Highlight: The Lexus GX 460 is loosely based-off the same platform as the Toyota 4Runner.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $55,505 (Base Model starts at $49,995)
Seating Capacity: 7
Standard Safety Features: airbags (front, side, knee, rear-side, curtain, and seat-mounted for second row); ABS; LED daytime running lights; side impact beams; vehicle stability control; back up camera; first aid kit; electronic brake distribution; traction control; Hill Start Assist System; Downhill Assist Control; and Lexus’ Safety Connect System
Standard Equipment: 18-inch wheels; 10-way (non-leather) power front seats; power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; memory programmed driver’s seat; a 8-inch touchscreen; a push button starter; sliding front center armrests; LED low-beam headlamps; privacy glass rear windows; auto on/off headlights; integrated illuminated running boards; power moonroof; and roof rails
Front- double wishbone, coli springs, stabilizer bar
Rear- 4-link rigid axle, control arms, coil springs
Standard Audio: a 9-speaker AM/FM/HD/CD with XM Satellite radio
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles
Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 4.6-liter, 8-cylinder/301-horsepower
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 15-city/20-hwy
Towing: 6,500 lbs
Other Trim Levels:
iPod and USB ports: Yes
What’s New: The GX now wears the brand’s bold signature spindle grille and is now surrounded by a new 8-inch screen, displaying a multimedia system. Moreover, the 2014 GX is available also now equipped with a blind-spot monitor, with a rear-traffic cross alert system, which surely will reduce accidents.
Pros: The GX is one of the few utility vehicles, offering both on-and-off road capabilities due to its truck-like suspension system. The GX, unlike most of today’s car-based utility vehicles, is capable of towing up to 6,500 with its 4.6-liter, 8-cylinder engine. The engineers also did not compromise safety since they added a standard trailer sway control system, too. Besides towing, both the second and third row seats can be folded flat, allowing for additional cargo carrying capabilities.
Furthermore, the GX adds a new 8-inch touchscreen that houses a back-up camera, HD radio and a high-tech gadget which actually allows the user the ability to pause live radio.
Added to that, the GX we reviewed was outfitted with Lexus’ optional Premium Package, which consisted of 18-inch wheels, leather-trimmed seats, Mahogany wood trim, rain-sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a three-zone climate control system and a navigation system
Moreover, for music aficionados, the GX can be upgraded with the brand’s signature 17-speaker Make Levinson audio system which pushes out 330-watts and a rear seat entertainment system which includes two DVD screens.
Lastly, we recommend adding the Driver Support Package, although it wasn’t a feature on our vehicle. This package consists of a pre-collision system, a radar-activated cruise control system and a wide-view front-and-side camera designed to enhance the visibility in tight settings.
Cons: While Lexus is known for providing a smooth luxurious ride, this is not the case with the GX we reviewed due to its truck-like suspension system even with the ability to select three driving modes: normal, sport or comfort. The GX is based-off the same platform as Toyota’s rugged Land Cruiser.
Moreover, our GX lacked a heated steering wheel even when the optional Premium Package was added. The Premium Package included heated front and second-row seats, but no heated steering wheel.
Lastly, with this utility vehicle offering third-row seats, due to limited leg room it is still a tight squeeze for most adults.
The Verdict: The Lexus GX is the only luxury-utility midsized SUV in this segment, offering a third-row. Yes, the GX is an oddity these days. While it’s not as small as the five-passenger Jeep Grand Cherokee, it’s still not as huge as the gigantic Cadillac Escalade.
Thus, the GX continues to hold a sweet spot all by itself in a day and time, when consumers are being driven toward buying car-based crossover vehicles, which lacks the towing capabilities.
With that being the case, the bold grille along with the ability to squeeze in possibly seven or eight passengers, which includes the driver, at a relatively respectable price point, in a day and time where most vehicles are truly overpriced. Lexus in a smart move reduced the price of the GX model nearly $4,000 with the current update.
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him @ Twitter/JeffCars.