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2012 Lexus GX

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2012 Lexus GX Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Zach Vlasuk - Updated Date: 3/1/2012


As one of the few luxury SUVs utilizing a traditional boxed ladder frame, the 2012 Lexus GX 460 strikes an excellent balance between serious off-road capability and civilized daily driving manners. Competing against such worthy adversaries as the BMW X5, Acura MDX and Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the Lexus GX 460 separates itself from its road-going competitors with standard full-time 4-wheel drive (4WD), exceptional ground clearance and a host of off-road tech features. Considering its all-terrain supremacy, along with Lexus' enviable reputation for reliability, the 2012 Lexus GX 460 is an enticing proposition for the adventurous luxury SUV buyer.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need an SUV capable of tackling the roughest terrain, but yearn for a luxurious cabin outfitted with upscale amenities and versatile seating, the 2012 Lexus GX 460 will meet your unique demands. Additionally, the GX's exceptional build quality and strong resale value make it a smart choice for value-driven consumers.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Due to its rugged body-on-frame construction, we found the Lexus GX 460's overall ride quality and ambient noise levels a bit below par for a luxury vehicle. By comparison, the Acura MDX and the Mercedes-Benz M-Class deliver more comfortable rides and quieter cabins.

What's New for 2012

The Lexus GX 460 receives minimal changes for the 2012 model year, including new color-keyed body-side moldings with chrome inserts and a new high-gloss wheel finish for the Premium trim.

Driving It Driving Impressions

It was apparent following our comprehensive road test that the 2012 Lexus GX 460's natural habitat is in the dirt. Designed to withstand the abuses associated with hardcore off-road excursions, the GX 460's fully-boxed frame is a fish out of water on the pavement. And, while overall ride quality is certainly acceptable for most drivers, the GX 460 does not live up to the discriminating Lexus standards for world-class driving comfort. On the other hand, the GX 460's potent 301-horsepower V8 and a responsive and smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission combine to make towing up to 6,500 pounds a breeze. To help counteract the occasional cornering awkwardness associated with tall SUVs, the Lexus GX 460 has a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) that decreases body lean with its massive stabilizer bars or, when needed, the KDSS can automatically relax roll control under extreme off-road conditions for increased wheel articulation and greater traction.

Favorite Features

Crawl Control
For difficult obstacles requiring consistent low-speeds and precise throttle control, the Lexus GX 460 has an available Crawl Control feature. This piece of off-road technology automatically modulates the throttle and brakes so drivers can focus their attention exclusively on steering.

Wide-view Front and Side Monitor
The 2012 Lexus GX 460 offers a pair of cameras integrated within the front grille and passenger-side outside mirror for improved visibility when exiting a parking structure or parking adjacent to a curb.

Vehicle Details Interior

Inside, the GX offers roomy quarters for up to seven passengers as well as class-leading cargo space for all of your gear. A 40/20/40-split second-row seat, combined with a convenient power-folding third-row seat, provides a variety of configurations for people, cargo or both. The cockpit and its abundance of high-quality materials impart a sense of luxury, while the thick-rimmed steering wheel, large controls and elevated seating position signify the GX 460's s rugged underpinnings. Although the GX 460's available touch-screen navigation system does not feature the latest infotainment functions Lexus has to offer, the system's 8-inch display does include an intuitive interface along with SiriusXM traffic, weather, sports and stocks to satisfy your mobile entertainment cravings.

Exterior

To help convey its off-road capabilities, Lexus designers aspired to sculpt the exterior of the 2012 GX 460 as if it were constructed from a single block of metal. The GX 460 offers standard running boards with integrated courtesy lights to help facilitate ingress and egress from the vehicle in all lighting conditions. Whereas most modern SUVs offer a versatile rear liftgate, the 2012 Lexus GX 460 continues to employ the outmoded barn door-style rear door that can make loading and unloading cargo on the street or in tight garages a chore. On a brighter note, behind the standard 18-inch alloy wheels are substantial 13.3-inch front disc brakes with 4-piston calipers to tame the GX 460's potent V8 engine and substantial 5,300-pound curb weight.

Notable Standard Equipment

The 2012 Lexus GX 460 offers a wealth of standard equipment, including full-time 4WD, Downhill Assist Control for assistance during steep or slippery descents, SmartAccess for keyless access and ignition without ever removing the key fob from your pocket or bag, illuminated running boards, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, two multi-information displays, a rear backup camera and a 9-speaker audio system with SiriusXM Satellite Radio and a USB port for portable media players. Safety features include 10 airbags including driver and front passenger knee airbags, active front head restraints to help minimize whiplash injuries and live emergency services provided by Lexus' Safety Connect telematics service.

Notable Optional Equipment

The Lexus GX 460's stand-alone option list is comprised of 3-zone automatic climate control, front and rear parking assist sonar, a headrest-mounted rear-seat DVD entertainment system and xenon headlights. The Mark Levinson Premium Sound and Navigation Package includes a hard drive-based touch-screen navigation system with Lexus Enform concierge services and a 17-speaker audio system with a DVD player. Crawl Control, automatic high beams, wide-angle exterior camera system, adaptive cruise control and a Pre-Collision System are bundled together within the aptly-named Wide-view Monitor/Pre-Collision/Driver Attention Package.

Under the Hood

Both the 2012 Lexus GX 460 base and Premium trim models are powered by an all-aluminum 4.6-liter V8 engine that makes 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque. The sole engine choice is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with a sequential shift mode. Though Lexus claims the GX 460 features best-in-class V8 fuel economy, competitors with V6 engines and comparable power outputs, such as the BMW X5 and the Acura MDX, best the GX 460 in terms of fuel efficiency.

4.6-liter V8
301 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
329 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20 mpg

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggest Retail Price (MSRP) for a base 2012 Lexus GX 460 comes in just over $54,000, including destination. The GX 460 in Premium trim adds around $5,000 to the bottom line and tops out around $68,000. The Lexus GX 460 commands a higher starting price than base models of the Land Rover LR4, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz M-Class and Acura MDX. The current Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com will tell you what GX 460s are currently selling for in your area. On the resale side, the 2012 Lexus GX 460's projected 5-year residual value exceeds the values set by the majority of its competitors, thanks to Lexus' long-standing reputation for both high quality and reliability.

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