim, a moonroof, a rearview camera, a nine-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo system with an eight-inch touchscreen, USB and Aux inputs, HD radio with real-time traffic and weather, SiriusXM satellite radio, LED headlights and running lights, auto on/off headlights, power-adjustable front seats, memory functionality for the driver's seat, a household-style 115-volt power outlet in the cargo area, dual-zone automatic climate control and 18-inch alloy wheels.
An optional Premium Package brings leather upholstery, full mahogany wood trim, heated/ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, Intuitive Park Assist, a navigation system, tri-zone automatic climate control,rain-sensing wipers, LED foglights, windshield de-icer and unique 18-inch alloy wheels. Many of these features are available as stand-alone options on the standard GX 460.
The GX 460 Luxury features all of the Premium Package's goodies plus an adaptive suspension, a rear air suspension with auto leveling, a heated steering wheel, perforated semi-aniline leather upholstery, a wood-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, headlamp washers, electrochromic outer mirrors with auto retract, Blind Spot Monitoring system with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and unique 18-inch alloy wheels.
Options for the Luxury model include a 17-speaker, 330-watt Mark Levinson sound system, a rear seat entertainment system, and a Driver Support Package with Crawl Control, Intelligent high-beam, Lane Departure Alert, Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise control, wide-view front and side cameras and the Mark Levinson sound system.
Lexus Enform Service Connect and Lexus Enform Remote are available on both trims with a one-year subscription included. These services allow owners to monitor their vehicles and even control some simple functions (such as remote start and door locks) from their handheld devices.
The GX 460 comes standard with dual front and knee airbags, front and second row side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and traction and stability control systems.
As mentioned above, it can be fitted with numerous optional safety technologies, including blind spot monitoring with a rear cross traffic alert that warns the driver of approaching vehicles and pedestrians in backup situations; a lane departure alert system that warns the driver if the GX 460 begins to wander into an adjacent lane; a pre-collision system that identifies potential collisions and warns the driver, lightly applies the brakes and prepares the brake system to respond with increased force when the driver presses the pedal.
The Lexus GS 460 competes with the similarly-sized Mercedes-Benz GLE and the BMW X5. While those car-based crossovers offer similar amounts of luxury to the GS 460, the only 'ute that can best the big Lexus off-road is the Land Rover Discovery.