By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.3
"This is my gift, my curse." While we don’t normally begin our reviews with quotes from popular superhero films, the above reference does do a respectable job of encapsulating the core essence of the 2014 Lexus GX 460. Riding atop a reinforced boxed ladder frame, the Lexus GX can conquer all manner of challenging off-road situations without breaking a sweat. But when it comes time for urban duty, the GX’s excessively rugged underpinnings produce a ride quality that is decidedly less forgiving than that of the BMW X5, Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60, and Mercedes-Benz M-Class. Nevertheless, practical incentives like a strong record for reliability and above-average residual values make the Lexus GX a recommendable buy for the adventurous-yet-sensible luxury SUV shopper.
If exceptional off-road capability, a host of standard features including 4-wheel-drive (4WD), and superb value-for-dollar are paramount in your next luxury SUV purchase, the 2014 Lexus GX could be the one. However, we strongly suggest back-to-back test drives of the GX and its closest competitors on rough pavement.
If you’re like most SUV buyers, hardcore off-roading capability seems about as important as helmets for skydivers. Those who are looking for a better balance of on-road comfort and athleticism should consider the Acura MDX, BMW X5, or Mercedes-Benz M-Class.
Cresting the halfway point of its current lifecycle, the Lexus GX sees a number of changes for 2014. Highlights include a larger 8-inch touch-screen display (up from seven inches), Lexus’ 8th-generation infotainment system, standard LED headlights, a newly available blind-spot monitoring system, and revised front and rear bodywork.
Driving Impressions Even though it’s luxurious and nicely appointed, the 2014 Lexus GX 460 gives the strong impression that its natural habitat is out in the dirt and rocks. The GX 460’s...fully boxed frame withstands the abuses of extreme off-road excursions but is not ideal on the pavement. The overall ride quality is certainly acceptable, but not quite up to Lexus standards. On the other hand, the GX 460’s potent 301-horsepower V8, responsive and smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission and proper 2-speed transfer case combine to make short work of most any task on most any surface. The GX even tows up to 6,500 pounds. To help counteract the potential cornering awkwardness of a tall SUV, the GX 460 has what Lexus calls a "Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System" that decreases body lean with its massive anti-roll bars or, when needed, automatically relaxes sway control for increased wheel articulation and greater traction off road.
KINETIC DYNAMIC SUSPENSION SYSTEM (KDSS)
During serious off-road driving, standard KDSS maximizes suspension travel in order to keep the tires on the ground. Without it, a tire would remain in the air over deep moguls when either the front or rear suspension has reached its natural limit of travel.
WIDE-VIEW FRONT AND SIDE MONITOR
The 2014 Lexus GX 460 offers a pair of cameras integrated within the front grille and passenger-side outside mirror for improved outward vision when exiting a parking structure or parking adjacent to a curb.
Along with the impeccable finish quality found inside most Lexus models, the GX 460 offers comfortable accommodations for up to seven and class-leading cargo space. A 40/20/40-split second-row seat, combined with a convenient power fold-flat third-row seat, provides a variety of configurations for people, cargo or both. Save for the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class, materials quality is on par with other midsize luxury SUVs. On the technology front, the 2014 GX 460 now offers Lexus’ latest infotainment platform, which consists of a user-friendly touch screen interface, a configurable home screen, and real-time traffic, weather, sports and stock market data through SiriusXM.Exterior
Lexus designers sculpted the exterior of the 2014 GX 460 to give the impression it was cut 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 place of a versatile rear liftgate, the GX continues to use an outmoded barn-door-style, side-hinged rear door that can complicate loading and unloading cargo at the curb or in tight garages. On a brighter note, behind the standard 18-inch alloy wheels lie substantial 13.3-inch front disc brakes to help tame the GX 460’s substantial weight and power.
Although it carries a slightly higher starting price, the 2014 Lexus GX 460 offers a longer list of standard equipment than the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Infiniti QX60, and Audi Q7. For about $50,000, the GX 460 includes full-time 4WD, a moonroof, keyless access and start, a 10-way power driver’s seat, LED headlights that consume less energy than even the most efficient xenon setups, a backup camera, and a 9-speaker audio system linked to an 8-inch touch screen. On the safety side of the ledger, every Lexus GX includes 10 airbags, active headrests to reduce the severity of whiplash, and Lexus’ Safety Connect telematics system with 24/7 emergency services.
Navigation notwithstanding, the GX 460’s most enticing options are part of the $5,900 Comfort Package. The likes of which include semi-aniline leather upholstery, heated rear seats, and a blind-spot monitor with a rear cross-traffic-alert function that warns you of oncoming traffic when backing out of a parking spot (essential in a large SUV). The range-topping Luxury trim level offers high-end options like a 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium sound system, a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment center, and dynamic radar cruise control that maintains a preset distance between you and the vehicle ahead.
Both GX 460 model grades are powered by an all-aluminum 4.6-liter V8 engine that makes 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque. This sole engine choice is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with a sequential shift mode. The standard full-time 4WD system uses a 2-speed transfer case with lockable center differential. This is serious off-road kit. 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 Acura MDX, edge the GX 460 in terms of EPA-rated fuel efficiency.
301 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
329 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20 mpg
With the exception of the BMW X5, which opens at roughly $53,700, the 2014 Lexus GX has the highest starting price in the category. Beginning around $50,000, the GX 460 commands a $1,500 premium over the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and Audi Q7, and nearly $7,000 over the Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60. While fully-loaded prices of the Acura and Infiniti still undercut the GX 460 by a few thousand dollars, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, BMW X5 and Audi Q7 can easily breach the $72,000 mark with all the options boxes checked. Compare that to the GX 460’s loaded sticker price of $67,500, factor in some of the strongest resale values in the segment, and the Lexus is – at least at this price point – a relative bargain. To see what others in your area are currently paying for the 2014 GX 460, be sure to take a look at KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price tool.
By Dwright (AZ) on Thursday, March 07, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good looking and dependable"
Cons: "Not luxurious inside, rides hard"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This is my 2nd Lexus SUV. I opted for the 20" tires, which detract from a smooth ride. My 2007 model has the third row seats that store to the side, blocking the side rear windows. Not convenient or safe. The poorly designed third row seats are cumbersome and difficult to get into."
13 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By vegasstan (NV) on Friday, October 26, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Cons: "tires unsafe for off road use"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This is my second GX, I traded in a 2006 on this one at Lexus of Las Vegas a month ago. Unfortunately, Lexus skimped on this one. It is sold as an off road vehicle but does not come with the proper tires. It is a shame that Lexus cheapened the brand and isn't concerned with customer safety by saving a few hundred dollars by equipping this vehicle with mini-van tires. Don't make the same mistake I did. If you do buy one, be sure it comes with the right tires."
18 people out of 34 found this review helpful
By Emiliano (AZ) on Saturday, December 24, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "QUALITY AND RELIABLE"
Cons: "NOTHING !!!!!!!!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my second Lexus and as always!!!!!!, has been wonderful,smooth,responsive beautiful inside and out,great on the pavement and the most important characteristic!!!! of this car for me !! RELIABLE !!!!!!!!!.THE BEST QUALITY OF CARS!!!! L E X U S !!!!"
16 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By kurian (TX) on Monday, November 14, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great SUV for the price"
Cons: "No luggage room if 3rd row seats are unfolded."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Fantastic driving experience, very good control, so stable and smooth always, even above 80mi speed. Excellent interior and nice exterior too. Super technology and so reliable. I love this bold"
11 people out of 12 found this review helpful