It strikes a perfect balance between rugged and luxurious.
Launched in 2003, the Lexus GX series luxury SUV has built a strong reputation and even a bit of a cult following as a luxurious go-anywhere people carrier. Slotted between the Lexus RX and LX, the GX 460 is a full-size three-row SUV with body-on-frame construction and sophisticated technology that allows drivers to tackle any terrain, with the usual rock-solid reliability and luxurious accommodations buyers have come to expect from any Lexus product.
The 2020 Lexus GX 460 receives a minor refresh inside and out, with upgraded off-roading technologies to make it more capable than ever before. We had the opportunity to borrow one equipped with a $6,000 Executive Package from Lexus Canada and give it a thorough evaluation to test its abilities as a no-compromise luxury utility vehicle.
The GX 460 arrives at our office sporting a fresh look thanks to the newly designed LED headlamps, front grille, and alloy wheels. Silver coloured SUVs are usually not particularly attractive, but Lexus’ Atomic Silver paint scheme is an exception to this rule. This is a special colour that sets it apart from any of its competition and is by far our favourite of the GX 460’s simple five-colour selection. The GX 460 embraces Lexus’ signature spindle grille design, displaying it with commanding presence, and its chiseled body looks rugged and ready to handle any rough business ahead.
Power is supplied by a tried and true 4.6-litre V8 engine that has been used in the GX 460 lineup since 2010. The reliable workhorse produces 301 horsepower at 5,500 RPM, and a very useable 329 lb-ft. of torque that seems more powerful at moving this 5,178-pound truck than the figure suggests. Apply any throttle and the GX 460 responds confidently with buttery smooth power delivery. It has been said before that there is something sacred about an unstressed naturally aspirated engine, and that would sum up our experience with the GX 460 nicely.
The six-speed automatic transmission feels dated when compared to newer units, but there is a sense of assurance and dependability to its operation that we appreciate. Steering feel from the hydraulic rack is analog, and it is accurate with real road feel. The suspension setting on road is geared towards comfort, meaning that it can feel a bit floaty on the highway, however the standard Lexus Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) does a magical work in limiting body roll during on-road maneuvers. At slow-speeds and off beaten paths, KDSS will adjust the hydraulic system to allow for maximum articulation, thus giving the wheels greater freedom to move up and down freely for increased grip. Thanks to this clever system, the GX 460 is able to offer drivers the best balance of comfort and ruggedness.
With its powerful V8 engine, the Lexus GX can allow users to tow up to 6,499 pounds (2,948 kilograms). The standard Automatic Load Levelling Rear Air Suspension system level the truck when under load, and drivers also have the ability to manually adjust the ride height to ‘low’ or ‘high’ using one of the toggle switches beside the shifter for a suitable ground clearance to handle the task at hand. An all-new feature for 2020 is the inclusion of the Multi-Terrain Monitor with Underfloor View and the Bird’s Eye View Monitor on all GX models, offering greater assurance to its adventurous users. A five-stage crawl control system is also new, replacing last year’s three-stage system.
Fuel consumption is rated at 16.2L/100km in the city, and 12.3L/100km on the highway, for a combined average of 14.5L/100km. Our observed fuel consumption returned a modest 15.7L/100km for our city-heavy commute, which is in line with expectations. The fuel tank’s capacity is rated at 87 litres, and our tester’s Executive Package added fuel tank protector plates as well. Premium 91-octane fuel is required.
Much like its road manners, the GX 460’s interior also features a perfect balance between comfort and utility, and Lexus tops it off with an additional touch of sheer opulence and world-class craftsmanship. Materials feel exceptionally high-quality throughout the cabin, with durable and easy to clean Semi-Aniline seats and suede headliner that are both silky smooth to the touch. The heated wood and leather wrapped steering feel feels exceptional, and the GX 460’s overall build quality is simply top-notch.
The eight-way power adjustable, heated and ventilated, front seats are very comfortable even for extended road trips. There is enough padding to absorb bumps in even the roughest terrain for all occupants, and thanks to its tall boxy shape, head and legroom is plentiful throughout. The standard power folding third row seats are easy to operate with acceptable motor speed. Cargo capacity behind the second row is measured at 1,833 litres.
Infotainment is controlled using the touchscreen unit on the central console, and while easy to use, it is in dire need for an update as the size and resolution both trail the competition. Smartphone integration is nonexistent except for the use of Bluetooth, and this infotainment system is largely the same unit as the one found in the 2010 model. There is a saving grace though, in the standard 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system that produces excellent sound quality using the 7.1-channel surround sound architecture.
Another important addition for 2020 is the inclusion of Lexus Safety System+, which includes pre-collision, automatic high beam, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert systems. With this change, all Lexus models available in Canada now come standard with the Lexus Safety System+, representing a big leap in the company’s commitment to reducing injuries and fatalities on the road.
Pricing of the 2020 Lexus GX 460 starts at $75,950, add on $6,000 for the optional Executive Package and we arrive at our as-tested total of $81,950. Given the combination of price, off-roading abilities and on-road comfort, this would be most closely matched with the Range Rover Sport SE (reviewed here), which starts at $81,800. However, the Lexus GX 460 would come with more comfort and safety features when similarly priced, and superior long-term reliability ratings than the Range Rover Sport.
The 2020 Lexus GX 460 Executive is a luxurious SUV for buyers looking for a vehicle that fills both of their on- and off-road needs. It strikes a perfect balance between rugged and luxurious, and there simply is not another SUV in the market that manages this below the $100,000 price point. The platform, powertrain, and infotainment are now a decade old, but the biggest selling point here is dependability. This is the truck that will get you out of trouble in any conditions, and the latest safety and technology updates have made it even more invincible.