2019 Lexus GX 460: Rugged Luxury…

2019 Lexus GX460Model Tested: Lexus GX 460

Engine: 4.6-Liter DOHC V8

Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic

Horsepower: 301 • Torque: 329 lb.-ft.

EPA Ratings: 15/City • 18/Highway • 16/Combined

Base Price: $63,555 • As Tested: $66,920

Overview: To the untrained eye, the Lexus GX 460 masquerades as a luxury SUV. But behind that big signature Lexus grille and soft, luxury interior, is a rugged body-on-frame SUV sharing its basic DNA with the Toyota 4Runner. The first clues are the horizontally-opening tailgate and numerous off-road controls ensconced among the cabin’s wood and soft leather.

Big, well-built, and extremely capable off-road, all versions are all-wheel drive and powered by a strong 4.6-liter V8 married to a six-speed automatic. The GX 460 is not your soccer-mom crossover — it’s a basically a tank that’s able to handle a pounding over rugged terrain.

There are only two models — the GX 460 and GX 460 Premium.

Walkaround: The Lexus GX is your basic slab-sided SUV box. It tries directing your attention away from its bland styling with that huge grille — which unintentionally draws attention to just how boxy it is.

2019 Lexus GX460Interior: Inside, the GX is tall, somewhat narrow, with a high floor, so front occupants sit up tall with a commanding view. Cushions are comfortably plush and there’s lots of room. It’s a tall step to climb in though. Interior materials are luxurious and soft. Fit and finish are excellent.

Instrumentation sits upright over horizontal strips of wood. Unlike many others, controls are neither complex nor overwhelming — with real buttons and legible gauges in all the right spots as well as good steering wheel controls. The center stack for infotainment, climate and navigation is clean. However, while the system features a large display, it’s difficult to navigate, and Lexus doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto as an easy alternative.

Sliding second-row seats offer great legroom and abundant space — except in the cramped, hard-to-reach, third row. The power-fold feature doesn’t fold flat, and the seat can’t be removed, so cargo space is narrow and high. The side-hinged tailgate doesn’t help either.

Behind The Wheel: The 4.6-liter V8 delivers 301 ponies, doing the zero to sixty drill in 7.8 seconds. While the six-speed automatic is smooth and quick, the 0-60 time and horses are equaled by many V6s.

The GX tries to handle like a crossover, but suffers from a soft ride, slow steering, lots of suspension travel, and spongy brakes. Like the Land Cruiser, Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System is standard equipment, using rear air springs that enable one rear wheel to push down for traction, when the other one gets light.

Despite top-heavy dynamics, it makes the ride smoother — even on winding two-lane blacktops — and reduces body lean.

Bottom Line: Like its sibling 4Runner,with standard all-wheel drive, the Lexus GX is quite capable off road — for the right price. Downsides include boxy styling, premium fuel cost, handling, spongy brakes, and inconvenient cargo loading.