The year 2009 saw the quite a few important moments: The “Miracle on the Hudson”, the first African-American President of the U.S. was sworn in, and some dude tried to blow up a plane with a bomb in his underwear. It also saw the debut of the 2nd generation of the Lexus GX. We’ve been driving a 2020 Lexus GX 460 for the last week, here’s what we thought.
The first generation of the GX started way back in 2003 and lasted up until the aforementioned 2009. So to say that the current version is a little long in the tooth is an understatement. (I need to make a mental note to look that phrase up because I don’t have a clue what it means.)
The Lexus GX shares its platform with the Toyota 4Runner, which may be obvious based on it’s upright and square shape. The GX has always managed to have a solid sense of identity beyond the 4Runner with unique design features and the GX’s swing out rear door. Plus you can’t miss the Lexus grille!
The 460 is the only model of GX currently on the market for 2020 and you can get it in one of three trim levels: Base, Premium, and Luxury, although I’m sure Lexus doesn’t refer to the base model, as the “base model”.
As you can see above, the “entry level” GX 460 starts at $53,000 with each trim level adding $2,790 to get the Premium and a massive $8,475 to get to the Luxury, which is the trim that we have been testing.
Our as-tested price for this GX 460 Luxury was a hefty $71,240. That includes a bunch of options.
So, it’s expensive. Let’s see how it lives up to the MSRP.
Overall from an ergonomic perspective, it definitely works well across the interior. Sure, things feel a bit dated and chunky, but I sort of like that in a big off-road luxury vehicle.
Small details like the dial vs. button setup for the heated seats were great, it’s much easier than pressing a button multiple times to get to the right setting. I’m sure that Lexus will update the GX at some point, but of all the “older” Toyota products that I’ve driven lately, I enjoyed this one the most from an interior perspective.
Still, there are some clear indications of age. These days it’s pretty surreal to see a $70,000+ vehicle that does not have Apple CarPlay. Even inexpensive Kia’s I’ve tested recently had that feature. It’s software vs. hardware, right? Seems like an easy add, but that’s not my job.
I’ll file this under “minor annoyances that became cumulative”. The GX also seems to be lacking a turn signal that flashes three times by pulling down the stalk once. You know, you go to signal to change lanes, click once and it flashes three times? Not in the GX 460.
Still, the cool red interior and airy interior are a good update to the cavernous GX models from days of yore. I think the GX would be a great daily driver.
Admittedly, the GX was never my favorite Lexus SUV from a design perspective. The stacked taillights and slab sided design always looked a bit wonky. It has retained the hinged rear door and the basic styling that has been consistent across both GX generations. For some reason, it’s either grown on me, or I just got used to it.
I can’t imagine that the rear swing out door is practical. Look at the photo below and you’ll see just how far you would have to be from another vehicle to have it work. Thinking of grocery store parking lots, you had better make sure you have the rear facing out.
Also, as you can see since it’s so dirty, the rear wiper only gets part of the window, because it’s mounted on top.
All GXs come with the same 4.6L V8 engine putting out a fairly modest 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque. The engine has good low end power, mid-range is a little lacking, but for a vehicle this size, it moves pretty well. The biggest up-side is that the engine is massively quiet! There are times it almost feels like an electric car, definitely solidifies that luxury car aura. That’s pretty rare in an SUV.
There won’t be any grand discussions of 0-60; it can do it, that’s all you really need. I did not get a chance to get the GX muddy, but I’m sure it’s a good time.
There’s something charming about a big rugged 4×4 with a luxury interior. Outside of Land Rover and the G-Wagen from Mercedes, there aren’t many luxury-focused SUVs with legitimate off-road capability. That makes the GX 460 special, and for that it deserves a look.