In terms of sport/utility vehicles, 2010 was a long time ago. That was the last time the Lexus GX 460 was updated, and since then, many of these rugged body-on-frame models, like the Durango and Explorer have gone to unibody construction, which are lighter and have better ride quality. The challenge for the GX is that it remains a body-on-frame SUV competing with unibodies, as well as the other vehicles that have been updated or replaced since 2010. For 2014, the only change on the GX is facelift that gives it a front end similar to the rest of the Lexus lineup.
The 4.6-liter V8 provides plenty of power around town and on the freeway, but it takes harder mashing of the gas pedal to get it up to speed on the freeway. The powertrain doesn't feel as smooth as others on the market-or even others in the Lexus lineup-evidence that it hasn't been updated in a while. More proof that there is something decidedly old-school about this SUV? The cargo area door opens to the side-and the hinge is on the right, meaning you are closer to traffic when getting gear out of the back. A nice detail on the GX is that the rear wiper is at the top of the window, tucking below the spoiler when not in use, a move that improves visibility.
Roomy Cabin Needs Refresh
Inside, the GX is attractive, and the seats proved comfortable on long drives. There are plenty of amenities in the interior, the cabin is quiet and the ride is comfortable. However, in some ways, the competition has passed the GX by. There are still too many hard-touch surfaces on the dash, and even though the center stack has been updated, there are frustrating aspects of the climate control system. Some of the controls are accessible outside of the touch screen, such as driver/passenger temperature, recirculate vs. free-flow, and a few others, but if you want to change where the air flows (on your face or the floor, as an example) you have to go through the screen. And turning on or off the air conditioning requires getting to a second screen.
When you look at the GX 460 in the context of other off-road-capable vehicles out there, a few models come to mind. There's the Jeep Grand Cherokee, an SUV that has gone decidedly upscale in the past few years. There's the Land Rover LR4, one of the finest combinations of off-road prowess and on-road comfort, and there's the Tahoe/Yukon, a duo that is all new for 2015. All of those vehicles are within the same price range as the GX we drove, which was $55,674 as tested. While in some ways those newer models have surpassed it, Lexus has decided to lower the GX 460's starting price by $4710 for 2014. The GX may need some sprucing up, but in the world of luxury SUVs, it still offers plenty of value.
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