There's a certain split personality among Lexus models. Most of the automaker's cars and SUVs are known for boundless levels of comfort and refinement, almost to a fault. Others have a rich history of rough-and-ready off-road performance not exactly conducive to a serene daily driving experience. Within these seemingly polar opposite groups sits the GX 460, a luxury SUV that tries to offer the best of both worlds.
Based on a body-on-frame truck chassis, the Lexus GX 460 has a rugged, live-axle rear suspension that gives it the robustness needed to survive off-road. Traction is assured by a four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing and a high-tech adaptive suspension that also aids the GX around town.
For daily use, there are many other seven-passenger luxury crossover SUVs that are more fuel-efficient and more comfortable, especially for rear passengers. As such, you'll have to appreciate the GX 460's trail capability to accept the compromises it strikes in everyday driving.
Current Lexus GX 460
The Lexus GX 460 is a seven-passenger luxury SUV available in two trim levels: Base and Luxury. The well-equipped Base model's standard features include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, a sunroof, roof rails, faux leather upholstery, a rearview camera, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment interface and a nine-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, satellite radio and iPod connectivity.
An optional Premium package adds features such as rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors, real leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, tri-zone climate control, a navigation system and Lexus Enform smartphone app integration. The Premium package can also be combined with second-row captain's chairs (a three-person bench seat is standard).
The Lexus GX 460 Luxury adds the features listed above, along with an adaptive variable suspension (with rear adjustable height control), blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, upgraded leather and power-folding third-row seats. Options include a 17-speaker surround-sound audio system, a rear-seat entertainment system, front and side-view cameras, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and off-road-oriented Crawl Control.
Power comes from a 4.6-liter V8 that generates 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque, paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. The GX 460 is only available in four-wheel drive.
The GX interior doesn't quite live up to the Lexus reputation for top-notch materials quality, but the 60/40-split folding rear seats and power-folding third-row seats add convenience for most everyday suburban affairs. We've found, however, that the second-row seats are hard, flat and not particularly comfortable. Another drawback is the GX's swinging rear cargo door hinged on the passenger side. The design complicates curbside loading, although a flip-up rear window allows for stowing of smaller and lighter packages.
On the road the Lexus GX 460 isn't as nimble as most car-based luxury crossovers but still manages to impress with a refined, smooth ride and respectable handling. Acceleration from the V8 is fine around town, but with about 5,200 pounds to lug around, the GX 460 can feel winded during highway passing maneuvers. Off the beaten path, the GX has plenty of ground clearance for legitimate off-road adventuring. The optional Crawl Control feature allows the driver to climb steep slopes and rugged terrain without needing to apply the throttle or brakes, while focusing solely on steering.
Used Lexus GX 460 Models
The current-generation Lexus GX 460 debuted in 2010 when it replaced the GX 470. The 470 was produced from 2003 to '09 and shares many of the GX 460's pros and cons.
The most significant changes to the Lexus GX 460 took place in 2014, with a styling update to bring it in line with the rest of the Lexus family. Other improvements included standard LED headlights, a larger touchscreen interface, a blind-spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert. Features on the base trim were also scaled back to reduce the price, with one of the more notable downgrades premium vinyl seating surfaces replacing genuine leather.
In 2015, the GX 460 added Siri Eyes Free voice commands for iPhone users and an enhanced version of the Lexus Enform App Suite. There were no significant changes for 2016.