By on January 29, 2021

2020 Lexus GX460 Luxury Fast Facts

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

Six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive

15 city / 19 highway / 16 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

17.2 (observed mileage, MPG)

16.2 city / 12.3 highway / 14.5 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $65,290 US / $78,176 CAN

As Tested: $72,330 US / $84,176 CAN

Prices include $1,025 destination charge in the United States and $2,226 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

I’m trying to imagine the buyer who walks into a Lexus dealership, ready to buy an SUV. The options can be overwhelming. No fewer than five distinct models with a bit of ground clearance dot the clean, modern showroom and perfectly aligned aisles of fresh deliveries.

The RX is the gold standard of luxury crossovers, of course – and it’s now available with a third-row great for small children, small dogs, or golf clubs. The NX and UX lean toward the more affordable scale, for upwardly mobile folks who don’t need to be mobile with a ton of stuff.

The 2020 Lexus GX460, however, is in a weird spot. It really doesn’t give the passengers much additional space over the RX, but it’s a much bigger vehicle overall. It’s a rugged, body-on-frame beast that can tame many an off-road trail. It doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the Lexus lineup – bigger LX notwithstanding. But it clearly meets the needs of many, many drivers.

A couple of years ago, I drove a 2018 GX460 – and I don’t think I quite understood it then. I saw a large, thirsty vehicle without a ton of interior room – another big SUV in a world dominated by crossovers, which sadly do a much better job of people hauling in everyday conditions than a more traditional SUV. A Thanksgiving road trip – back when we could “go places” and “see others” – showed me the on-road virtues of this classic.

Ever since, I’ve been noticing the GX seemingly everywhere – and in forms not one typically equates with the usual Lexus owner. I’m seeing older models with ladders strapped to the roof, laden with tools of a trade and showing signs of abuse. A friend has a GX that makes Home Depot runs on the weekends for his remodel project while cleaning up nicely for visits to his business clients through the week. And both Instagram and real life are dotted with the GX, modified with a bit of ride height and (invariably bronze-colored) Method off-road wheels to bring Lexus bling to overlanding.

I’d have preferred a bit of the older look to my tester, which has undergone radical rhinoplasty over the years to wear the corporate predator grille. With chrome trim ringing the gaping hourglass, there’s no mistaking this for anything but a modern Lexus – for good or bad. It’s not pretty, but many competitors in this market (gestures generally toward Munich) have eschewed all attempts at making a bulky box on wheels look anything but terrifying to onlookers. In that context, the Lexus grille has become less jarring by familiarity.

I often will criticize automakers for not being daring with their paint colors. Indeed, black, white, gray, grey, greige, beige, and blah have long been the favorite hues of the beancounters and the dealer principals alike. However, the Nebula Gray Pearl here – despite falling smack in the middle of the bland spectrum – is a handsome shade. The dark gray wheels here (fitted as part of the $2,020 Sport Design package, which also replaces the second-row bench with captain’s chairs among other details) are just a skosh darker than the body color, making the big Lexus rather handsome if you don’t look at it from the front.

It’s even better when you open a door. Alert – RED LEATHER! It’s marvelous! I welcome a return to joyous interior color and encourage all automakers to turn the page in the Tier One upholsterer’s sample books beyond the usual black or gray. Beyond the lovely leather, the interior is much the same as the car I sampled a couple years back – a black dashboard with silvery-painted plastics brightening things up a bit, with a dated touchscreen controlling HVAC and audio. The third row is tight for most anyone over five feet tall – as my spawn have rocketed upwards, there’s no use in attempting to shove them back there.

Oh, and take a look at that cruise control stalk at the four o’clock position on the steering wheel. It’s the same control that was on my mom’s 1994 Corolla. Same feel, same font. It works well, so I suppose there’s no reason to change it. If Toyota paid engineers in royalties, some long-retired knob specialist would be a billionaire.

It’s a classic, of course, and it drives like it. It’s not agricultural at all like one might expect from such a dated mechanical design – but it’s clear that more modern SUVs from Detroit, especially, have an edge in ride quality on the tarmac. 301 hp from the V8 is plenty for most uses, though it’s quite thirsty. Steering is direct and communicative without harshness over potholes or expansion joints. I’d have loved to get it off the pavement – I’m sure it would shine.

And that’s what keeps people coming back to the 2020 Lexus GX 460. It’s familiar. It’s not right for me right now – but I’ll admit I keep looking at Craigslist for older ones. And have another tab open for bronze wheels.

[Images: © 2020 Chris Tonn]

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49 Comments on “2020 Lexus GX460 Review — A Retro Classic You Can Buy New Today...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    Statistically, this is one of the most durable and reliable vehicles you can buy. While the V8 isn’t powerful its acceleration is basically equal to the RX350, which for most people works out to “decent enough”.
    This also has the old (like really old) Lexus infotainment. Although the graphics certainly look dated, the ergonomics are superior to the mousepad or touchpad in a more updated offering.

  • avatar
    Lynchenstein

    …and I thought the pre-refresh QX80 was the pinnacle of fugly. Lexus just has shown me otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      It’s just that front clip, the rest of it is pretty much standard for the type. Somebody could make serious money devising a replacement clip that just bolts on and looks like an older Land Cruiser front end.

      • 0 avatar
        kcflyer

        We bought one of these in March of 2020. 20219 Certified with only 300 miles. Wanted a BOF SUF with a V8. Came down to this or Durango with the 5.7 hemi. Both about 50 grand new. Found this one CPO’d with less than 500 miles for 46K. Mid level trim. 9500 miles since March. So far so good. Averaging 17 mpg which is what we expected. Mostly suburban driving. Tahoe’s and Expeditions were at least 10 grand more similarly equipped. I agree the beak is ugly. Otherwise a handsome rig inside and out IMHO. Full time 4WD with low range and Diff lock makes this perfect for pulling 5500 lbs of boat and trailer up an Icy boat ramp. Comfy for 4 real adults. 3rd row is cramped and we have only used it twice. But 6 adults in a pinch is doable if third row occupants are young and flexible. Durango would have had slightly more power, more room and better fuel economy. But this seemed a bit more special? It’s our first “luxury” brand purchase. Basically a 4 runner with a better engine for similar money. Hope to keep it for a long time and put over 200 thousand miles on it. Lexus service so far is pretty nice. No regrets yet.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          The 4wd system is the best one around. Heavy, but predictable and reliable and capable like pretty much no other car.

          I absolutely abhor the swing out rear door. Without a spare mounted on it the way it is sold i some markets abroad, is serves no useful purpose at all, aside from requiring about an additional parking space to open. The BMW style opening tailgate window is nice, but does not make up for the nuisance of than pointless barn door.

          • 0 avatar
            kcflyer

            Honestly I’m not crazy about the door either. but it does have at least one perk. In our garage with it parked on the left side and the garage door closed we can open the rear door about half way and unload grocerys. If it opened the other way it wouldn’t work since the door into the house is on the drivers side. Our old Enclave had the traditonal swing up door but we could not use it in the garage with the garage door closed since for reasons I will never understand garages are too narrow and short to accomodate two descent sized vehicles with room to spare. Having the garage door closed when it’s 16 degrees outside and snowing is a nice perk while unloading a weeks worth of grocerys.

        • 0 avatar
          4onthefloor

          If you need this type of vehicle, and it sounds like you do,, as you found out, choices are limited. You made a good one considering the choices available. I get the feeling the aftermarket is working on a replacement nose as we type. Almost everyone says the same thing, and the aftermarket has solutions for the Acura “beak years” from what I’ve heard.

    • 0 avatar
      4onthefloor

      Man you got that right! The person who designed the Acura beak must have moved over to Lexus and dreamt up the spindle. I also think the myth of Lexis is due to the age of the driver, not the reliability of the vehicle. Whenever I see one of these pull up, it takes about 10 minutes to get out of the car, and once they do, they can hardly walk. Not always, but a lot.I can’t imagine driving 10 under all the time stresses the car much, therefore it lasts longer. If I ever bought one of these, I would hope my wife suffocates me in my sleep, because if she doesn’t, I’d kill myself in the morning after realizing what I’d done.

      • 0 avatar
        Ol Shel

        I went to school with the guy who came up with ‘the beak’. Designers design, they aren’t responsible for the editing.

        Your problem is with those who chose the design.

        There’s an adage in design: if you hate a design, do not present it, because it will be chosen.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Yup. My sister used the “polka dot bowtie” method in her graphics business.

          The theory is that one of typically three designs should be ‘out there’ so the execs will eliminate it and then it’s an either/or decision. In practice, the polka dot bowtie is chosen rather than eliminated because it sticks out.

          When my sister told me of her experience, it reminded me of a cartoon that presented life as a vending machine. There were selections for Truth, Honesty, Integrity, etc. There was also one selection labeled “Noisy, Shiny, Cr*p”. It was sold out.

        • 0 avatar
          4onthefloor

          No offense intended! I should have been more careful with my,words.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Show me another 20-year old, 200,000 mile vehicle that commonly sells for 35% of its original MSRP.

    • 0 avatar
      MatadorX

      In this covid market literally ANYTHING with 3 pedals, with accompanying ad copy: “Rare RARE RaRe” no matter how mundane. Oh and 200K is low miles now, didn’t you get the memo…stop giving rich people who don’t need it checks its driving the used market for worn out junk through the roof…

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      You act like Lexus is some gold standard.

      Lexus loses it value just like any other luxury vehicle.  So I wouldn’t believe the wive’s  tale about Lexus holding their value. Residual values are set by the banks and the food chain of auction and dealerships just play along to make as much money as they can out the consumers.

      Edmunds long term test of the Lexus GS loosing over 1/3 of it’s value from MSRP.

      “Resale and Depreciation:

      We accumulated 20,940 miles on our 2013 Lexus GS 350. Edmunds’ TMV® Calculator valued the vehicle at $47,431 based on a private-party sale. The market did not seem to support this price, as CarMax offered us $40,000 and the best we could muster from a private partywas $41,000. This made for 30-percent depreciation from our paid price of $58,377. We were disappointed.

      2013 Lexus GS 350 Long-Term Road Test – Wrap-Up

      2013 Lexus GS 350 Long-Term Road Test – Wrap-Up

      Our long-term test of the 2013 Lexus GS 350 is complete after one year and 20,000 miles. Find out how it did in our long-term wrap-up.

      A new Land Cruiser is $76K while an Escalade is $64K on cars dot 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
      Garrett

      Are you sure you don’t have it confused with the Land Cruiser variant? This is the 4Runner variant.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        In the rest of the world I believe this is also marketed as a Land Cruiser (Prado or something…it’s been a while).

        But yes, this one isn’t actually related to the vehicle sold in the US as a Land Cruiser.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    I drove one of these recently and yes, I like them because I am a Land Cruiser guy, but this thing is an acquired test. The cargo load floor is high, side swinging rear door means no power option, infotainment is old, ergonomics is below average, steering as you would expect, 6AT is smooth for the most part but kind of slow to respond to inputs.

    Pro, that V8 is strong and sounds surprisingly good. Plenty of buttons everywhere so you can still do alot of things by feel. Beautifully appointed cabin. That’s kind of it.

    I love it. Most people won’t and I don’t blame them. They are actually a decent value if you say compare it to a Land Cruiser or a 4Runner.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Actually, that cruise control stalk isn’t a Toyota invention but out of a broader parts bin of some manufacturer.

    Behold, the 2005 Saturn Relay:

    https://consumerguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/06130081990003.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      It may or may not have been a Toyota invention. Note that almost all Toyotas (prior to the current models) had the cruise stalk there. Meanwhile, this steering wheel—which, in basic form, was also shared with the other contemporary minivans and the Pontiac Grand Prix—is the only GM model I can find with the stalk so placed. Other GM cars had their cruise controls on the spokes of the wheel or on the turn signal stalk.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      @APaGttH: you mean Saturn, a division of the same GM that was at the time partnering with Toyota to build the Matrix/Vibe?

      That cruise control stalk is a Toyota legend. That it ended up on a GM product in 2005 is simply more proof that GM couldn’t engineer their own piece, and recognized a superb product when they saw it.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Another Toyota part reused for decades (until infotainment screens rendered it obsolete) would be the Toyota clock. My friend’s 87 4Runner had it and I have seen the exact same one in most Toyotas for many years after.

        The interior shot of that Saturn looks like a beancounted nightmare.

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          “The interior shot of that Saturn looks like a beancounted nightmare.”

          Weekend Pop Quiz:

          Question 1 (6 points): What well-known individual was firmly in charge of Product Development [and most other things] at GM when the Saturn Relay interior was developed?

          Question 2 (4 points): What were cumulative U.S. sales of the Saturn Relay over its ~5 year life? (+/- 30% gets you full credit)

    • 0 avatar
      C5 is Alive

      That’s actually a GM interpretation of a Toyota component. No one should claim surprise that it’s an inferior copy of the real thing, with cheaper construction.

      http://www.ozonehouse.com/prius/photos/full-50/cruise07.jpg

      And, near as I can tell, Toyota introduced it on the 1992 Camry, at least a decade before GM got around to aping the design.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    The price of a Lexus, the fuel efficiency of a 1973 Lincoln, the infotainment of a base Hyundai Accent, and the proportions of a Subaru Impreza. Like XKCD’s windmill, I’m not a big fan.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      You forgot a grille the size of a newly constructed section of border wall with about equal aesthetics

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The Ford 460 was rated something like 10/14HW and was known to dip to 5mpg in heavy traffic, so the GX460’s 15/19/16 is quite better. Infotainment is stupid, you can survive with a CD player or aux jack, everyone else did. The interior of most stuff is very crammed now thanks to poor choices in platform design and ergonomics. What SUV performs noticeably better (note: *SUV*)?.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        For the Cheddar Lexus asks for, I think you’re picking the wrong hill to die on.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          How many truly capable luxury SUVs are there? For comparison, a MY20 GMC Yukon starts at 50 for RWD. Escalade and Navi are of course more, Jeep GC is the only one which comes to mind which is less expensive to start, but doesn’t have a V8 in the base model. In fact I have to go to the 69K SRT to get a V8 in a GC in MY21. Lexus puts pricing to the moon and gets it for a reason, and that reason is not best in class.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            How many of these actually leave the pavement is the better question at this point.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ve seen quite a few leave pavement, but have yet to see any doing serious off-roading. Hell my Corolla leaves pavement a few times a year, several roads I visit out in the cut are all gravel or some mixture of Earth and gravel.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The Grand Cherokee is the only thing I can think of that really competes.
        An Overland with the off-road options and the V8 runs $56K. I’m not sure which would be better off-road in absolute terms but I’d think it would be a real-world wash as serious rock crawlers would likely be buying something else.
        So the Jeep gives a lower price, more power, better fuel economy, and higher tow rating. The Lexus gives the 3rd row jumpseats and a way better dealership experience.

        Then there’s long-term quality. This generation of the GC has been around for awhile now so I don’t think it will age like a BMW or anything but I also don’t think it will hold up like the Lexus. especially if you are realistically keep you vehicle for more than 10 years.

        • 0 avatar
          4onthefloor

          Yup. I don’t think the old mantra of keep and maintain is valid anymore. You can maintain a car to the hilt, and keep it looking showroom new , and if you keep it longer than 5 or 6 years you take a massive hit because the technology, both safety and infotainment, is outdated. Old rules no longer apply.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            New tech is surely going to outpace anything that is five or six model years old. However, those who always buy new, or lease, or just buy another 3 year old vehicle – lather, rinse, repeat – are the ones who take the massive hit. From a raw financial perspective those who keep their vehicles longer save the most money.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Agreed, I can respect the GX for what it is. But it is an incredible pain to live with daily. From the high octane gas requirement, to the puny fuel tank, to the Tundra-like MPG rating, to the lack of CarPlay or any real infotainment, the snails pace acceleration, the odd rear door configuration, the problem prone adaptive suspension, the list goes on and on…

      But they do last forever with minimal fuss and happen to be one of the best built vehicles on the road, if you can live with the flaws.

      The way to buy one of these is used / off-lease. No one should pay the new price for a GX nowadays when there are so many better choices out there.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    If Lexus grilles get any bigger/wider, they’re going to have to to go hideaway headlights.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    The exterior is hideously ugly.

    That interior looks so outdated by ten to fifteen years.

    By contrast, the current Lexus RX and that smaller NX or UX SUV look rather sharp and edgy.

  • avatar
    rustbeltPete

    The timing of this article is amazingly coincidental- I’ve been looking at one of these as a possibility to replace my crew cab truck.
    A couple things to note:
    – the base price is $53,250 not $65,290. That $65k is for the luxury trim, which is top spec. For a bout 6k less the mid level trim gets everything except for the rear air suspension and terrain modes and extra cameras, which to me, are just more needless gizmos that are more likely to break, and not very useful.
    – At the mid fifties price point, it’s price comparable to a Tahoe or expedition, and better equipped for the price. Granted, the GX is going to be smaller than those two. It doesn’t really compare to anything from Germany, as those are not old school like this, and it seems to me that anything remotely comparable from Germany would be much more expensive.
    – heck, look at a Lincoln Aviator or Cadillac Escalade or XT6, it’s much cheaper than any of them. Not apples to apples, I know, but even compare to a 4Runner- it’s not much of a premium and it has a v8.
    -yes that infotainment is positively archaic, however, it also is simpler and easier to use than anything newer made by Lexus.
    -styling; not beautiful, but at least it doesn’t look like a jelly bean.
    -basically I’m intrigued by it because it is an old school body on frame (so good towing capacity, and a locking torsen center diff instead of a clutch pack) v8 powered, perfectly sized for 4 adults and their stuff, and I’d venture to guess they probably hold up well.

    TL;DR I agree with kcflyer-I just haven’t pulled the trigger on one yet.

    • 0 avatar
      4onthefloor

      Stay away from air suspension at all costs! Mercedes systems fail a lot, and are a king’s ransom to replace. If you get it,
      You’re going to be replacing it anyway at some point if you keep it long enough, your going to be installing springs anyway, so just avoid the pain. They are great when they work, but a bear when they don’t. If you get it, some day you’re heart will sink when you come out one morning, because you’ll know what’s coming. Nice idea but hard to implement without leak points. It’s just the nature of the beast.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    Either that idiotic grille has poor fitment or yours got dented at the top. The gap with the hood is very uneven.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I like these a lot. A 4Runner with nice seats and a V8. 72K is getting eye watering even in monopoly money but the base model for 55 is already pretty loaded and the max trim adds almost nothing. The only goodie I’d want is the Levinson stereo and that’s already there at 60.

    But in the eon these have been around Nissan brought the Armada here and it does everything the GX does only more, better, cheaper and less ugly.

    That said, all of the truck-like reasons that I like real SUVs lead past all of them to just getting an actual truck and I’m never going back.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    YUCK! – I’ll stick with my 2007 Chevy ‘Hoe. A beauty queen parked next to this road disaster, more interior room and a superior tow vehicle. Added plus – LS goodness under the hood!!!!!!!!

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Used, these are often cheaper than 4Runners, and unlike 4Runners, most of them get treated pretty well for a good portion of their life. So, 4Runner capability, V8 and nicer interior for possibly cheaper = value.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    “back when we could “go places” and “see others”” You can STILL go places and see others. I do. Stop living in fear and live your life. The Democrats haven’t completely shredded the Constitution…..yet.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      @teddyc73,

      This is where I would like to go (had a X,XXX-mile road trip planned which included this stop):

      https://www.petersen.org/covid-19

      Are you saying I should just drive there anyway – and then what – break in and show myself around? (Doesn’t seem like the same experience.)

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    This vehicle is really popular in my area. Where people making solid money work office jobs during the week but go skiing or camping or fishing up on forest roads in the mountains on the weekends.

    It’s kinda Grand Cherokee esque to me. Pretty darn capable if pavement ends and you like doing some of those things in your lifestyle but perfectly acceptable to take to a nice dinner or the office or pick up clients in.

    The fact it has 3 rows helps a lot I’m sure. And that it is bulletproof.

  • avatar
    kooden916ku1

    https://lexusgxor.com/

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