What Is It?
2020 Lexus GX 460 First Look
Minor Additions for Lexus' Decade-Old SUV
The Lexus GX 460 is a large three-row SUV that slots between the RX 350 midsize crossover and the full-size LX 570. It hasn't seen a redesign in a full decade, but Lexus hopes that several key updates for 2020 will keep this old-school utility vehicle on shoppers' lists.
Chief among the 2020 Lexus GX 460's additions is a new front-end treatment, with a redesigned grille and headlights that look like those on other recently updated Lexus vehicles. Inside, the steering wheel is refreshed (complete with a new button layout), while the driver information screen inside the instrument panel features a sharper display. Several advanced driving aids that were optional on last year's GX — including lane departure warning, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams — are now standard.
A number of new option packages have been added to enhance the appeal of the 2020 model. The trick Kinetic Dynamic Suspension system has already made the GX 460 a favorite for luxury buyers who truly venture off the beaten path. The new Off-Road package beefs up the GX's rock-crawling cred. In addition to a few previously available options (including low-speed cruise control and bird's-eye and underbody cameras), this package adds a transmission cooler, fuel tank shield and traction settings that alter power delivery based on the surface you're driving on. There's also the new Sport Design package, which includes gray exterior trim, gray wheels and a matte-black exhaust tip.
Why Does It Matter?
The Lexus GX 460 is one of the few remaining body-on-frame SUVs — a style of body construction similar to pickup trucks, and one that has fallen out of favor as car-based crossovers become more popular. While body-on-frame construction doesn't allow for a truly supple ride, it gives the GX 460 a stronger backbone for better off-road and towing capability. Think of a Toyota 4Runner dressed in a tuxedo — and with 1,500 pounds more max towing capacity — and you're on the right track.
If you're just looking for deluxe three-row transport, however, the GX 460 falls short. Nearly every other competitor is more comfortable to drive and features more powerful and fuel-efficient engines. All other rivals are newer, too, with additional safety features, nicer infotainment systems and more luxurious accommodations.
What Does It Compete With?
When it comes to off-road capability, only a handful of vehicles can keep pace with the GX 460. If you just want to explore the great outdoors, you can choose a Jeep Wrangler or the GX's corporate sibling, the Toyota 4Runner. Neither offers the refinement of the Lexus, but both can be more capable on rock-crawling adventures.
In the luxury class, the Land Rover Discovery is a tough competitor. This seven-seat crossover offers the luxuries and features you'd expect of an SUV in this price range, but it also provides a fantastic off-road driving experience with the Capability package specified. A range of packages and options makes it feel a little more custom than the Lexus, although Land Rover's and Lexus' relative reputations for reliability might even the playing field a bit.
There are few better choices than the Lexus GX 460 if you want a leather-wrapped off-road machine at a price that is fairly reasonable given its capability and prestigious name badge. If you want the latest and greatest boulevardier, however, look elsewhere.