2019 Lexus GX 460 Luxury Review

An oldie but still good-ish


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Powerful V8 engine responds quickly, comfortable front seats, large physical controls, true off-road capability, reliable as all hell.
Negatives: Antiquated inside and out, thirsty fuel appetite, tight cargo space behind row three.
Bottom Line: Although the GX really should get a total redesign, it's a stalwart. It's reliable, tough, and comfortable. It even holds its resale value well. The problem really is this would've been superb ten years so. Buy it if you don't care about style or slick tech but want something that will last.
The current generation (2nd) GX has been built since November of 2009. I've been married since then and now have three kids, but Lexus hasn't even bothered to redesign the GX in that same time period. What's even more surprising is the fact that the premium Japanesse body-on-frame 4x4 still sells in shockingly high numbers for its age, outselling the Infiniti QX80, Lincoln Navigator, and the Mercedes-Benz GLS Class. Although we don't know if the GX will get replaced or redesigned, it will soldier on for at least another year in the current guise but with a mild refresh for 2020. We drove the 2019 Luxury model for a week to see if it could still light a small flame of "like" (not love) in our hearts for this seriously aging dinosaur. Read on for the detailed review.
 

Driving Experience

7.6

 

For something as big and as heavy as the GX, it's actually pretty easy to drive. Though you shouldn't try to nail any exit S-curves with speed, it actually manages fairly decent body control for a tall SUV. It's also powerful thanks to a big naturally-aspirated V8 and can tow 6,500 pounds, which is almost as much as the max towing of the Chevy Colorado.

Ride Quality: The Adaptive Variable suspension gives the GX great on-road compliance. It's comfortable without being totally isolated.

Acceleration: The GX's big naturally-aspirated (non-turbo) V8 is powerful. It hits 60 in 7 seconds, which is pretty good for something this big. Other premium three-row SUVs like the Infiniti QX80 will do it faster (6 seconds), but the GX 460 is smooth and linear.

Braking: Brake pedal feel isn't great, but at least travel is progressive and there are no dead spots.

Steering: The GX 460 steers smoothly but with near total abscence of feel. Turn-in is decent, and it's on center at highway speeds.

Handling: The body roll is present but not overwhelming. It manages to stay relatively planted without feeling like you're going to tip over.

Technology

5.5

 

Even newly redesigned Lexus vehicles like the fancy LC 500 luxury coupe suffer from a less-than-stellar infotainment system. On the bright side, the dated GX 460's system operates with buttons and touch versus the consistently awful touchpad found in other models.

Infotainment System: The 8-inch screen looks just okay against newer competitors like the Audi Q7. The menus are decent, but it's not as intuitive as the BMW or Mercedes, either.

Controls: Everything's big, and there are old-school physical knobs and buttons. They're not sexy, but they work just fine, eliminating a lot of distraction from largely touchscreen systems.

Styling

6.3

 

While we wouldn't call the GX 460 ugly, it certainly isn't easy ont the eyes. From just about every angle, it has an awkward, bulky look. It tries to straddle rugged and refined without really pulling off either. It gets tweaks for 2020 that will hopefully help a little.

Front: The big spindle grille looks out of place here, and there are way too many shapes and metallic trim in one location. It's just a mess.

Rear: The GX 460 looks way too tall from the back, and the the taillight shape make the appearance from the back worse.

Profile: It's probably the best view angle, but the rear haunches are misshapen making the GX look clumsy. The wheels/tires also don't fill the big wells properly, giving it an ungainly appearance.

Cabin: The blocky appearance of the dash and center console point to the body-on-frame leanings, but it's dated and the silvery plastic looks very '90s.

Comfort

8

 

For a pricey luxury vehicle, the GX 460 does provide a solid cabin and good space for all occupants. Ergonomically, it's showing its age, but occupants won't complain much since the cabin is laid out decently, and the materials are good.

Front Seats: The premium semi-aniline leather-trimmed seats are comfortable and adjust well, but the seating position is a bit high.

Rear Seats: The rear seats are flat, but there's ample space for tall adults. The third row is tight, and there's no adjustability making it less than ideal for anyone but smaller adults and children.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The GX 460 is solidly built and generally quiet. There is some noise at highway speeds, but it's not terribly intrusive.

Visibility: Tall glass helps front and side views, but the D-pillars are thick making rearward sightlines compromised. The rear wide-angle cameras help a lot.

Climate: Three-zone climate worked surprisingly well in all areas and generated plenty of heat quickly. The front heated/ventilated seats also work well.

Safety

6.5

 

The GX 460 has not been crash tested, surprisingly, but it does have a solid set of optional safety features that bring it up to speed.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: Other than the usual ABS, traction control, and airbags, there's no additional standard safety equipment.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with the Driver Support Package that includes a Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, Intelligent High Beam Headlamps, and a Wide-View Front and Side Monitor.

Storage/Cargo

5.5

 

For something this big, the GX 460 is a bit parsimonious with storage and cargo space. The side-opening tailgate is an anomaly in the segment, too, adding a bit of weirdness to the mix.

Storage Space: Other than door pockets, a small cubby in front of the shifter, cupholders, and an armrest, there's not much else within reach for small item storage, a big demerit against a big SUV that should offer more. We've seen small sedans with better choices.

Cargo Room: There's a smallish 64.7 cubic feet of space with all the seats folded flat, but when they're up, there's a mere 11.6 cubes, just enough for a few bags of groceries, and that's all.

Fuel Economy

5.7

 

We didn't expect to see much in the way of efficiency from a V8-powered behemoth, and that's what we got. It's not shocking, but we're glad gas prices are still low. We drove it mostly in Sport mode, which didn't help matters much.

Observed: 12.8 mpg.

Distance Driven: 162 miles.

Audio

7.5

 

The stock system is pretty good, but we'd prefer a Mark Levinson upgrade. The sound was loud and clear, but there's some bass and depth missing from the mix. At least it was distortion-free.



Final Thoughts

For those who want to take their trips off-the-beaten path but still want power and some semblance of luxury, the GX 460 offers something most competitors don't have with its body-on-frame construction and V8 engine. But if you care at all about modern looks and cutting edge technology, feel free to pass up the GX 460. It's just not holding onto its final years particularly well, and we're guessing the 2020 refresh won't change much of that. Toyota/Lexus may not replace this beast, and we can't say we're especially sad about that.
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