An old-style SUV with Lexus polish.
The GX is derived from the Toyota 4Runner and has an old-school, body-on-frame architecture that makes the GX heavier, taller, and harder to climb into than the crossover RX, the brand’s most popular model. At the same time, however, this more trucklike construction gives the GX460 a robust towing capacity of 6500 pounds and makes it better able to handle off-road conditions. The standard all-wheel-drive system includes a low range as well as a lockable center differential; the electronic Active Traction Control mimics the effects of lockable front and rear differentials. The optional Crawl Control is sort of like an off-road version of cruise control, and it’s augmented by Downhill Assist Control, which adjusts speeds during steep descents. Adjustable Height Control enables the suspension to raise the vehicle to clear obstacles (but be careful of those running boards), and the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System can adjust the anti-roll bars to allow greater wheel articulation off-road or, more usefully, less body roll during on-road cornering. For all its off-road helpers, the GX460 is a worthy machine on the road, where it runs smoothly and quietly. The cabin comes with power everything and is lined with leather. A third-row seat is standard, but you need to be small and limber to climb back there.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Land Rover LR4
new for 2013
The GX460 is largely unchanged — understandably, since the market for old-fashioned-style SUVs has been shrinking. Lexus is wise to focus its energies elsewhere.
Front, knee, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; and stability and traction control are standard. The Premium offers optional precollision warning with preventive braking, a driver-drowsiness monitor, and lane-departure warning. Lexus’s Safety Connect telematics system includes collision response and a one-year subscription.
Standard third-row seats
Tall and heavy
Luggage space disappears when third row is in use
Base Price Range: $54,340–$59,135
TRIM LEVELS: GX460, Premium
BODY STYLE: SUV, 7-passenger
ENGINE: 4.6L V-8, 301 hp, 329 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 129.7 cu ft
CAPACITIES: Towing 6500 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 11.6/46.7/91.9 cu ft