By on January 23, 2019

2018 Lexus GX 460 front quarter

2018 Lexus GX460

4.6-liter V8, DOHC (301 hp @ 5500 rpm, 329 lb-ft. @ 3500 rpm)

Six-speed automatic transmission, 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)

18.7 (observed mileage, MPG)

Base Price: $52,850 US / $76,606 CAD

As Tested: $54,380 US / $76,606 CAD

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $2206 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

When the good folks who bring me cars for review each week mentioned that a Lexus GX460 would be coming to my door, I honestly forgot what the GX was. That’s the curse of a alphanumeric model naming scheme — unless the car itself is iconic, with decades of enthusiast love behind it, it’s hard to develop a connection to a few letters and numbers.

It’s not exactly invisible in the showroom, however — it’s big, and it’s been selling for years with little change. It’s hard to miss, though it lives in the shadow of both the ubiquitous RX and the iconic big-brother LX.

While not perfect, the Lexus GX460 has the versatility to haul the family and a boat either across the country or through the woods in total comfort.

2018 Lexus GX 460 profile

Yeah, it’s old. The GX460 has soldiered on with few substantive changes since 2010, and it keeps selling. Indeed, since 2010, it’s averaged just under 20,000 units per year, and since 2014 has been trending generally upward in sales.

2018 Lexus GX 460 rear

I’m surprised at how good this is to drive. It’s no sports car, but the exterior dimensions are compact enough that placing it precisely in city traffic is better than most large SUVs. Further, the GX460 is magnificent on the highway. I did 10 hours in a single stretch, stopping only to fuel myself and the thirsty V8, and got home ready to drive more. There are few other vehicles I’d rather sit in all day.

2018 Lexus GX 460 interior

Oddly, the brake pedal feels a bit spongy — this is something I noticed in the mechanically similar 4Runner in the past, so it may be inherent to Toyota SUVs. Power from the 301 hp V8 is adequate, though I’d imagine a trailer close to the 6,500 lb limit would tax on-ramp acceleration.

2018 Lexus GX 460 center stack

It’s a pain in the ass to adjust fan speed or other HVAC controls, as you have to access the climate menu on the central touchscreen. The only functions available through hard buttons on the dash — auto climate control, recirc, defrost, defog, and temperature. Can’t control fan speed or fan location (face, feet, combo) save for the touch screen. The touchscreen audio system is functional, but slow to respond to touch inputs. It’s quite similar to systems fitted to lower-end Toyotas, while more recently-updated Lexus models have seen a significant improvement in usability. Audio quality is fine — higher trims get the option of a Mark Levinson-branded audio upgrade, but this Ace of Base GX doesn’t get that choice.

2018 Lexus GX 460 front seats

Passengers in both the second and third row were happy with leg, shoulder, and headroom — though I wouldn’t put anyone taller than my 5’4” daughter in the third row if they value their knees. The best endorsement I can give for the seats in the GX? Everyone (save the driver, natch) fell asleep within an hour of commencing the road trip. No fights over music (when dad drives, dad chooses the tunes), no arguments over where to stop for a meal. Just snoring. Bliss.

2018 Lexus GX 460 second row 2018 Lexus GX 460 third row

Cargo space is slim when the third row is erect, unfortunately. Only the slimmest of laptop bags or purses can fit between that seatback and the side-hinged door. That’s another peeve, certainly — a top-hinged hatch would be preferable, or at least a hinge on the left-side of the door rather than the right. As is, loading the cargo area while parked on the curb is inconvenient, as that tailgate blocks access. It’s obviously a remnant of the home market, where a right side hinge makes sense.

2018 Lexus GX 460 cargo area

The 2018 Lexus GX460 is a throwback, to be certain. It’s an old-school, body-on-frame SUV without a ton of super-premium luxury features. But it drives and rides like a dream, and you won’t see one every time you pull into the supermarket.

[Images: © 2019 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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47 Comments on “2018 Lexus GX460 Review – Invisibility Cloak With Off-road Chops...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    One of the best SUVs ever built, this is the one to buy used, because they last forever and never go out of style, well except that grille which was never in style, but I could live with it

  • avatar
    HuskyHawk

    This is on my short list as next vehicle. I agree with everything in this review, but it omits the major shortcomings of this vehicle.

    My much cheaper Mazda CX-5 has blind spot monitoring? This luxury SUV? Nope. I have city stop breaking? The GX? Nope. It’s utterly lacking in the safety features that Toyota puts as standard on Corolla’s. Ultimately, that makes it a difficult purchase in a market where new, somewhat capable SUVs are hitting the market.

  • avatar
    HuskyHawk

    This is on my short list as next vehicle. I agree with everything in this review, but it omits the major shortcomings of this vehicle.

    My much cheaper Mazda CX-5 has blind spot monitoring? This luxury SUV? Nope. I have city stop breaking? The GX? Nope. It’s utterly lacking in the safety features that Toyota puts as standard on Corolla’s. Ultimately, that makes it a difficult purchase in a market where new, somewhat capable SUVs are hitting the market.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      it has blind spot monitoring, at least mine does.

      Not sure though if it’s an option or standard, but mine is a more “base” model and it has it.

    • 0 avatar
      cartime

      Ours has blind spot monitoring and radar cruise control. It looks like the author has a base model. You can tell by the wheel since it has no wood nor does it have a heated steering wheel. The Mark Levinson sound system is also superb in the higher models. It’s odd this base model exists since it doesn’t provide many extras to make it a “luxury” vehicle beside the great ride and chassis. The “Base” model also doesn’t exist in Canada, they start at the “Premium” trim level.

  • avatar
    jberger

    That’s just not correct, the 2019 has all of the usual safety features including Blind Spot, Cross Traffic Safety, Pre-collision, etc.

    https://www.lexus.com/models/GX/features

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    It’s worth noting that the GX with Sport Design Package gets you a pair of captain’s chairs in place of the rear bench—making it a 6-seater. You also get unique front and rear fascia with satin chrome accents, an exposed exhaust pipe, and attractive dark-red taillights.

  • avatar
    MGS1995

    I have a 2012. It really is a nice ride. The soft brake pedal is a feature; it allows more modulation when off road. The KDSS makes it handle much better than a typical BOF SUV. And the V8 is a tremendous upgrade compared with the V6 in the 4Runner. Mine has the second row climate and heated seats. That sealed the deal with the younger family member. When cross-shopped with a 4Runner Limited, it was an easy decision for me. The barn door takes some getting used to but not a deal breaker.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    “placing it precisely in city traffic is better than most large SUVs”
    But this isn’t a large SUV. Exterior and Interior dimensions place it comfortably in the mid-sized SUV category. It is meaninfully smaller than the Dodge Durango which itself is small for a large SUV.

    In terms of styling, I’ve been thinking that the worst part of Lexus design was the grill. But then I looked at the photos of the profile of this car. This might be the worst looking profile around. It’s got bulges and character lines and trim and chrome strips and black strips and curves and angles. Was anyone in charge?

    Of course if I needed to tow or venture off road (occasionally) and insisted on a luxury brand, this would be the car. It has great bones and will run reliably forever.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    This is my wife’s car, it’s our 2nd one (previous had a GX 470). Both bought new. Very reliable, well built, hold their resale value like crazy.

    It’s actually a really good value, pay a little more for this and get a MUCH nicer SUV than something like a loaded Jeep Grand Cherokee or Ford Explorer.

    It’s just about the last of the “real” SUVs that feel like they are built like a tank. I’m sure this will eventually become some car based platform.

    The biggest issue is the poor fuel economy, but that’s to be expected.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      ” I’m sure this will eventually become some car based platform.”

      I wouldn’t be so sure. Toyota has the luxury of leveraging oversease platforms (Land Cruiser Prado) which will always need to be very sturdy/offroad capable BOF that the global market demands. Toyota already has the RX and Highlander to do crossover duty, and has been handsomely rewarded for sticking with both BOF and offering flavor-du-jour unibody crossovers.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        A new Land Cruiser is $76K while an Escalade is $64K on cars.com. While a 2009 with less than150,000 miles the LC is $26K and a Escalade is $17K.  A new LX570 3-row is $92K while a 2009 is $27K.

        So the LC drops $50K and the Escalade only drops $48K.  Toyota LC is not luxurious and should not have that depreciation compared to another luxury marque.the LX is more like a luxury vehicle in it’s high depreciation of $65 in the last decade.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Lot to unpack here man. From comparing various random vehicles 10 model years apart off of ‘cars.com’ to comparing different generations of Escalade to using MSRP on the LX570 instead of a ‘cars.com’ discounted price to apparently not knowing how percentages work.

          Classic Normposting.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            The LX price was best price for the 3-row version, you know there is a two row version too, from cars dot com.

            These are numbers people seeing if they want to purchase or sell. So when the math is done the Japanese resale/residuals are not there and are not even close to others.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      From someone who has driven both the GX and GC extensively, the GX is a mixed bag, but for that matter so is the GC.

      The Grand Cherokee does just about everything better than the GX on road. The drivetrain is modern, the V6 will out-accelerate the Lexus V8, and the Hemi would just smoke the Lexus V8 in no time at all. The GC tracks better, takes corners better, and in higher trim levels (Summit and SRT) gets very close to Lexus luxury at a much better price. The GC has a great infotainment system in UConnect, and it just keeps getting better. The GC also has a much better MPG rating in either guise.

      The GX does everything better offroad. It is certainly built stronger than the GC and has stood the test of time. However, the interior is very dated, the infotainment system is the worst in its class, acceleration is laggy and the motor is thirsty. The drivetrain is dated by modern standards, and the interior room is overshadowed by the BOF construction. The GC feels notably larger inside than the GX. I would never call the GX a “good value” purchased new, but two years used it is a relative bargain. However, it is not nicer than a GC at similar price points.

      Even at that, a GX is on my short list for my next daily driver.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        “V6 will out-accelerate the Lexus V8”

        The V6 doesn’t even outaccelerate Toyota’s 4.0L V6+5spd combo, how does it outdo the 4.6L V8?

        • 0 avatar
          SSJeep

          GX460 (2016): 0-60 7.8 seconds
          Grand Cherokee Laredo v6 (2017): 0-60 7.1 seconds
          Grand Cherokee Limited v8 (2017): 0-60 6.5 seconds
          The GX is tough, but it is certainly not fast.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            The numbers I’m seeing at 7 flat in a GX from car and driver’s test of a 2019 (although I’ve seen that 7.8 figure as well), 7.5 seconds for a 5th gen 4Runner, Grand Cherokee numbers ranging 7.1-7.4-7.7 for the 8 speeds depending on options and who was testing.

            So it’s splitting hairs it seems. The GC can certainly return the best mpg on the highway of the bunch.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        The problem is, Jeep Grand Cherokees are just about the most unreliable SUV money can buy, maybe second only to Land Rover. Also, the resale is garbage.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    SUVs need to strike the correct balance between tire size and body size. This one has tires that are too small; the Tesla Model X and most Land Rover’s wheels are too large. I think BMW, Ford and Mercedes get this proportion correct.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    Kudos to Toyota for keeping a handful of body-on-frame SUV’s available….for those of us that prefer this type of vehicle.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Does this thing ride and handle better in any appreciable way than a 1990 4-Runner? Pretty much the same old venerable chassis if I’m not mistaken. My forester, an actual person, not the Subaru which didn’t exist then, had one and I spent thousands of miles traveling around in it as passenger. A lumbering brute that had severe rust in three years here in Nova Scotia. I’m not a truck type of person, and it’s notable that when he moved on to greater things in another part of the country, he bought an Audi. That was similar to my car, which we drove the other half of the time on our opening inspections including up some decent backwoods trails. Actual torsen AWD, limited ground clearance.

    One presumes that galvanized tin beginning in the late ’90s made these vehicles somewhat less rust-prone. My ride in a 2010 4-Runner made me laugh out loud – talk about a nasty plastic interior compared to the 20 year-old version! Fitment wasn’t stellar either. It looks to me that this Lexus is just a V8 and a nicer interior away from the 4-Runner.

    The only arguments I can see in its favor is resale and reliability. So the next person with stars in their eyes can get one and enjoy its oh so abundant charms. It sure isn’t because of the pleasure of trundling around bouncily in one enjoying its sharp handling, at least from my POV.

    I don’t get it, but hey, obviously other people do.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Pretty much the same old venerable chassis if I’m not mistaken”

      You are mistaken. The 1990 rode on the old Hilux frame with a torsion bar front end (quite stiff). The current GX is on the Prado 150 frame, with a double wishbone front end and rack and pinion steering, adjustable stiffness shocks with variable swaybars.

      So no, pretty much not the same chassis.

      My ’96 (with double wishbones up front is itself notably better riding than the ’90 2nd gen) is an oxcart compared to even a basic SR5 4Runner, to say nothing of a GX.

    • 0 avatar
      cartime

      Drive one. It will change your mind.

    • 0 avatar
      MGS1995

      Some don’t get it; It’s a GX thing. :-)

  • avatar
    chris724

    This is one of the ugliest vehicles around.

  • avatar
    doktorno

    I have a ’13 that I purchased new, just passing 76k miles. Installed slightly larger and wider tires, and removed the factory running boards replacing them with trim panels that came painted to match off a 150 Prado. Mine has the adjustable shocks, and it does drive better than it should. The size is perfect, it is not much smaller than my wife’s 100 Series Land Cruiser. Third row seats fold flat, rear door can be unlocked and opened with one finger if my hands are full. GX does its job well, tows our trailers without issue, and never complains. I sold my 80 Series at 188k miles, my wife’s 100 is passing 157k, this GX should do the time as well.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    Old vehicle that’s no wiser for being old. Never was impressed with the interior: some of the buttons look like they were taken from a Camry.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I realize the Aviator is new and has a kickin’ interior, but it stickers for more and yet I feel the GX is simply a much better buy.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I like the GX but the on-road (and off-road FWIW) performance delta between the two is going to be extreme.

      I guess it depends on how you’re going to use it and how big of a reliability difference you’re going to see.

  • avatar
    kooden916ku1

    Learn all about

    https://lexusgxor.com/

  • avatar

    Nearly as wretched gas mileage as my V8 4Runner

  • avatar

    Save your money buy a 4Runner

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