2022 Lexus GX 460 Black Line Review

A tough old man in a tux


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Black Line details change the aging looks for the better, much-improved infotainment system and center stack, competent on-road for a body-on-frame SUV, truly rugged off-road capability, solid V8 grunt, excellent materials quality inside
Negatives: Thirsty fuel consumption, cramped third row, still in need of a full redesign.
Bottom Line: Although the GX 460 is seriously aging, the Black Line trim dresses things up nicely, and the infotainment finally looks modern. The GX 460 still boasts some of the most rugged capabilities for a luxury SUV, no matter the age.
The last time we reviewed the GX 460 was almost three years ago, and it looked (and felt) old. It has gone without a redesign since the 2010 model year, which makes it over a decade. Now, the brand wants to extend its life with a Black Line Edition which brings some aesthetic changes. The infotainment system also improves, filling a huge void in the model's feature set. It still boasts great off-road talents but lacks the refinement of much newer competitors like the BMW X5 and the Audi Q7 (which can't compete with the GX 460's off-road chops). But it can still tow 6,500 pounds and will likely last longer than you. We drove the new Black Line Edition to see if it makes any difference with this dinosaur. Read our full review below.
 

Driving Experience

7.2

 

There's about zero expectation that a body-on-frame SUV would be good to drive, but the GX manages to be quite decent. It's plenty comfortable on road with some minor niggles, but overall it's competent overall for something this large.

Ride Quality: Without the very good Adaptive Variable suspension, the GX would no doubt suffer due to its body-on-frame construction. While it does exhibit some compliance. It's comfortable without being totally isolated.

Acceleration: It'll do 60 mph from a standstill in just under eight seconds, which is slow for the segment. The BMW X5 will do the same sprint in under five seconds. The transmission is slow to downshift, which doesn't help.

Braking: The brake pedal is progressive and has no dead spots, but the GX 460's stopping distances are longer than average, and the nose tends to dive when braking hard.

Steering: The steering has some heft, but it's devoid of feedback. It's on center, but the turn-in has some delay.

Handling: The GX is very tall, and there's some nose dive in sharper turns. Don't take curves to quickly. It's manageable if you control your speed on entry.

Technology

8

 

Aside from the dated design of the GX, the main issue we had was with its antiquated infotainment system and center stack. The screen was too small, and the center stack had too many bulky plastic controls. All that has changed for 2022, and what a difference it makes.

Infotainment System: The new screen is not only larger (10.25" up from a small 8"), but it now sits atop the dash, having switched places with the center HVAC vents. It's more vivid, better positioned, and the system works better (but it's still not great).

Controls: The Enform infotainment system loses the buttons that flanked the touchscreen, and it now gets a touchpad and button controls in the center console. Climate and audio control are also much improved and easier to use.

Styling

7.3

 

The Black Line trim really does make a difference in the way the GX 460 looks. It visually reduces some of the clunkiness, and the dark trim bits give it a smaller overall appearance.

Front: The big spindle grille looks way better with the dark mesh trim instead of the chrome crossbars on the standard GX. The dark chrome frame also replaces the chrome version on the base model.

Rear: The dark chrome trim looks great, and the optional Scarlet colored taillights help calm down the rear visual height very nicely.

Profile: The addition of black wheels gives it a more aggressive look, and the black paint reduces the clumsiness of the side view.

Cabin: The interior is a very dark place, but the materials look is high quality. The redesigned center stack, center console, and steering wheel really help.

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: Seats are comfy, decently bolstered, and well-cushioned, but the seating position is a bit on the high side.

Rear Seats: 34.1 inches of 2nd row legroom is decent, but the 3rd row is shrimpy with a mere 29.3 inches of legroom. It's not for normal-sized adults.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Noise in the cabin is only noticeable at highway speeds. The GX, however, is built like a tank. Very solid construction.

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

5.5

 

The GX 460 has not been crash tested by either testing body, but it does have some solid safety tech. It comes with Lexus' robust Safety System+.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: It comes with Lexus Safety System+ that includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (which only works down to 32 mph), Lane Departure Alert, and Intelligent High Beam Headlamps. It also comes standard with Blind Spot Monitor w/ Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and Intuitive Parking Assist.

Optional Tech: None.

Storage/Cargo

5.5

 

For a vehicle of this size, the GX 460 leaves us wanting in these areas due to small-ish storage and cargo space. The side-opening tailgate is awkward to use and a bit impractical for this segment, as well.

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: Swing the tailgate wide to a not so capacious 64.7 cubic feet of space with all the seats folded flat. With the seats in place, there's only 11.6 cubes behind row three. That's not much.

Fuel Economy

5.6

 

The GX 460's naturally-aspirated V8 and a significant curb weight add up to paltry efficiency scores. We dialed it to Sport mode in order to extract the most responsiveness, and that didn't help matters at all.

Observed: 12.6 mpg.

Distance Driven: 123 miles.

Audio

8

 

It's not a Mark Levinson system, but the Lexus 9-speaker premium sound system that comes standard is pretty good. We didn't notice any issues when we dialed up the volume, and the sound was clear and decently full.



Final Thoughts

The Black Line trim certainly helps mitigate some of the dated styling of the GX 460, but it can't completely mask the fact that the model is an old one. The good news is that there are scant competitors that can pull off a premium body-on-frame juxtaposition like this. The interior is much improved where it really needed it, and the exterior looks almost sharp. But none of this can detract from the fact that Lexus needs to replace it with something more modern.
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