Best of both worlds – the 2020 Lexus GX460
The 2020 Lexus GX460 may just be the best of both worlds when it comes to SUVs. Want a classy, luxurious SUV that looks good at the country club and just about guarantees front-row valet parking? The GX460 fits the role perfectly. But what if you want an SUV that can tackle the Rubicon Trail if you dare to venture there? The same GX460 can handle that task as well. Think of the Lexus GX460 as a rugged off-road SUV that provides on-road luxury.
The origins of the GX460 can actually be traced back to Toyota’s 4Runner where it shares much of its body-on-frame platform. In fact body-on-frame platforms – which are what real trucks use – are becoming a rarity these days as most SUV makers are using unibodies which give car-like rides but come up short when asked to be taken off-road.
Looking at the GX, you won’t see any indication it’s related to the 4Runner. Whereas the 4Runner looks rough, the GX looks elegant. In terms of size, the GX, which is a midsize SUV, isn’t that much smaller then the flagship Lexus SUV, the LX570.
Inside the GX460, occupants find themselves swarmed in a warm and luxurious experience. For the passengers up front, they are treated to nothing short of what they would expect to find in a Lexus vehicle: genuine wood and leather – and lots of it. And there are plenty of features nestled into the luxurious cabin. Of course there is the standard stuff – power seats with heaters and cooling vents, three-zone automatic climate control, moonroof and a power tilt & telescopic heated steering wheel. If you’re an audiophile, you’ll appreciate the optional Mark Levinson sound system. This audio system is so good you’ll find yourself sneaking out to the garage and into the GX just to hear your favorite music.
The GX460 is a three-row SUV with seating for seven. That drops to six if you opt for the second-row captain’s chairs. The third row is power-folding, so whether you need it or not, it’s always easily accessible.
As the name implies, the GX is powered by a 4.6 liter V8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Rated at 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque, the GX460 can scoot down the road with ease and little effort. With the silky-smooth V8, the quiet engine makes it all too easy to exceed the posted speed limit.
If the need arises to go off-road, the GX460 is more than fully capable of doing so. Every GX continues to use a full-time four-wheel drive system with a two-speed transfer case allowing for both high-range and low-range gears, something that is needed for true off-roading. But even more impressive is the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) that optimally adjusts the front and rear stabilizers based on a set of hydraulic cylinders. This system, which is fully mechanical, can even disengage the stabilizer bars – something that serious off-roaders do when attempting to conquer the most treacherous terrain.
For2020, the GX benefits from a front end design that implements a new spindle grill and headlights. There is also a new Off-Road package available. Priced at $1,570, this package adds multi-terrain and panoramic view monitors, a transmission cooler, a fuel tank protector and a selector knob for Crawl Control and to choose Terrain modes.
The GX460 has always been one of my favorite SUV’s. It’s sized just right, and while it’s a luxurious treat, it not all show and no go – this thing has the off-road goods to back it up. But I must add, the GX is starting to show its age. Its design is getting dated and its on-road manners, while smooth and quiet, comes up short in driving appeal. And even though it’s price starts at just under $55,000, it can get pricey, as my tester has a $72,000 price tag.
Still, when it comes to the Lexus reputation for quality and resale value, as well as the off-road abilities that the GX460 has to offer, I will always have an attraction for the dual personality of the GX460.
— Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2020 Lexus GX460 Luxury
Base Price: $64,265.00
Price as Tested: $72,010.00
Layout: front-engine / full-time four-wheel drive
Engine: 4.6 liter V8
Transmission: 6 – speed automatic
Horsepower: 301 hp
Torque: 329 ft/lb
EPA Fuel Economy: 15 city / 19 highway mpg
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