By on September 26, 2014

2014 lexus gs 460 side

The various models of the Toyota Land Cruiser are some of the most respected off-roaders in the world. But what works elsewhere in the world does not necessarily work in North America. Dressed up in what is perceived to be luxury, how does this fancy Land Cruiser Prado, as its known everywhere else in the world, perform in the United States?

2014 lexus gs 460 front

Get in and right away you realize that this is a truck and not a car disguised to look like one. It drives like a truck, it handles like a truck, and it feels like a truck. Guess what, it’s a truck. If that’s not your thing please stop reading and consider buying the excellent Toyota Highlander.

The exterior shape is a classic SUV two cube design. Being a Lexus, it has body cladding and running boards which are supposed to make it look upscale and softer in order to attract someone other than rich adventure travelers. New for 2014 is a Lexus family grill, the contours of which do not match vehicle’s utilitarian side profile, and frankly it looks like an add-on made by an Eastern European aftermarket company.

2014 lexus gs 460 dash interior

Hop into the driver’s seat and you will be greeted by a high seating position and large windows which yield a very commanding, Range Rover-like, sitting position. The whole dash has a very vertical feel to it, much different than anything else on the road. I was disappointed to see that the dash felt more like a Toyota, good quality but not pleasant to the senses, rather than any of the excellent new Lexus cars. All the commonly used controls are nicely laid out and very easy to use. Unfortunately the infotainment screen feels old due to its low resolution and inability to perform more than one task at a time. Instead of a new grill Lexus should have invested the money into the dash.

The rear bench is big, soft, and flat – exactly what it’s supposed to be in a vehicle like this. It does not slide, despite being on rails to allow third row access. The two-passenger third row seats are best used for short rides due to difficultly of access and lack of legroom. The third row folds in an interesting way; the bottom cushions slide under the rear cargo floor and then the seat-backs fold flat to form the cargo floor. With the third row folded, the cargo area is large and tall, something rarely seen in the days of sporty CUVs with sloping roofs. The floor is raised several inches, like on the Yukon, to accommodate the folded rear seats. There is no hatch but rather a large door hinged on the right which is a little heavy to operate. The rear window pops up for quick access, but I wish it rolled down into the door like on the 4Runner.

2014 lexus gs 460 third row cargo hatch details

Power comes from an aluminum 4.6-liter DOHC port-injected V8 which puts out 301hp and 329 lb.-ft. The engine feels heavy and it sounds loud, like a truck is supposed to. Several years ago this power would have been sufficient, but now it is lagging behind its competition. The only transmission choice is a six-speed automatic that is connected to a two-speed full-time 4WD transfercase. Compounded by a 5128 lb. curb weight, the GX gets 15mpg in the city and 20mpg on the highway. It’s not a fast vehicle, as it does not like abrupt full-throttle application, but it is smooth at any speed.

Start driving and you will immediately notice the soft suspension, a trait common to vehicles with real off-road abilities in order to allow axle articulation and traction. All potholes, no matter the size get absorbed, even at high speed but at the expense of handling. It’s not that the handling is bad; it’s just truck-like and not CUV-like. Steering feel and braking are also truck-like. To put it simply, the GX 460 requires a certain amount of respect – don’t drive it like a lunatic.

2014 lexus gs 460 interior details

Astute readers and buyers will be interested in how the Lexus GX 460 compares to the Toyota 4Runner. Underneath the sheet metal, those two are basically the same vehicles. Mechanically, the biggest difference is that the Lexus has a V8 engine, standard third row seats, and a hinged rear door. The 4Runner comes only with a V6 engine but offers a choice of 2WD and 4WD, optional third row seats, and has a tailgate with a roll-down rear window. The difference in power is not really noticeable because of the Lexus’ extra 400lb of luxury weight and the two vehicles drive nearly the same. GX’s advantage comes in maximum trailer towing: 6500 lbs. versus 4Runner’s 4700lbs. People who think of actually taking their vehicles off pavement may want to look into the new 4Runner TRD Pro which comes with locking diffs, fancy suspension, and proper mud tires.

2014 lexus gs 460 front side

The 2014 Lexus GX 460 starts at $49,085. As shown here, $4710 Premium Package adds leather, wood, automatic wipers, LED fog-lights, parking sensors, heated/cooled seats, and touch-screen nav. The somewhat flimsy cargo cover is $150 and the wheel locks are pretty pricey at $81. Total comes down to $54,826 before $910 delivery fee. A Luxury model starts at $60,715 and it includes nicer leather, air suspension, fancy headlights, and many other minor upgrades. If you have been noticing more new GX 460s on the road, it is likely because Lexus has had very aggressive lease rates on them, comparable to a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara, a much less expensive vehicle.

Despite what seems like a lot faults, I personally like this truck, but I do have a general bias toward proven off-roaders. It’s honest; it does not try to be all things to all people like, say, the BMW X5. It feels strong and solid, like it could take a lot of abuse and just shrug it off. Fortunately for those disagreeing with me, the market is full of cars that resemble trucks.

2014 lexus gs 460 rear side

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. 

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. provided the vehicle for this review.

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100 Comments on “Review: 2014 Lexus GX 460...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    I am not a fan of the GX or the LX – neither is a good fit with the brand. I think Lexus should replace both models with a gussied up Sequioa.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      No, but they could use a three-row crossover.

      These two are basically Lexus’ answer to the Rovers, and they’re pretty good options if you, eg, want a very nice trucklet (like a Rover) but don’t want it to break every second week. A Sequoia wouldn’t really work; the Escalade pretty much owns that market; these go where the Escalade and the German crossovers can’t.

      That said, something with three rows of seats and car-like handling would not go amiss: basically a stretched, widened RX with the powertrain for the LS.

    • 0 avatar

      The Sequoia is hardly a candidate for a Lexus SUV. What Lexus *could* use is a large crossover to slot between the RX and the GX. Honestly, the GX’s third row is a joke—as Kamil basically said—and the LX is prohibitively expensive for a lot of people. But something to compete head-on with the QX60 and MDX would be an appreciated product for some of Lexus’ more-family-oriented customers, I’m sure.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The LX makes sense — there is a real market for high-end, big, trucky SUVs — but the GX is a wasted opportunity. The middle spot in the lineup should be a three-row crossover. Buyers in this category who are buying luxury brands just don’t go off road. If they are price-conscious they’ll buy a 4Runner; if not, they’ll buy an LX.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        As was already mentioned, Lexus will likely position the RX as a 3-row crossover.

        You’ve got to step outside the narrow view of market segments, and think about it globally. Toyota makes this car in dozens of other markets. The cost of throwing in some nice leather and a couple Lexus badges is miniscule. And then they slap a $50k-60k sticker on it and ship it to the dealer, and laugh like hell when the super-profitable margins come in, even at low volume. Why would they NOT do that?

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          As he said. This thing is just a Prado dressed in Prada.

          What irks me is that the vanity of America’s Lexus buying classes, at least per Toyota Amrketing’s estimation, is so acute that they’d rather buy the in every way less functional rear barndoor Prado, over the flat out brilliant US 4Runner similarly gussied up. With a spare on the rear door, the swing door kind of makes sense, but without it????? Can’t open the swingout in a garage withot 3 feet behind the car. Ditto for paralell parking…. And you get no cover when loading luggage in the rain. But, looking more like one of them sophistimecated forreginers instead of some local flat biller or (marginally less wealthy) soccer mom trumps all that, supposedly…

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Do you know what amazes me (literally)?

            This is the Big Mac Daddy of Lexus SUVs with a legendary reputation for long term reliability & durability.

            And it has a starting price that is merely 9 grand more than the comparatively diminutive Lincoln MKC 2.3 liter compact crossover.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Do you know what amazes me (literally)?

            This is the Big Mac Daddy of Lexus SUVs with a legendary reputation for long term reliability & durability.

            And it has a starting price that is merely 9 grand more than the comparatively diminutive BASE Lincoln MKC 2.3 liter compact crossover.

            And it gets nearly as good gas mileage as the MKC based on Derek’s testing!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Shhhh the proles have no interest in facts, too scary.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      Didnt they used to have a SUV based on the Sequioa? It seems like they did at one time.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Nope.

      • 0 avatar

        Nope. I don’t believe the Sequoia entered the market until 2001 and there was never a Lexus version of it. Previously to that, Toyota had the Land Cruiser and the original LX 570, a rebadged version of the former. In a role-reversal, the first-gen RX, was actually conceived first as a Lexus, and then the executives decided to market to the Japanese a slightly-downgraded one as an upmarket Toyota called the Harrier. The Land Cruiser Prado had been sold in other markets for a full generation, but with the second-gen Land Cruiser Prado, Toyota decided to make a version with modified exterior design and significant interior and suspension upgrades…and that’s where we got the Lexus GX. Then of course there’s the new NX, whose closest relative from a structural standpoint is the RAV4, but it doesn’t have a direct Toyota counterpart like the other three SUVs/crossovers…

    • 0 avatar
      lexusenvy

      Ok so I just bought the 2015 GX last August and the ride, steering, handling and suspension is nothing at all like a truck. It’s nothing like the 2005 4runner V8 I have either. It actually reminds me of my old 2001 5 series in handling once I got used to it. The suspension suppresses down and hugs the road when I hit about 60 and at 80 it’s just immaculate.
      The engine is far superior to the 4runner and shifting down into first gear at just the right time, Its very quick and gets me way out in front of many vehicles when I want. I can jump out ahead of some Audis and lots of other sports cars. Everybody underestimates it all around and when I easily keep up with them around turns they actually get flustered. The entire re design is beautiful and Lexus finally got the front end on the GX correct. The more aggressive grill looks way better than the older models in which I would never made the purchase on. The leather seats are super comfortable and you can’t hear anything with the AC on. Pretty much all noise is so manageable without the AC anyways. At night it looks even better and much more so than anything else on the road, besides maybe some exotic sports cars. Lots of jealous looks and head turning away because they hate seeing me in it and wish they had it. Some admirers but once I notice them and give them a smirk they generally get annoyed. LOL!
      Anyways, this Luxury SUV is more than I expected and absolutely nothing like a truck. Handles more like a sporty sedan, plus I have the height advantage.The Sequioa actually reminded me of a truck and can’t keep up with the GX handling at all. I almost wanted to get the LX for the extra horse power and space, but that didn’t handle as well either. The GX is perfect. lol

  • avatar
    Waterview

    “New for 2014 is a Lexus family grill, the contours of which do not match vehicle’s utilitarian side profile, and frankly it looks like an add-on made by an Eastern European aftermarket company.”

    +1,000 Nailed it!

    The swinging rear door thing continues to confound me. Either a tailgate that folds down or a liftback that opens up is far more practical (isn’t that what this vehicle is about)?

    • 0 avatar
      Goatshadow

      That 3/4 front view really takes one’s breath away with how stupid and awful the Lexus front end is.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The swinging rear gate seems to be a JDM thing; it’s not bad, just idiosyncratic.

      The grille is not pleasant. When we saw this on the LX, I understood the samurai kabuki mask that they were going for, but now it’s just “I will eat your children and pets”.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        On the FJ and many/most/all? Prados, the spare tire is hung on the door. So you can get to it without crawling under the truck, or have the tire either damaged or hanging up the truck in rough going. It makes lots of sense on a really hard use off road vehicle. But once you no longer carry a spare there, it’s simply silly. Particularly when Toyota already have a superior alternative, the 4Runner, available and ready for pimping, in the Us market.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      That’s a common issue with Lexus now that their entire lineup has the “Predator grill.”

      For instance, the front of the GS does not match with the pedestrian side and rear.

      The NX is the 1st Lexus design which mates the front design with the side/rear (might be too much for some, but the design of the NX flows, whereas for the others, it’s just the obnoxious front attached to rather otherwise bland designs).

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      The swing door on my mom’s RAV4 is heavy enough already. Can’t imagine the weight of it on the GX460.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    This thing is butt ugly or even fugly.

    We do get the Prado in Australia it does sell in significant numbers.

    Toyota being Toyota don’t have many good engines. Once upon a time maybe Toyota engines and drive trains where good. But not now.

    The most popular engine in our Prado is a 3 litre diesel. This engine is underpowered, but reliable.

    We have the Kluger which is your Highlander. We have them at work. I don’t like them at all. They are built on a Camry platform and drive like one, except the FE is dismal. Driving to Darwin in one it will use 20 gallons of gasoline in 250 miles. Pathetic.

    Toyota really needs to lift it’s act in the commercial vehicle and SUV sector. The Toyota name that it developed in the 80s and 90s will diminish if they don’t attempt to provide vehicles comparable to the competition.

    People will soon wise up to the Toyota tax.

    By the way, I’m not Toyota’s biggest fan. But I will state they do build reliable vehicles, maybe outdated and expensive, but reliable all the same.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Taking for granted that Japanese trucks last forever, three years used for the price of a new base 4Runner is appealing. Going back that far predates the awful new grill, too.

    It fixes what’s most glaringly wrong in the 4Runner – V8 with a 6 speed, higher roofline with decent headroom, bigger seats, nice stereo, actually feels expensive inside.

    Takes a few steps back too – the side gate without the cool power window, the mandatory third row that’s too small to use but raises the cargo floor anyway, the integrated side steps to brush road grime on your pants forever afterwards.

    If only they’d have put those goodies in a box that doesn’t shout trophy wife so loudly.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Why would you want this over a 4Runner if you’re after a truck? The low running boards and fascia compromise off-road ability and the nice interior will just get abused.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        How much offroad do you need? The horrid new fascia won’t go far with a 21 degree approach angle but the 2010-13 at 28 isn’t too bad. Nothing stopping you from a +2 kit and 33s either. That’d get me over any bad road I’ve ever gone down fishing or hunting, probably more easily than the half ton I use for that now. Not any kind of rock crawler but if I did that I’d already have a Jeep.

        I get the appeal of a basic truck, I own one bench seat and all and I’m probably buying a new one soon, but I didn’t pay any $40,000 out the door for it either. If I were going to I’d expect my ass pampered a bit. It’s not like the bad stereo and cheap seats let you hose a 4Runner out either.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnnyFirebird

          Dumb question (slightly unrelated) – why did GM suddenly lower all their SUV bumpers to a couple of inches off the ground? Is that because of crash testing or aerodynamics / fuel efficiency? This seems like it would kill the offroad worthiness of an SUV.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            You got it, aerodynamics for the fuel economy label.

            A good idea at face value, nobody is ever going to take a Traverse off road, but when they drop them so far you can’t even swing the front end over a parking curb anymore I get the idea that their design committee has lost sight of what cars are for.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            On the truck-based SUVs the lower part of the bumper is a piece of black plastic that can be easily removed. The bumper looks fine without it, and removing it has no effect on the car’s functionality but will cost you a bit of highway fuel mileage.

          • 0 avatar

            I think the assumption is if anyone will actually take them offroad they’ll remove the air-dam and/or get an aftermarket bumper.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    What I’m seeing is a good product gone sour; too many things are Lexus Luxury oriented which kills the real utility of the vehicle. For one thing, third-row seats are flat-out unnecessary, and the way these slide/fold actually detracts from its capacity to carry anything modestly heavy like a 100# sack of mulch or an old-style picture tube TV to the recycling center.

    But worse than that is the fact that the tailgate opens like a door rather than drops like a half-height tailgate. Not only does it cost load/working surface (hey, you still need a table on which to change the baby’s diaper) but it takes up more room when trying to access the back, room that may not be available where you park. However, the worst part of it is that absolutely hideous grill. I wouldn’t one one for that reason alone! I’ve never really been a fan of Lexus before, but this just flat destroys what is probably an excellent vehicle overall.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      I don’t know how many 6-figure people are into mulching their own property. Before retirement, anyway.

      And if they’re religious/retro enough to have the number of kids that require one of these, they’ll need that third row.

      Some people respond to successful lives that way:

      *plop* *plop* !wah! !wah! Cattle truck for us, oh yeah!

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Obviously you didn’t read the line, “The two-passenger third row seats are best used for short rides due to difficultly of access and lack of legroom.” You’re not going to be putting children in carriers back there and if you really bothered to look at how those seats lie in the “crumple zone”, you’re not going to want ANY passengers back there! If you’ve got so many kids you need 6+ seating capacity, get a bus!

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        Lots of 6 figure folks mulch their own property, I often do. By the way, this is precisely the kind of vehicle I need, but wouldn’t buy. It’s too expensive, too thirsty and just not worth the premium over the 4Runner. I probably wouldn’t buy the 4Runner either due to noise, the lousy ride and MPG. The 4.0 six is ancient and needs a huge upgrade.

        Third row seats are for short rides to soccer practice or the ice cream parlor with your kids and their friends. In the old days we just dumped kids in the wells of station wagons, but that is now forbidden.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          How is the 4.0L ancient? It debuted in late 2009 as a 2010 model. Over 35k miles, my 2010 4Runner averaged 21.68mpg (hand calculated, best tank was 24.99, worst was 16.68). And I sold it after nearly 4 years for $4500 less than I paid new. I’ll give you that the ride is sloppy — but what do you expect for a traditional spring and shock suspension that is designed to allow for articulation and go off the beaten path? I only got rid of it because I wasn’t driving it a ton and I was only getting offroad 2 or 3 times a year. It was also preventing me from being able to get a sports car, so it had to go… but I’ll miss that truck.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Biggest thing the GX offers over the 4Runner is headroom. IIRC, the GX has like 4″ more. The 4Runner is a little cramped, and has a low seating position relative to the floor, for what it is.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            It’s ancient as an age-independent synonym for bad, from the generation that gets a new phone every 6 months and expects everything else to be thrown away as quickly.

            I can count on one hand the new cars that wouldn’t be improved with a 20 years ancient LT1 under the hood.

    • 0 avatar
      lexusenvy

      what do you drive that you think looks better than the new front end or remotely comes close to the handling, comfort, and superior experience of the 2015 GX?

  • avatar
    ant

    so, just out of curiosity, I went to Toyota website to see how much a land cruiser cost.

    80k.

    There wasn’t much option there to upgrade.

    What’s the difference between that and this?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The Land Cruiser is on a different platform, and is considerably larger. Seats up to 8. More off road capable, with heavier bits underneath. Appeals to the Range Rover crowd, rather than the GL crowd like this does.

      Now go price the LX, which is the Lexus Land Cruiser.

      • 0 avatar
        ant

        thanks for the reply.

        So this thing is the lexus version of the sequoia?

        them toyo people sure do make a lot of trucks. I can’t afford none of em, and their drinking habits at the gas pump, so I don’t have em sorted out in my head….

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          No.

          This is the middle truck, the Land Cruiser prado.

          Basically, there is:
          (Toyota/Lexus)
          Rav4/NX
          highlander/RX
          Land cruiser prado (not sold in US)/4Runner/GX
          Land Cruiser/LX
          Sequoia

          This is a luxurified 4Runner with a higher roof.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I’m not sure you are actually reading the article. Did you just check out pictures?

          “Astute readers and buyers will be interested in how the Lexus GX 460 compares to the Toyota 4Runner. Underneath the sheet metal, those two are basically the same vehicles. “

          • 0 avatar
            ant

            yeah, i read it.

            Pictures dont tell me nothin, cause their aint nothin to compare it to.

            The Fj cruiser i sposed to be based off the 4 runner too….. but that dont look nothin like this either.

            how am i sposed to know how big this thing is by looking at a picture?

            how am i sposed to know that a land crusier is smaller than a sequoia?

            Mabe if lexus had real names instead of letter combinations it would easier for people like me to know the difference.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Up until recently, Lexus had one of the easier naming conventions.

            GS = midsize RWD platform sedan
            GX = midsize RWD platform SUV
            LS = fullsize RWD platform sedan
            LX = fullsize RWD platform SUV

            Things are all over the place from the past few years and the ES/RX relationship.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You may feel more comfortable over at Jalopnik, ant. Lexus isn’t worried about kids with no $, sposedley.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    This vehicle certainly doesn’t speak to me, as the owner of a “crossover” (Honda Pilot). Undoubtedly, it’s more capable off-road than the Pilot; but, in my mind, serious off-road capability and “luxury” are oil-and-water, Land Rover notwithstanding. If I wanted this thing’s off-road capabilities, “Toyota reliability” and all that, I’d just buy a Land Cruiser.

    They could put the 5.7 liter engine from the Tundra in this vehicle for more oomph, I would think.

    I do appreciate the box shape, however. It’s frustrating how many “crossovers” in an effort to look swoopy, sacrifice the “basic box” shape and utility with it, the Infiniti FX’s being the worst of the group.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “… serious off-road capability and “luxury” are oil-and-water, Land Rover notwithstanding.”

      I agree, it’s a mistake to sell expensive trucks as off-road capable. That isn’t what they’re bought or used for and marketing as such turns more buyers off than on.

      They should sell them as bad road capable. You can beat them over the worst potholes, frost heaves, speed bumps, curbs, etc. and with soft springs and 6″ sidewalls you won’t (usually) break anything.

      You can beat other cars into them and with 5 or 6000 lb to keep your momentum up the occupants won’t (usually) break anything either.

      And third owners can take them offroad later.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Hideous. And a side hinged door on the back?? How useless.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      But that’s what you need on the back of a short bus.

      This is just a privatized one.

    • 0 avatar

      What’s unfortunate about the side-hinged door—and was carried over from the previous-generation GX 470—is the fact that it opens to the right, which in left-hand-drive markets means that curbside loading involves moving around the door.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        They really should have swapped the hinge for our market. Side hinged doors do have advantages over hatchbacks or tailgates. If you’re tall, you won’t hit your head. If you’re short, you won’t have any reach issues when closing the door or from having to lean over a tailgate. There are also advantages to other configurations, but calling side hinged doors useless is a display of poor cognitive skills.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The other thing I always think of:

          When you have a liftgate at the back, you have not only moved a door out of your way, but simultaneously created a roof from any precipitation, and also some shade if you plan on being there a while.

          I don’t see how a hinged door is better in any way than a liftgate.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Side-hinged doors are a real problem in any place where you parallel park even occasionally.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            I’m sure the intersection of number of people who live in a place where parallel parking is common, and people who buy a GX to haul large amounts of cargo (not just Nordstrom bags) is pretty miniscule.

    • 0 avatar
      JayDub

      I disagree with “krhodes1”.

      With my 2009 GX470 and my 2006 Montero, the rear doors open out (versus up), so I don’t ding my fiberglass / epoxy surfboards on top. This is a concern with most other trucks, wagons, or SUV’s.

      Granted, I miss swinging my feet from the clamshell tailgate of my 86 LandCruiser, or cooking camp dinner off the tailgate of my 99 Tacoma with matching shell. Plus the slight rain cover. But the swing-door rear area of the GX style is still a fun place to hang out.

      If the JDM’s had made these hinged doors open from the opposite side, then ‘Mericans wouldn’t complain about opening the door for groceries/luggage when parallel parked. But it has only affected me maybe once or twice.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “Get in and right away you realize that this is a truck and not a car disguised to look like one. It drives like a truck, it handles like a truck, and it feels like a truck. Guess what, it’s a truck. If that’s not your thing please stop reading and consider buying the excellent Toyota Highlander.”

    Lexus GX – a tank, a highly refined tank, but still a tank

    Toyota Highlander – what all those BOF station wagon lovers rose colored memories remember those cars to have been, the Highlander is in reality. (minus the 4×8 sheet of plywood carrying capacity – but seriously dude, I’ve got a truck.)

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    I’ll tell you what.. there are some gorgeous effing paint jobs out there nowadays.

    And this one even reflects some wavelengths resembling color.

  • avatar

    The GX is a product of the huge truck-based SUV boom that reached its zenith in the early/mid-2000’s, especially when you (as a business owner) could write off the entire cost of one if it had a gross-weight rating of over 6,000 pounds and a few other arbitrary requirements. Now the GX has few competitors left, with everyone having switched over to unibody construction. I would say that its closest competitor—both in price and function—is the Land Rover LR4, but even that vehicle uses a unibody/ladder-frame hybrid structure.

    And as far as leases go, the GX isn’t the kind of car I’d lease. I’d lease an X5 or a Range Rover, because those are ticking time bombs, but a GX is going to hold its resale value very well, and stay in one piece while doing it. It’s more of a long-term car (styling notwithstanding).

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      Yeah, this seems to be the attitude a lot of owners of these seem to take. There are lots of really clean previous gen GX470s and LX470s in our neighbourhood; the owners seem to buy them new and just keep them for 10+ years. When my parents retired, they bought an LX750 as their last vehicle purchase with the intent of doing the same.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It looked alright there for a couple years – after it got rid of the initial “it’s 2004 forever” styling, and before the predator maw.

    So I’d probably have a 2012 if I were to get one. But I wouldn’t – just too many sacrifices for everyday driving. It sounds so ponderous.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I’d love a pre-facelift (ugly grill) version of one of these. Off road and towing capable, comfy and full of toys inside, doesn’t scream mommywagon like a Highlander or RX, and will run forever.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You don’t save much money by going used, these prices are ridic. 2010-2013 are the years to be considered.

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lexus-GX-4WD-4dr-FACTORY-CERTIFIED-2010-LEXUS-GX-460-4WD-4dr-/301306404950?forcerrptr=true&hash=item462742e056&item=301306404950&pt=US_Cars_Trucks

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        I know, but you save ugly. And I honestly don’t object to the grill on cars like the IS, GS, and LS. It just doesn’t fit when you blow it up 200% and slap it on an SUV.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Oh I agree. I go back and forth on the grille. It’s no good on any SUV, and I find it bad on the angular current IS, but I don’t mind it on the GS and ES. It has no business on the luxury class LS.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      The pre-refreshed ones actually look quite good in black with some slightly upsized A/Ts.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I can’t get over the old headlamp design and very dated interior on the pre-refreshed. It didn’t come around until 04, but the problem is that was the END of their interior design language from the mid-late 90s, and before their current-ish stuff 06+.

        • 0 avatar

          You’re a lot like me in that you pay attention to automakers’ schools of design and the eras in which they happen. (Those eras are often defined by electronics architectures, too).

          But I wouldn’t say it was that cut-and-dry. Lexus had a few products that had an early preview of their 2000’s-era interior design, like the first-generation RX and the 2nd-gen LX. These cars had shinier wood veneers and stamped badges on their airbag covers, but still made extensive use of matte beige, grey or black plastic and didn’t have many of the interior accents that would define a luxury car today.

          Lexus’ 2000’s era interior design language probably began with the 2001 LS and the 2001 SC. The key here is detail, and there was a lot more of it than before. The wood veneers and the trim had a lot more contours and didn’t have the somewhat ill-fitted panels that some of their earlier interiors had been given. They also began using their dark-silver accented plastic to spice things up and there was a lot more coordination given to colors and how they interacted together. The 2001 products were followed by an all-new 2002 ES, then the brand-new 2003 GX, and the 2003 LX received a refreshed interior to match the newer products. Then of course there was the groundbreaking 2004 RX.

          Honestly, though, it was a short interior-design era, as far as things go. The GS and IS were, as late as 2005, still stuck in that late-90’s design theme, but both went on to showcase a brand new interior design theme for 2006 (released in early 2005). That’s less than three and a half years or so after the GX was released (late 2002). Then the ES and LS were re-done for 2007 and the LS for 2008. This was the start of Lexus’ “boutique” look and feel, and it was the first time that the executives at Lexus really began to sweat their European competitors, the ones they’d waged war against upon their start. Despite head unit upgrades and some new interior/exterior colors and brightwork, this made the RX and GX quite dated by the time they got redesigned in 2010. That design era did skip a few cars, mainly the SC, which merely got phased out.

          But that’s what happens when you don’t release all of your products concurrently, and you’ll notice a lot of automakers that seem like they have two separate eras of interior design—in particular—going on. For example, the Acura MDX, RLX and TLX have moved on to the new design with the dual-displays in the center stack and such, but you’ll notice that the ILX and RDX (both redesigned/introduced fairly recently) have interior digs that were in the Acura lineup as early as 2008 with the then-new TL. Or the fact that many of the Audi vehicles, like the A4, A5, Q5, Q7, R7 and TT all have the electronics architecture and design from as far back as 2005, with updates to some minor parts like the steering-wheel designs, while the A3, A6, A7 and A8 have much newer interiors. It’s even more obvious with exotic cars, which often aren’t updated for years. The Gallardo at the end of its lifespan wasn’t much different from when it was introduced in 2004, which made it look quite old alongside the Aventador, with all the latest and greatest stuff. Or there’s Maybach, whose desire to have its models permanently stuck in 2002 design, versus their 2006 and later Mercedes-Benz counterparts, is the reason that the company failed altogether.

          It’s all just part of the game.

          • 0 avatar

            *R8*

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It was particularly bad, I feel, in the GX because the interior never got changed. Like the 98-05 GS had the early 00’s interior, then you have this from 04-09 with an early 00’s interior.

          • 0 avatar

            True. Honestly, it has aged well at least. Some of the earlier Lexus interiors didn’t, and some competitors’ cars didn’t. Remember how bad the interior in the X3–with its pop-up, non-iDrive nav—looked by the time it went out. Or what about the XC90 *today*. The new one couldn’t come too soon…

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        This is the one I’m talking about.

        http://i652.photobucket.com/albums/uu241/fdfs02/2_zpsb83f9cf1.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Oh that’s ghastly!

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Really? It isn’t pretty, but it looks perfect for a BOF SUV with a luxury bent, IMO. Those silly little side steps need to be dropped for some sliders, though. The refreshed version has way too much hangdown on the front bumper. This one is high and tight. Headlights are a little odd, but the rest is pretty clean.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The perfect BOF + luxury is the original Range Rover, or a G-Wagon. :)

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Seems to me like this has all the disadvantages of a truck without many of the advantages. The luxury features, especially outside, compromise off-road usability. It tows OK but not as well as a domestic. Yet the third seat is still useless, cargo room is still very small, fuel economy is terrible, and handling/ride are trucky. Those toys inside are very out-of-date, too.

  • avatar
    stckshft

    1st Gen GX470 owner here. After looking at the pictures of the new version I can confirm that TMC has most certainly amortized the costs down on this platform and are now engaged in attracting clueless buyers wanting just a luxury badge. The early GX had large amounts of high quality wood and leather throughout and dash and console materials were superior to this latest offering. I don’t know about powertain reliability in the current model but the 1st gen after 130k miles and 11 years has been rock solid reliable. Not one leak or hiccup from the 2UZ V8. The factory Panasonic battery lasted 8 years! I guess at some point every automaker has to face the wrath of the bean counters.

    • 0 avatar

      I have extensively sampled the current GX 460, both the 2010-2013 and the 2014. There’s hardly any level of cost-cutting compared to the GX 470. If anything, it got quite a bit nicer for 2010 and several features were added (like a full-function screen in the IP) to make it more current. The problem with the GX is that its recipe just doesn’t address the needs and wants of today’s market, and for that it will be relegated to niche status.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        He’s just got owner bias.

        • 0 avatar
          JayDub

          I don’t know, I also love my (wife’s) 2009 black GX470. It is a 4runner in a tuxedo.

          We live in Mammoth Lakes, with 20+ feet of snow per year and a LOT of 4WD trails. It is smooth as butter, has a classy interior, and handles anything you throw at it with aplomb.

          I was going to say it might be a bit cramped for obese porkers. But yesterday we comfortably had two toddlers (in car seats) AND my 65-year old mother in the back seat, while driving around town.

          We took the third-row seats out as soon as we purchased it (in 2013 for half the cost of retail).

          • 0 avatar

            And yours, being a 2009, would have the later navigation system and some nicer interior color combinations than the earlier ones. It’s always great to have the last model year of something, like my 2014 Jetta SportWagen TDI (the new MQB-based SportWagen will be released next year, probably as a 2016). When you buy the final model year, you always get the best version possible of the product…unless, of course, they effed it up sometime during its lifecycle…not so with the GX 470, fortunately.

    • 0 avatar
      lexusenvy

      You sound borderline jealous that you didn’t wait for the re designed, more aggressive look. The older ones are so bland looking.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I wanted to love this SUV, I really did. I almost bought one back in 2012. It fit all of my criteria. However I just could not get over that stupid, idiotic, poorly designed damn side hinged tailgate. Whatever idiots approved and designed it should be fired or at least transfered to Mogadishu.

    Its a shame really, it ruins a perfect vehicle. How freakin’ hard is it to just slap the PROPER liftgate from. 4Runner on the end?

    The Q7 I bought instead has a power liftgate and it is one of my favorite features.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    My wife has the previous generation, the GX470. She bought it new and we’ve had it 10+ years. She absolutely loves it. The resale is incredible, it’ similar to a Land Cruiser where they still go for big money after 100k miles. I plan on rebuilding the suspension and keeping it for a few more years.

    I’m not an SUV guy, but I will tip my hat that the thing is built like a tank and I can understand the appeal. After 100k miles, it’s still feels like a bank vault. It’s been reliable except the air suspension. Great power right off the line, smooth and quiet.

    The rear door is definitely a horrible design, you can’t believe how many issues that it creates. Lexus could have easily switched it out. The space inside could also be more efficient, it’s not that roomy despite the exterior size.

    I think there will always be a market for truck based SUVs over CUVs, even if it’s not logical. Car purchase decisions are rarely logical, and I can understand not liking CUVs. I’d probably drive a minivan before a CUV.

    • 0 avatar

      On those previous-era Toyota SUVs, if I remember correctly, the third-row seats actually split and pivot up against the left and right walls of the cargohold, like so:

      http://cimg.carsforsale.com/332817/JTJBT20X450074681_8.jpg

      I’m sure it made the loading floor a lot lower than that of the current model (and therefore it was more space-efficient, especially if you didn’t even *order* the third-row seats), but I always wondered how people drove with such big blind spots created by those seats against the windows. My friend’s dad purchased one new in 2004—about three days before I met him, and in fact a shiny new car in the driveway was one of the things that prompted me to say hi—and he uninstalled his third-row seats within the first month. We used them as gaming chairs when we played Xbox.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        Yea, we pulled the 3rd row seats completely out. It was a complete waste for them to even be in there, I know she didn’t specifically order it, I think most of them just came that way standard.

        Even with the 3rd row completely removed and in storage, it really isn’t a very roomy SUV considering its size. It’s not cramped, but it’s just a little larger inside than say a Ford Explorer.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “It really isn’t a very roomy SUV considering its size.”

          That’s the BOF penalty. The ladder frame and huge wheelwells take up space that would be in the passenger cabin in a unibody CUV.

      • 0 avatar

        The current Lexus LX and the Land Cruiser are like that.

  • avatar
    RHD

    At 15 MPG and over 5,000 pounds, this thing is a pig, and an overpriced one at that… complete with the snout.
    Seriously, in 2014, it only exists because a few foolish people will buy it, and it will be sold to them at a high profit.
    It makes as much sense as a Country Squire station wagon, weighs about the same, isn’t much roomier, and drinks shameful quantities of dinosaur juice.

  • avatar

    The tragedy on the Toyota 4x4s is their pathetic towing capacity compared to the domestic competition (Tahoe and Durango are at 10k lbs).

    Specifically, you can’t tow a modern ski/wakeboard boat with these (boat plus trailer is 5-7k, then add fuel and gear). Given the rise of CUVs, heavyish towing is one of the few remaining “real” reasons to buy a BOF truck-based SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @mad_science
      WTF?

      This Lexus is a midsize and I would assume similar to our Prado here and I think they can tow around 7 000lbs.

      If I remember correctly a Tahoe is a full size?

      I wouldn’t want to tow 7 000lbs with a full size as well.

      If you’ve ever towed you’d realise that even towing 5 000lbs is a significant weight to factor.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I need to snap some pictures of a Prado before I redeploy. If the aftermarket winch bumpers would bolt up to the GX this could be an intriguing vehicle. I believe a 2 inch or so lift is easily accomplished (rear is via the factory air suspension IIRC). The Prados are tough but have nothing on a 70 series land Cruiser.

  • avatar
    lexusenvy

    Ok so I just bought the 2015 GX last August and the ride, steering, handling and suspension is nothing at all like a truck. It’s nothing like the 2005 4runner V8 I have either. It actually reminds me of my old 2001 5 series in handling once I got used to it. The suspension suppresses down and hugs the road when I hit about 60 and at 80 it’s just immaculate.
    The engine is far superior to the 4runner and shifting down into first gear at just the right time, Its very quick and gets me way out in front of many vehicles when I want. I can jump out ahead of some Audis and lots of other sports cars. Everybody underestimates it all around and when I easily keep up with them around turns they actually get flustered. The entire re design is beautiful and Lexus finally got the front end on the GX correct. The more aggressive grill looks way better than the older models in which I would never made the purchase on. The leather seats are super comfortable and you can’t hear anything with the AC on. Pretty much all noise is so manageable without the AC anyways. At night it looks even better and much more so than anything else on the road, besides maybe some exotic sports cars. Lots of jealous looks and head turning away because they hate seeing me in it and wish they had it. Some admirers but once I notice them and give them a smirk they generally get annoyed. LOL!
    Anyways, this Luxury SUV is more than I expected and absolutely nothing like a truck. Handles more like a sporty sedan, plus I have the height advantage.The Sequioa actually reminded me of a truck and can’t keep up with the GX handling at all. lol


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