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