2017 Lexus GX 460 Luxury Review - There's Comfort in the Unchanged

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
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Fast Facts

2017 Lexus GX 460 Luxury

4.6-liter V8 (301 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm; 329 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm)
Six-speed automatic, full-time four-wheel drive
15 city / 18 highway / 16 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
16.0 city, 12.9 highway, 14.6 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$62,980 (U.S) / $73,900 (Canada)
As Tested
$69,920 (U.S.) / $81,850 (Canada)
Prices include $975 destination charge in the United States and $3,075 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared.
2017 lexus gx 460 luxury review there s comfort in the unchanged

Yeah, I know, I know – we’re three months into 2018 and I am reviewing a 2017 model. That’s because some 2017s are still kicking around the press fleets, and also because I was working on other things and just now got around to writing up this GX.

Honestly, though, I don’t feel bad about the delay. That’s because the GX is one of those vehicles that just doesn’t change much over time.

Browsing the media materials, you see only incremental, minor changes for 2017 over 2016 – or 2018 over 2017. In a world in which change of all kinds occurs at such a clip that it’s almost impossible to keep up, the GX, along with a couple of other Toyota and Lexus models, remains a source of comfort in its consistency. It’s a little like Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune – those shows have had the same hosts and format for what feels like forever. Meanwhile, the GX has had the same bones for what feels like, well, forever.

Usually, it’s a negative for a vehicle to stay so unchanged for so long. There are exceptions, though – vehicles that enthusiasts and buyers hope carry on unchanged. The Jeep Wrangler was one, though at some point it had to be dragged into modernity – a feat Jeep accomplished while maintaining the model’s core character.

The GX is one of those vehicles, of course. At some point, Lexus will have to update it, but until then, it soldiers on, a reminder of what was, while still keeping up with the times.

A 4.6-liter V8 remains under hood, making 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque. The GX still has full-time four-wheel drive and still has a six-speed automatic transmission.

It also stills drives pretty much the same way it did when I worked in the service department at a Lexus dealer in the mid-Aughts. It’s heavy, so that V8 power only does so much good. The steering offers something resembling feel, but not much of it, and the GX somehow manages to ride both luxury soft and four-wheel-drive stiff, depending on the situation. It has a fair bit of roll about it, for one thing.

Yet, that’s all fine. It’s what’s expected of a burly luxury ‘ute with off-road capability (not that I went any further off-road than a parking lot).

The GX is supposed to get up to seven people from point A to point B in comfort, and it does that. Roll and wallow becomes less of a problem on long highway stints, as the GX rides in comfort over the miles. Lexus worked hard over the past decade to shed the stigma that it’s too soft and coddling, but it hasn’t completely abandoned that ethos – the GX is old-school Lexus, from the pre F-Sport days.

The interior is a delightful throwback, with a blocky center stack and big buttons and switches throughout. There’s even two big radio knobs. Comfort and quiet are what matter here. Space does, too – there’s plenty of room, at least up front.

Plenty of features, too, as one would expect from a large luxo SUV that rings the register well over $60K to start.

That price includes a rear air suspension that automatically load-levels, satellite radio, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, navigation, moonroof, tri-zone climate control, and wood steering wheel.

Almost $6K in options included an appearance package and the driver-support package (premium audio, pre-collision system with driver-attention monitor, radar cruise control, lane departure alert, and CRAWL control, among other items).

For nearly $70K, you get a big, bulky, comfortable seven-seat SUV that has some off-road chops and a decidedly throwback feel that’s more charming than annoying.

The GX isn’t the only Toyota or Lexus SUV to feel old-school – wait til I get to the 4Runner – so clearly, the template works.

Sometimes, it’s best NOT to change.

[Images © 2018 Tim Healey/The Truth About Cars]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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7 of 116 comments
  • Fordson Fordson on Apr 13, 2018

    This comment thread is hilarious - like reading the comments from a listing on Bring A Trailer. Is it true that Lexus offers a "my other car is a 2010 Avalon with gold trim and a carriage roof" bumper sticker as a factory option?

  • Kooden916ku1 Kooden916ku1 on May 11, 2018

    No need to buy a top trim GX 460 to get Crawl Control. It can be added for around $300 by replacing the center console switch stack and a zero point calibration. MTS which isn't even available on US models (Option available in Canada) can be added for around $200 or less by simply swapping module behind the glove box. These mods can be installed on any trim GX 460 '10-Present and can be reverted back just as easy.

    • See 1 previous
    • Kooden916ku1 Kooden916ku1 on May 11, 2018

      @28-Cars-Later Thank you for the kind words! :-) For those coming across this post with a GX 460 or considering one... Google Search "DAC versus Crawl Control" This should get you started on what you need. Even if you don't off-road... the MTS mod increases stability in snow on roads. MTS basically allows variable ATRAC.

  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
  • FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
  • Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.
  • Stuki Moi "How do you take a small crossover and make it better?Slap the AMG badge on it and give it the AMG treatment."No, you don't.In fact, that is specifically what you do NOT do.Huge, frail wheels, and postage stamp sidewalls, do nothing but make overly tall cuvs tramline and judder. And render them even less useful across the few surfaces where they could conceivably have an advantage over more properly dimensioned cars. And: Small cuvs have pitiful enough fuel range as it is, even with more sensible engines.Instead, to make a small CUV better, you 1)make it a lower slung wagon. And only then give it the AMG treatment. AMG'ing, makes sense for the E class. And these days with larger cars, even the C class. For the S class, it never made sense, aside from the sheer aural visceralness of the last NA V8. The E-class is the center of AMG. Even the C-class, rarely touches the M3.Or 2) You give it the Raptor/Baja treatment. Massive, hypersophisticated suspension travel allowing landing meaningful jumps. As well as driving up and down wide enough stairs if desired. That's a kind of driving for which a taller stance, and IFS/IRS, makes sense.Attempting to turn a CUV into some sort of a laptime wonder, makes about as much sense as putting an America's Cup rig atop a ten deck cruiseship.