2018 Lexus GX 460

2018 Lexus GX 460 SUV Review

Compromised as either an off-roader or a luxury model, the GX 460 doesn't make much sense.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by James Riswick
Edmunds Editor

Evaluated in isolation, the 2018 Lexus GX 460 will probably wow you with its luxury-lined cabin, expansive features and smooth on-road ride. The trouble is that it has a rather dated design with diminishing appeal. In comparison, virtually every one of the GX 460's three-row luxury SUV rivals offers superior driving manners, interior space, power and fuel economy. They have even more features and are even more comfortable.

Of course, there are still some things to like about the GX 460, including its rugged, trucklike construction, commanding driving position, and the latest and greatest off-roading hardware Lexus has to offer. It should be able to take you wherever you want to go. Unfortunately, the aggressive new Lexus styling applied to the GX a few years ago took its toll on its approach angle and ground clearance.

As a result, the GX has less clearance than a Volvo XC90 — a vehicle that otherwise has nowhere near the GX's four-wheel-drive capabilities. At the same time, its trucklike construction significantly reduces its interior space and cargo-carrying versatility. The GX even retains an old-school swing-out tailgate that opens toward the curb.

In the end, there's just not enough to the 2018 Lexus GX 460 to warrant a recommendation. It's compromised no matter how you look at it.



what's new

There are only a few minor changes in available features for the 2018 Lexus GX 460.

we recommend

If you're seriously considering the GX 460, you probably want to venture off-road in it. But if that's the case, you'll want the added ground clearance the Luxury trim's adaptive air suspension provides. Without it, the GX 460's ground clearance is worse than some crossovers.

trim levels & features

The 2018 Lexus GX 460 is a large three-row SUV using traditional body-on-frame construction. It seats seven people standard. Available second-row captain's chairs reduce capacity to six. There are base and Luxury trim levels available. Both come with a 4.6-liter V8 engine (301 horsepower, 329 pound-feet of torque), a six-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.

Standard equipment on the base trim includes 18-inch wheels, a full-size spare tire, LED headlights, running boards, a flip-up rear window within the swing-out tailgate, roof rails, Lexus' Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (improves off-road traction), a sunroof, a rearview camera, and keyless ignition and entry.

Inside, you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, driver-seat memory settings, a power-adjustable steering column, a 40/20/40-split second-row seat (sliding, reclining, folding) and a 50/50-split folding third-row seat. Infotainment features include Lexus Enform emergency and remote vehicle services, an 8-inch touchscreen, two USB ports, Bluetooth, and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player and satellite and HD radio.

Stand-alone options include a blind-spot monitoring system (with rear cross-traffic alert), LED foglights, automatic wipers, a windshield de-icer, heated and ventilated front seats and a navigation system. The Premium package bundles most of those stand-alone options (minus blind-spot monitoring) and further adds parking sensors, heated second-row seats, leather upholstery and three-zone climate control. You can also add second-row captain's chairs.

The GX 460 Luxury comes with all of the above as standard plus an adaptive and auto-leveling suspension, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, headlight washers, a heated wood-trimmed steering wheel, a rear cargo cover, the second-row captain's chairs and upgraded leather upholstery.

Only the Luxury model can be enhanced with a 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, a two-screen rear seat entertainment system, and the Driver Support package, which adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and automatic braking, front- and side-view cameras, a driver inattention monitoring system, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, crawl control (an off-road, low-speed cruise control system) and the Mark Levinson sound system.

The Sport Design package adds special styling elements to the Premium or Luxury models.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Lexus GX 460 (4.6L V8 | 6-speed automatic | 4WD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

3.0 / 5.0

Acceleration3.0 / 5.0
Braking3.5 / 5.0
Steering2.5 / 5.0
Handling4.5 / 5.0
Drivability2.0 / 5.0

Comfort

4.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort2.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration5.0 / 5.0
Climate control5.0 / 5.0

Interior

4.5 / 5.0

Ease of use4.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.0 / 5.0
Driving position4.0 / 5.0
Roominess4.0 / 5.0
Visibility4.5 / 5.0
Quality4.5 / 5.0

Utility

3.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.0 / 5.0
Cargo space3.0 / 5.0

Technology

3.0 / 5.0

Audio & navigation3.5 / 5.0
Smartphone integration3.5 / 5.0
Driver aids2.5 / 5.0
Voice control2.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The GX 460 has much going for it but stumbles in key areas. Its transmission and gas pedal calibration get in the way of the willing V8. The suspension system gives it nimble handling, but the steering is lifeless and numb. And its impressive off-road hardware is foiled by low-slung bodywork.

acceleration

edmunds rating
The GX 460's 4.6-liter V8 has only 301 horsepower but is energetic enough to propel it from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. In normal use, though, the GX can feel lethargic owing to its heavy curb weight and economy-minded throttle pedal and transmission calibration.

braking

edmunds rating
Brakes feel reliable and responsive in everyday use. The pedal travel is a bit long, but not in an excessive way — it feels right. Our test sample stopped in a respectable 124 feet in our 60-mph panic stop test.

steering

edmunds rating
You don't have to turn the wheel much when parking and it'll make a tighter U-turn than you'd guess. The effort is neither too light not too heavy. Good at resisting crosswinds, too. But the response is dull and the feel is nonexistent — it's as if your fingertips have gone to sleep.

handling

edmunds rating
The GX comes with a clever suspension system that provides flat cornering on mountain roads yet automatically switches off to give excellent articulation when off-road. The result is a very nimble SUV for its size and height. No tippiness or stomach upset on the road to the lake with this one.

drivability

edmunds rating
The GX's transmission shifts very smoothly, which gives this SUV a refined demeanor. But the throttle pedal and transmission seem to play dumb when you want to accelerate smartly; it requires more pedal force than it should to accelerate and even more to trigger a downshift.

comfort

edmunds rating
It's quiet, the climate control system will please everyone, and the ride isn't liable to get your tummy rumbling. But make sure you test-sit those seats before you sign on the dotted line. Everyone is different in this regard, but we found it hard to get past the plank-like seat bottoms.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
Seats offer good lateral support and look comfy, but the leather seat bottoms and seatbacks feel flat and unyielding. A staffer who took it on a long road trip was uncomfortable within 10 minutes. The middle-row seats are flat and shapeless, apparently designed to fold rather than provide comfort.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
The GX 460 is generally smooth and airy without being floaty or buoyant. But ripples and patches in the asphalt often create a mild jostling motion and head toss, as if elements of the suspension are too taut and won't let the system relax.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
Extremely quiet on all fronts — there's little wind, road or engine noise. It's a nice quiet backdrop whether you're having a conversation or listening to the high-end stereo.

climate control

edmunds rating
Controls are simple and easy to figure out at a glance. The vents are good-sized, and the fan doesn't make much racket. And all three rows have their own vents, with separate controls located in the middle row. Front heated and ventilated seats and heated rear seats offer multiple settings.

interior

edmunds rating
The Lexus GX looks good inside, and the layout is pleasing and easy to operate. There's generally a good deal of space, and the driving position is easy to set to your liking. The high seating position gives a commanding view of the road, but makes the step up higher than in newer crossover SUVs.

ease of use

edmunds rating
This Lexus lacks the brand's Remote Touch infotainment interface, and the GX is the better for it. All the control knobs, buttons and stalks are easy to identify, learn and use, and that even goes for the entertainment and navigation interface.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The GX is a bit tall because it's a body-on-frame SUV, but it's not too bad. It comes with features that offset its height: integrated side steps and TWO interior grab handles at each door. The doors open wide, too. Third-row access is tight but in line with the segment; the captain's chairs help.

driving position

edmunds rating
The seats have numerous adjustments and, unlike in many Toyota/Lexus products, the wheel has a decent telescoping range. But the left footrest platform feels a bit close. Our test drivers changed their position more than usual to relieve discomfort from the seat bottoms (see Comfort section).

roominess

edmunds rating
Plenty of leg- and headroom up front. Middle-row headroom is generous, and legroom is fine if the driver is shorter than 6-foot-3, but the rear doors crowd your elbows. The third row is tight, but it's larger than expected. The back is best for kids and short trips only.

visibility

edmunds rating
Surprisingly good visibility all around because of the generous glass area, low doorsills, good-sized mirrors and a large camera screen. The headlights offer impressive clarity and coverage whether you're on low beams or high. Optional front and rear proximity sonar aids parking in tight quarters.

quality

edmunds rating
The interior of the GX is pleasing to look at, with an impressive combination of rich materials and textures. It looks well-built and durable, too.

utility

edmunds rating
The second and third rows of seats fold flat into the floor, but carrying capacity isn't class-leading. That's probably because the load deck of this traditional body-on-frame SUV is a bit high. It has a decent tow rating, but the tow hitch and wiring are dealer accessories, not factory-integrated.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
Front seat occupants enjoy good-sized door pockets, four places for beverages and a couple of handy nooks. The center console and glovebox aren't spectacular, but they get the job done. Middle-row door pockets are on the small side, and the flip-up cupholders are nothing to write home about.

cargo space

edmunds rating
The tall roof and fold-flat seats make a decent-sized cargo hold whether the middle row is up or down. But there's minimal space behind the third row, and the way it all folds into the floor makes for a high load deck. The side-hinged rear door is hinged on the wrong side, blocking curbside access.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
This truck stands a bit high, which means you'll have to lift the kids up into place. The middle row has LATCH anchors hidden behind a Velcro flap and top tethers for two seats, but the third row only has the top tethers and requires the use of the seat belt's locking retractor mechanism.

technology

edmunds rating
The sound system is strong, with numerous audio sources to choose from. But the GX feels like a time capsule, with clunky voice controls, dated graphics, and no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support. Desirable active safety aids are only offered on the highest grade in an option package.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
Superb sound quality from the premium audio system, which also has HD radio and a CD player. But the navigation graphics feel dated — they're quite low-resolution, and the traffic density lines are comically thick.

smartphone integration

edmunds rating
Bluetooth pairing is easy because it doesn't always require a second confirmation step. USB jacks connect an iPhone smoothly, and the stereo remembers where your podcast left off the next time you start up. But this SUV does not have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which seems out of touch.

driver aids

edmunds rating
The GX feels old because many active safety aids are only available in an $4,340 option package that's exclusive to the top-level Luxury grade, a minimum spend of $68,715. Our well-equipped, $60,300 test vehicle had blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert as an $800 option, but that's it.

voice control

edmunds rating
The system recognizes speech well but requires the use of fairly structured commands. For instance, you can't say "Call Mark" when the navigation screen is displayed; you must first say "phone" and let the system switch over. No press-and-hold Siri access either.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.