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The GX 470 midsize SUV continued the Lexus tradition of offering high levels of luxury in a vehicle that is both quiet and comfortable. With three rows of seating, a smooth V8 engine and a refined interior, the GX was a top-tier luxury SUV in every sense of the term. In addition, this particular Lexus had the ability to venture farther off-road than most of its owners would ever have the desire, or courage, to take it.
However, the Lexus GX 470 existed at a time when the crossover SUV market was really growing. Although its rugged truck-based underpinnings provided advantages in terms of towing or going off-road, the resulting higher weight, lower fuel economy and decreased space efficiency meant this Lexus wasn't the best choice for the type of on-road driving that most luxury SUV owners spend the majority of their time doing.
Although discontinued after 2009, this model essentially lived on as the redesigned Lexus GX 460.
Most Recent Lexus GX 470
The Lexus GX 470 was a traditional body-on-frame SUV produced from 2003-'09. Mechanically, it was closely related to the Toyota 4Runner of the time. At the time, we were impressed by the GX's superior off-road abilities and upscale interior. Downsides included a very cramped third-row seat and a side-hinged cargo door that could impede curbside loading.
Originally, there was a single trim level and its 4.7-liter V8 produced only 235 horsepower. This would be upgraded to 270 for 2005, but that was downgraded to 263 when testing procedures changed in '06. A five-speed automatic was always standard, as was a full-time four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing.
Throughout its time on the market, the GX 470 came with a variety of features designed to help it off-road including Downhill Assist Control (DAC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC) and Rear Adjustable Height Control (AHC). The optional Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) arrived for 2004. This high-tech feature automatically adjusted the front and rear stabilizer bars to enhance handling under a variety of conditions, both on- and off-road.
While this off-roading potential is a key GX 470 attribute, Lexus owners expect refinement and luxury. True to form, the GX 470 offered fine leather on the seats and lustrous wood on the dash and steering wheel. However, as it got on in years, the GX started to lack some of the luxury features that came to be expected in its segment. As such, later model versions may be less appealing relative to their contemporary competitors.
There were other significant changes made to the GX 470 during its lengthy life. For '04, safety upgrades included a roll-sensing feature for the side curtain airbags, a tire-pressure monitoring system and an optional rear back-up camera system for vehicles with the navigation system installed.
A Sport trim joined the lineup for '05 and remained until the GX 470 gave way to the 460. Other GX option changes that year included an upgraded navigation system with better graphics and additional functions, Bluetooth compatibility and voice commands for the climate control, audio and navigation systems. Navigation was again updated for 2007. Other '07 changes included the addition of an auxiliary audio jack and a larger screen for the rear-seat entertainment system.