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, 3-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.
The GX 460 is the oldest product in Lexus' lineup, but it found its way back into the spotlight. With overlanding gaining popularity in recent years, the GX is enjoying newfound stardom thanks to its easy-to-modify architecture, legit four-wheel-drive chops and high-quality interior. There are lifted examples all over Car Twitter. Lexus' ancient SUV is once again cool.
It seems like Lexus is finally leaning into the GX's old-school nature, too. Last year, the company created theas a nod to owners who, according to Lexus, "discovered and embraced the SUV's perfect combination of ultimate luxury and unrivaled off-road capability." And for 2020, there's a new Off-Road Package which adds specific drive modes for different types of terrain, panoramic-view and under-the-car cameras, a transmission cooler, fuel tank protector and Crawl Control, which is like cruise control for super-slow off-road stuff. It's a $1,570 option that's only available on the top-tier Luxury trim, but if you're planning to venture off the beaten path in your GX -- and you really, really should -- it's a must-have.
Aside from that, the most obvious update for 2020 is, uh, that face. Lexus' oversized spindle grille is almost blown out of proportion on the GX. It's pretty bad, you guys. Thankfully, the rest of the SUV is pretty handsome, with its upright design and high-mounted taillights. My tester wears the $2,020 Sport Design Package, which adds dark-finish 19-inch wheels and some other gray body work, as well as second-row captain's chairs, which don't exactly convey "sporty," but whatever, they're nice.
The Good ~ Outstanding off-road performance ~ Plush, quiet, high-quality cabin ~ Plenty of room for passengers and cargo ~ Lots of standard safety tech
The Bad ~ Really old multimedia interface ~ V8 is underpowered ~ Fuel economy isn't great
The Bottom Line The Lexus GX 460 might be old, but it'll go places where other luxury SUVs can't.
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