2016 Lexus GX 460 Review
Pros & Cons
- Capable off-road performer
- plenty of luxury features.
- Uncomfortable second-row seats
- inconvenient side-swinging cargo door
- V8's lackluster acceleration and poor fuel economy
- relatively ponderous handling.
Edmunds' Expert Review
A traditional midsize SUV with three rows of seating, the 2016 Lexus GX 460 is capable off-road, yet manages to coddle its occupants on pavement. Still, most luxury crossover SUVs offer better on-road performance and passenger comfort.
Only a couple of automakers (Land Rover and Lexus) bother to build luxury SUVs with worthwhile off-roading capability these days. Lexus, in fact, has a couple of capable off-roaders in its lineup, one of which is the 2016 GX 460. Based on a Japanese-market Toyota called the Land Cruiser Prado (Lexus is a division of Toyota), the GX 460 combines traditional body-on-frame construction, a high-clearance suspension and a full-time four-wheel-drive system to enable serious off-roading.
The 2016 Lexus GX 460 is one of the few SUVs that's at home on-road or off.
The GX 460 is still a luxury-biased SUV, though. It rides softly (especially if you specify the optional air springs) and its 301-horsepower V8 engine delivers all the power one needs in the urban cut-and-thrust. Interior quality is also up to Lexus standards of luxury. But there are some notable drawbacks here, including an aging tech interface and a backseat that offers less space and comfort than newer crossovers that cast a similar-size shadow.
If you spend more time on the pavement rather than off of it, there are other crossover SUVs that will serve you better. The 2016 Acura MDX and 2016 BMW X5 lack the GX's off-road chops but they deliver more interior space, better on-road performance and handling and higher fuel economy. If you insist on detouring through the jungles of Cameroon on your way to Neiman Marcus, consider the Land Rover LR4, which is equally capable off-road. And while you're considering your options, don't overlook Lexus' own RX-series, freshly redesigned for 2016. Though technically lower in the Lexus lineup, it's more comfortable and now boasts a pleasingly sporty demeanor. In our opinion, the 2016 Lexus GX 460 should only be on your shopping list if you really need an SUV that is as good off-road as on.
2016 Lexus GX 460 models
The 2016 Lexus GX 460 is a seven-passenger luxury SUV offered in two main trim levels: Base and Luxury.
Standard features on the base model include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED (low-beam) headlights, a sunroof, roof rack side rails, rear privacy glass and a rear spoiler. Inside you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats (with two-way power lumbar), driver memory settings, a sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split second-row seat and a 50/50-split third-row seat. Tech features include a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment interface and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, Siri Eyes Free, satellite radio, HD radio and two USB ports.
The GX 460 feels fairly old inside, as the basic layout of the center stack and steering wheel hasn't changed much since 2010.
There are many optional features on the GX 460, but keep in mind that they can be packaged together differently depending on where you live. On the base model you can opt for the Premium package that adds different LED foglights, automatic wipers, a windshield de-icer, front and rear parking sensors, upgraded interior trim, perforated leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated (outboard) second-row seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, a navigation system and Lexus' Enform smartphone app system.
Stepping up to the Luxury trim gets you all of the above equipment plus an adaptive suspension with rear auto-leveling air springs, headlight washers, auto-dimming side mirrors, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert (available separately on lesser models), a heated steering wheel, mahogany wood trim on the steering wheel and shift knob, upgraded leather upholstery, a cargo cover and power-folding third-row seats.
Options on the Luxury model include a 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, a rear seat video entertainment system and the Driver Support package, which includes the off-road-oriented Crawl Control feature, automatic high beam headlight control, adaptive cruise control (includes a pre-collision warning system), a lane departure warning system, additional front and side parking cameras and the Mark Levinson audio system.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 Lexus GX 460 has a 4.6-liter V8 engine that produces 301 hp and 329 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is a full-time four-wheel-drive system with a dual-range transfer case. A tow prep package with a trailer wiring harness is standard, and the GX 460 can tow up to 6,500 pounds.
In Edmunds testing, the GX 460 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, a below-average time for a luxury SUV. EPA-estimated fuel economy is underwhelming, however, at just 17 mpg combined (15 city/20 highway).
The 2016 Lexus GX 460 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, a rearview camera, front and rear seat side airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, and side curtain airbags that cover all three rows. Also standard is Lexus Safety Connect emergency communications (with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator and emergency assist). The available Lexus Enform system can provide additional control of vehicle functions and information via a smartphone app.
There are also a number of safety features that are either optional or come bundled in higher trim levels, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, a lane departure warning system and a frontal collision warning and preparation system (which determines if a crash is imminent and automatically tightens the seatbelts and primes the braking system for a quicker response).
In Edmunds brake testing, the GX 460 came to a stop from 60 mph in 127 feet, a longer than average distance for this segment.
For an SUV built on traditional body-on-frame underpinnings, the 2016 Lexus GX 460 delivers a ride quality that's a good bit smoother than you might expect. Handling around turns is secure, and the available adaptive suspension (which can be set in one of three modes from soft to firm) helps out in this regard. But compared to the likes of the Acura MDX or BMW X5, the GX 460 is relatively ponderous to drive. In particular, its steering and brakes are a bit slow to respond, a consequence of Lexus' attempt to tune them for both on- and off-road use.
The GX's thirsty V8 engine is underpowered for this class.
The GX 460's 4.6-liter V8 produces sufficient power for everyday driving, but ends up being a bit outmatched when called on to move the vehicle's bulk in situations like highway passing. The transmission is smooth, though occasionally it can be hesitant to downshift.
All seems right with the world when you leave the pavement behind, though. The Lexus GX 460's four-wheel drive and available Crawl Control feature could very well make you feel invincible. Select one of Crawl Control's three speed presets, and the computer takes over both the accelerator and brake pedal, leaving you to concentrate on steering with a minimum of fuss.
The 2016 Lexus GX 460 maintains a decidedly traditional look inside and forgoes the more modern widescreen monitor and Remote Touch interface present in newer Lexus models. Still, the GX's cabin is attractive and nicely put together. It's hard to find fault with the quality of the soft leather and genuine wood trim that are standard in the top-of-the-line Luxury model, but the leatherette upholstery (a nice way of saying vinyl) in the base model seems a bit low-rent for a vehicle in this price range. Front seats are plenty comfortable, but the hard and flat second-row bench is noticeably less so. The dinky third-row seats are suitable for small children only.
While it has seating for seven, the interior of the 2016 Lexus GX 460 is not very comfortable for second- or third-row passengers.
Folding the second- and third-row seats down creates a cargo hold with 64.7 cubic feet of space, which is a bit underwhelming given the GX's bulk. Accessing that space is complicated by the fact that the tailgate is hinged on the passenger side, which makes it difficult to load the GX from the curb. However, the tailgate does have a convenient lift-up rear glass window that makes it easier to carry long items like surfboards or lumber.