The GX 460 is offered in three trim levels: GX 460, GX 460 Premium and GX 460 Luxury. There's a single powertrain on offer in the GX 460, and it can easily provide for those wanting energetic power and torque whether it be for off-roading or towing. The 4.6L V8 engine makes 301 horsepower and comes mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. A full-time 4-wheel-drive system is standard on the GX 460; the system includes a Torsen limited-slip center differential and an electronic locker to help with mud, sand, or snow, but an automatic mode for most driving sends about 60 percent to the rear wheels and can vary the distribution to help if some wheels have more traction.
The adaptive variable suspension system that comes with premium models includes Normal, Sport and Comfort modes, while the adjustable height control helps keep the vehicle level when towing. For those who plan to venture off-road, the standard Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System uses hydraulic pressure to help keep the body stiffer and more level on the road yet allow more wheel movement during off-roading.
The GX 460 comes with a full roster of ten airbags, along with stability control and Brake Assist, and both Crawl Control and Downhill Assist Control can help maintain poise and traction when off-roading, freeing-up the driver to focus on steering. There are also several advanced safety-tech features available here, including Lane Departure Alert, which sounds a buzzer if the driver wanders out of a marked lane and both adaptive lighting and an intelligent high beam lighting system.
Inside, the GX 460's interior is spacious but with a truck-like feel. The sitting position is rather upright, with a good view outward. Front seats are very comfortable and supportive, while the second row is adult-sized and slides fore and aft several inches. There's a small third row, with a motorized system to raise the seat. The GX's rear hatch opens to the side, rather than upward.
The interior of the GX is lavishly appointed with leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a power moonroof, memory driver's seat settings, a dual-zone climate control and a garage-door opener. A 9-speaker sound system is also standard on the GX that includes integrated Bluetooth hands-free and music-streaming connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio and an iPod interface via USB. A display screen with trip computer and rear back-up camera display are standard.
The GX 460 Premium includes perforated leather seats, LED fog lamps, Bluetooth, navigation, a backup camera, heated and ventilated front seats, three-zone climate control, heated second-row seating and rain-sensing wipers. Blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert is available, as is a Parking Assist system.
The Limited trim comes standard with front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot sensor, navigation, leather seating and ventilated front seats. A Driver Support package is optional, and includes a Driver Attention Monitor, dynamic radar cruise control and Lane Departure Alert. The audio system can be upgraded to an audiophile Mark Levinson audio system with 17 speakers and 7.1-channel surround sound. For the back seats, a dual-screen DVD entertainment system can be added.
It's hard to talk about the 2014 Lexus GX 460 without drawing comparisons between it and its stablemate, the LX 570. The large, block-shaped SUVs appear similar in pictures, so its easy to assume that Lexus is overlapping itself.
However, the GX 460 Luxury model that I tested feels like a better fit for the road. Its slightly smaller footprint, better fuel economy, and lower initial and operating costs may make it a better choice. If you're looking to spend significant time off-road, it may be beneficial to look upmarket to the LX, but for the vast majority of luxury SUV drivers who occasionally need to haul or tow things and only need light, trail off-road capability, the GX is worth a look.
This 2014 model gets an update that stretches the brand's trademark spindle grille over its boxy front end. The result is more handsome than I expected it to be, printing better in person than it does in my photographs. However, the changes for 2014 are largely skin deep; underneath, it still uses a similar powertrain to the one this generation debuted with in 2009 and a slightly older version of the Enform tech than its contemporaries in the Lexus lineup.
The Good The 2014 Lexus GX's Enform infotainment puts various destination search, audio streaming, and reservation apps at the driver's fingertips. The optional Mark Levinson surround audio system continues to impress. A full range of driver aid alerts are available as part of a tech package.
The Bad Neither the 4.6-liter V-8's power nor its efficiency were particularly impressive. The Enform system's map graphics were lower-quality than those in other Lexus SUVs we've tested.
The Bottom Line With its new appearance, 2014 Lexus GX 460 is a competent full-size luxury SUV, but its powertrain and dashboard tech could also use an update to keep up with the competition.
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