2017 Lexus GX 460 Luxury Review

A soft, luxury, off-road ready SUV


Wade Thiel, Staff Writer



Positives: Great seats, soft and comfortable ride, plenty of features and amenities, off-road ready.
Negatives: Weird side-hinged rear cargo door, cargo room almost non-existent with third-row up, fuel economy stinks.
Bottom Line: The Lexus GX 460 is a luxurious off-road-ready machine with V8 power and a third-row of seating. As good as it is, there are cheaper vehicles that offer more in terms of utility and fuel economy. That means the GX 460 is a fine vehicle if you're chasing a luxury badge, need a third-row and don't care about price. It looks interesting and is comfy, but beyond that it's not all that impressive.
 View Our 2017 Lexus GX 460 Overview
The GX 460 is a good looking SUV that doesn’t really make sense. The only reason we scenario where we could envision someone actually purchasing one of these off-road luxury barges is if he or she desperately wanted a Lexus badge and didn’t really care about much else. It’s not that the GX 460 is a bad vehicle to drive. It’s not that it doesn’t have tons of amenities and a 4x4 system that could really kick butt if put to the test. It’s just that there are so many other vehicles that seem to offer more for the money. Still, we felt we couldn’t write the GX off without testing it, so we spent a week with the vehicle. Here’s what we found.
 

Driving Experience

6.8

 

Due to the fact that the GX 460 utilizes a body-on-frame construction (the basis of which is the same frame that the Toyota 4Runner uses) the GX460 reminds us of an older SUV or truck. It has that kind of rigid, truck-like nature, but the adaptive variable suspension makes it soft as pillows in most situations. In essence, this SUV feels like a mix of old and new on the road. It’s a soft SUV with the equipment to take on off-road terrain. We expect it would be similarly comfortable and refined off-road as it is on.

Ride Quality: Gentle and comfortable over almost any road surface. The different suspension settings don’t seem to disrupt the ride much—different settings firm things up a bit but not much.

Acceleration: The 4.6-liter V8 is smooth and powerful, this thing is not a race truck, but it gets up to highways speeds at a reasonable clip. Throttle response is good and reported 0-60 times are around seven seconds.

Braking: The brakes feel powerful and do a good job of hauling the big Lexus down to a stop, but according to the braking tests from other publications, the stopping distance is considerably longer than the competition. Also, when braking the nose of the SUV dives quite a bit due to the soft suspension setup. This makes you feel like you’re stopping faster than you actually are.

Steering: The variable gear ratio steering is light and not very precise. You don’t get much feedback from the road and the steering in many ways, mimics the isolation from the soft suspension system to outside world. If you’re looking for a sporty-feeling vehicle, this is not it.

Handling: There’s a significant amount of body roll with the GX 460. The SUV doesn’t inspire much confidence in twisty turns. However, around town and on the highway it handles fine. We expect it would feel like a king’s throne off-road, too.

Technology

8.5

 

As stated above, the GX 460 seems to be a mix of old and new components and systems. What’s underneath the skin seems to be on the older side, whereas everything that the driver and passengers interact with regularly are more modern. One thing we loved about the GX 460 is that it skips the weird Lexus mouse-like control thing for the infotainment system and uses buttons and touchscreen controls instead. Lexus should do similar things with all of its models.

Infotainment System: The Lexus Enform infotainment system features an 8-inch touchscreen with access to a number of apps, Sirius XM radio and navigation. The system operates smoothly and the interface is intuitive and easy to use. Graphics appear to be high quality as well.

Controls: The mix of buttons and touchscreen controls makes navigating the various features and functions of the GX460’s infotainment system a cinch. It’s way better than the weird mouse controller that Lexus has in many of its cars. The controls for the suspension system and 4WD system are switches next to the shifter. They’re clearly labeled and easy to use. At first, we were worried about accidentally bumping them, but we never had any issues.

Bluetooth Pairing: Pairing a phone proved easy and quick. We experienced no issues.

Voice Call Quality: Call quality was good on both ends with no interruptions

Styling

6.6

 

The GX 460’s styling is a little polarizing. It’s a big, somewhat boxy SUV with a huge, gaping mouth of a grille. From certain angles, it looks a little too tall and narrow, and though it’s easily recognizable as a Lexus, it kind of makes us long for the days when Lexus vehicles were a boring to look at.

Front: The front of the vehicle is dominated by the large corporate spindle grille. Aside from that, you see checkmark-shaped LED running lights and some otherwise attractive, but not overly aggressive looking headlights. The oddly shaped lower fog lights and the multiple creases and lines in the lower portion of the bumper make for a face that has a lot going on. It’s a bit too busy but is on par with most of Lexus’ styling cues for other vehicles.

Rear: When you look at the back of the GX straight on, you get the feeling that it’s too tall and narrow. The rear loses most of the busyness of the front end, but it looks almost like someone should have stretched the back part wider.

Profile: From the side, you can see the lines where the fenders bulge and the overall traditional SUV shape. The Lexus pulls off the big, somewhat boxy shape well.

Cabin: The interior of the GX 460 looks high end, with mahogany wood trim all over the center console, dash, shifter and steering wheel. The plastic bits on the inside look more like some kind of brushed aluminum and are also nice to look at. Small chrome bits add some eye catching elements. Overall, the cabin is worthy of the Lexus badge and is on par with most other luxury brands in terms of looks although it is a bit busy with lots of buttons and switches and a thick dash.

Comfort

8.9

 

If there’s one thing the GX is, it’s comfortable. We discussed the soft ride earlier, but the rest of the vehicle ensconces you in an agreeable and posh environment. The materials throughout the cabin feel of high quality and everything is easy to reach and use. You sit up high in the GX 460 on a soft seat and can easily helm the large SUV with ease. Our test vehicle was a top trim level equipped model and we’d be interested to see what the GX is like at lower trim levels. It’s likely still a comfy ride.

Front Seats: The semi-aniline leather-trimmed seats offer a supportive, but fairly flat seating surface. They’re adjustable 10 ways, heated and ventilated and are comfortable for hours. We spend a significant amount of time behind the wheel of the GX 460 and were never wanting for more support.

Rear Seats: Our tester came equipped with two captain’s chair seats in the second row. They were also extremely comfortable and had a heating function. The GX 460 can be had with a bench style seating in the second row if you so choose. We expect that would also be a comfy seating arrangement. The third row is comprised of two small, power-folding seats that aren’t nearly as comfortable as the second row. Space is just okay for those seats and they would be better for younger passengers.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The GX 460 has an insulated cabin, meaning not much gets through to the driver and passengers in terms of road and wind noise. It’s soft and quiet and there’s little to worry about in terms of vibrations or harshness.

Visibility: Because you sit up so high, seeing out of the GX460 is easy. Front and side sightlines are great. Seeing out the rear isn’t as easy. You can see out the back, but when parking, you really need to be careful and rely on the camera and sensors to help guide you.

Climate: The 3-zone climate control system was excellent. It did a fantastic job of cooling off or heating up the cabin.

Safety

6.5

 

The 2017 GX 460 has not been rated by the NHTSA or the IIHS. The There is a fair amount of safety technology and the 4Runner—the vehicle the GX borrows its frame and some other components from—is rated pretty highly by both organizations, getting four stars from the NHTSA and mostly good ratings from the IIHS. Because of all this, we imagine the GX is a reasonably safe vehicle. However, without the stats to back us up, there’s no way of really knowing.

IIHS Rating: This vehicle is not yet rated.

Standard Tech: The GX 460 comes with a plethora of safety features as standard equipment at this trim level, including ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, vehicle stability control, 10 airbags, trailer sway control, Lexus Enform Safety Connect, automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, emergency assist button, blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, backup camera, intuitive parking assist and roadside assistance.

Optional Tech: The test vehicle we drove also had a fair amount of optional safety technology, including a pre-collision system with driver attention monitoring, dynamic cruise control, lane departure alert, intelligent high-beam headlamps, wide-view front and side monitor and CRAWL control.

Storage/Cargo

5.3

 

With the GX 460 being a large, three-row SUV, you’d think that it has tons of storage space. And with the second and third row seats folded, there’s tons of room. Also, the window part of the rear, side-swinging door opens up so you can snake really long things out the back of the SUV. However, that’s where the good things end. The side-swinging door makes it hard to load from the curb and there really isn’t that much space inside the GX despite its overall large size.

Storage Space: Interior storage space isn’t bad, with a couple of compartments in the center console and a decently sized space beneath the armrest. Pair that with the door pockets and glove box and you have a vehicle that can stow most of your everyday carry items.

Cargo Room: When the third-row seats are folded, there’s a decent-sized cargo area (fold both the second and third row and you’re looking at 64.7 cubic feet of space). When they’re in the upright position there’s practically none. The third-row seats are almost touching the rear door when in the upright position. That, the fact that the floor of the cargo area sits up really high and the side-hinged rear door of the SUV make the cargo room somewhat odd. If it fits your needs, then it’s fine, but, generally, there are better options out there.

Fuel Economy

5

 

You don’t expect fuel economy in a V8-powered, three-row SUV to be very good, and in the GX 460 it’s not. The thing doesn’t even break 20 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA estimates. We saw no better than the EPA estimates of 15 mpg city and 18 mpg highway.

Observed: We saw an average of 15 mpg in the GX 460.

Driving Factors: We drove a mix of city and highway routes. At times were heavy with the throttle when conditions allowed for it.

Audio

8.8

 

The premium Mark Levinson surround sound audio system is excellent providing plenty of volume to fill the cabin. Both high and low notes sound wonderful and the system always delivered a rich, full-bodied sound. Paired with the Enform infotainment system, the GX 460 is an audiophile’s delight.



Final Thoughts

The Lexus GX 460 is a comfortable SUV with plenty of seating, an off-road ready construction and high price tag. As nice as it is, it’s hard to recommend over some of the more moderately priced third-row SUVs like the Mazda CX-9 or the Dodge Durango. However, if you insist on a luxury badge to grace the front of your three-row SUV, it is an option. Still, we find it hard to recommend the GX 460 over the other three-row luxury SUVs that are out there. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti, and Land Rover are just a few of the automakers playing in this space and many of them offer better options at a similar price.
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