With GX 460, Lexus offers posh execution of dated concept
Consumer Reports now calls the Lexus GX 460 a safe buy, with its stability control fixed. But whether the GX is a wise buy depends on your need for a big bruiser of an SUV -- for off-roading or towing perhaps -- and on your willingness to tolerat...
Consumer Reports now calls the Lexus GX 460 a safe buy, with its stability control fixed. But whether the GX is a wise buy depends on your need for a big bruiser of an SUV -- for off-roading or towing perhaps -- and on your willingness to tolerate a trucky, wobbly ride and scary cornering.
And on your tolerance for fuel economy in the high teens -- on premium gas.
The GX was redesigned for 2010. The 2011 has few changes. This year through August, more than 10,400 Americans weighed the vehicle's pros and cons and decided the redesigned GX was a wise buy; they bought or leased one. That's more than double the number who opted for the predecessor GX 470 in the same period last year.
If you test-drive the GX, though, you'll understand why most SUV buyers these days opt for car-based crossover models like Lexus' RX 350, which is just about as roomy and 1,000 pounds lighter -- though with an inch less ground clearance for off-roading, no low range for its four-wheel drive and towing capacity of only 3,500 pounds.
Sharing basics with the equally trucky Toyota 4Runner, the midsize seven-passenger GX begins at $53,220 with freight for 2011 and, for that money, offers bland exterior styling but an interior fit for a king or queen -- with leather upholstery, power everything and excellent noise insulation. Rear-seaters get their own thorax-protecting air bags, not just the curtains.
Gripes: Sun glares on the gauges. One must crawl inside the cargo area and remove the privacy shade before the third-row seats can be powered up or down. The swing-out tailgate needs a lot of room to open, although the rear window can open independently of it for tossing in small items. And, with the third row in use, there is virtually no luggage space.
Neither the federal government nor the private Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has published crash test results for the GX. Consumer Reports has no feedback yet from owners of the 2010 model, but Lexus vehicles do well in its surveys.
2010 LEXUS GX 460:
--Engine: 4.6-liter V-8, 301 hp.
--Fuel: Premium required
--Transmission: Six-speed automatic, full-time four-wheel drive
--Safety: Eight air bags; 4-wheel disc brakes with antilock, stability control, brake assist and hill start assist; crawl and downhill controls for off-roading; rearview camera; proximity warnings front, side and corners; fog lamps.
--Where assembled: Tahara, Japan
--Cargo room, min./max: 4.2 cu. ft/ 64.7
--EPA fuel economy estimates: 15 mpg city, 20 highway
--Price as driven: $58,039, with freight
--Bottom line: An anachronism -- but with 6,500 lbs. of tow capacity.