Lexus SUV gets a luxury injection

December 2, 2018

Lexus by definition is synonymous with luxury. So by including the word in the name of the trim level of the GX, it is most certainly had to be loaded with all kinds of creature comforts to keep us happy! After a week with the seven-passenger SUV, we were indeed impressed and in love with the ride, handling and abilities of the 2018 version of the GX460.

Along with all of the luxury items we would have expected to come in any Lexus, the engineers have taken the GX to the extreme in its 4x4 abilities. In fact, we would expect that it would go anywhere a Toyota 4Runner would go. The GX is based on the 4Runner, but includes a V-8 engine that cannot be had any longer on the 4Runner.

The luxury version that Lexus sent to us was top of the line to say the least. It pretty much had every creature comfort anyone could dream up to keep all occupants enjoying the ride. At the top of the list was the extremely comfortable leather seating surfaces that made it seem as if we were sitting on our favorite pillows for a whole week.

The GX460 is not what most would consider a crossover vehicle. Instead, it would fall into the SUV category — although on the smaller end of most truck-like SUV vehicles. It sports a V-8 engine that puts out just over 300 horsepower at 301, with 329 foot-pounds of torque. It’s not the strongest V-8 on the market but more than adequate for the smaller size of the GX. It will also tow up to 6,500 pounds when needed, so the weekend boat or trailer with a couple of snowmobiles or 4-wheelers attached would be the perfect compliment with the GX.

We found the acceleration of the GX to be very strong, getting from 0 to 60 in just 7.8 seconds. It’s very good for a vehicle of the size of the GX. There were not flat spots or let downs during that time — just a clean 0 to 60 as we would have expected from Lexus and their engineers. The Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that comes with each 460 worked exactly as advertised by automatically fixing the front and rear stabilizer bars in place when on-road, helping to minimize body lean while cornering. Off-road, it allows each wheel to move independently, so the wheel on uneven ground can react while the other wheels are relatively unaffected.

The GX460 claims to be a seven-passenger SUV, but there has been much debate on the just how comfortable the third-row seating would be since space back there is very limited. It seemed the only way to come to a clear opinion on this debate would be to take a test drive with all seats full. So, we took a couple of our grown children and our grandson for a ride to see how everyone would fit in the GX.

JaCoby and his wife, Haley, ended up in the third row of seats and seemed to be very comfortable for the ride to up to Park City and back. They seemed to enjoy their time back there but did indicate that it was a little cramped and were ready for a break after the two-hour ride. The second row was occupied by our son Landon along with a car seat with our grandson Jensen. There were no complaints from that row, even with the car seat, as the included DVD player kept the adult and especially the child engaged for the entire drive.

The GX460 turned out to be a very rugged yet also delicately defined vehicle with the many great additions that made it one of the class-leading luxury cars from Lexus. In fact, it has many of the same functions that we found in the newly redesigned Toyota 4Runner to take us anywhere we could possibly dream about. The question at the end of the day was would you want to take a SUV that comes in well north of $65,000 to some of those places? We have yet to see any luxury vehicles such as GX on the trails of Moab, but hey if the desire were there, the GX would perform.

It really seemed that $65,000 would be plenty to pay for a luxury SUV. Quite frankly, it really was until we took a look at a comparable 2018 Chevy Tahoe LTZ that, when fully loaded, cracked the $70,000 barrier and didn’t have all of the same climbing and hill decent options that come standard on the GS460. However, our Luxury version did not come with an optional tow hitch assembly, an important addition for the weekend toys. Even so, the Tahoe seats still did not hold a candle to the sweet Lexus leather.

It took us a couple of days to get used to the rear-access door swinging out, instead of lifting upward as most SUV rear-access doors do now. It did make loading and unloading easier, and with the electric-controlled rear seating, rearranging the furniture, as it were, was a simple process.

We found the ride in the GX to be more similar to that of a smaller SUV, not like its cousins in the Tahoe and Escalade categories that seem to handle more like a short bed truck. Around town, it was very nimble and agile, weaving in and out of parking lots with the ease of a much smaller vehicle. The rear-view camera and blind-spot monitoring with cross-path detection came in handy both on the road and when backing the larger vehicle out of our driveway and tight parking spots.

For the week of our test drive, the GX460 averaged right where the EPA said it would at 17.8 mpg. This is quite comparable with the likes of a Tahoe and other SUVs of a comparable size and weight equipped with a V-8 engine that we have driven.

Unlike many of the Lexus sedans that we have driven over the years, the GX SUV came with a touchscreen, but not the usual mouse-like device that we have become accustomed to. It functioned flawlessly and was somewhat easier to use than the standard Lexus mouse. Our phones hooked up easily and within seconds of starting the syncing process. Voice commands along with the touchscreen made navigation and audio controls a breeze.

Included with the GX was the new Lexus Enform system that makes finding a restaurant, ordering movie tickets or using advanced navigation options on the fly an easy operation. Combine that with the new predictive traffic function, an industry first that Lexus has begun including with all their navigation systems. This system gives up-to-date traffic updates and made getting to and from our destination even quicker, especially when we could avoid the spots with slower traffic.

Of course, as the name indicated, the Luxury edition came with all the great features we would have expected, including things like heated and cooled front seats that would adjust in any way we could have imagined to make us as comfortable as possible. There was leather all around the interior with soft touches everywhere you might consider putting your hand or arm, along with mahogany accents and, of course, Craig’s coveted heated steering wheel — he would have slept there if it were possible!

It seemed that if Lexus could dream it up and it fit in the definition of “luxury item,” it was included standard in the new GX460 Luxury. If getting around town in style and comfort is in your future, the GX460 is worth a look. Especially if taking a ride up the slick rock is something you like but need to stay comfortable, the GX with get there without even a gasp. See one today at Larry H. Miller Lexus in Lindon at 544 Lindon Park Drive, 801-227-3200.

Base Price: $61,515

Price as Driven: $68,765

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