The Lexus GX 460 is a rarity in the world of luxury three-row SUVs. It’s got body-on-frame construction and the chops for serious off-roading. While many want an SUV for driving around town, the GX can tackle tough terrain. However, if you do want a luxury SUV for more civilized driving, others offer more amenities and better fuel efficiency.
Base Price: $64,365
As Tested: $71,035
Mileage: 15 mpg city/19 mpg highway/16 mpg combined
The GX 460 is getting a bit long in the tooth. It was first introduced for the 2003 model year. It got a redesign in 2010, a refresh in 2014 and some updates since then. New for 2021 is a Premium Plus package that includes a 17-speaker audio system, third-row power seats and compatibility with Amazon Alexa.
Three trims are available: base, Premium and Luxury. Starting prices range from $53,250 to $64,515. There’s room for six or seven passengers, depending on whether you get captain’s chairs or bench seating in the second row.
All trims get the same powertrain: a 4.6-liter V8 that makes 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. Full-time automatic four-wheel-drive is standard.
The GX 460 has body-on-frame construction so it handles more like a truck than a luxury SUV. Acceleration can be pokey—it takes some effort to get this 5,200-pound beast in motion. Lexus says the GX 460 can go from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds. Once you’re up to speed, the GX 460 is a nice cruiser. There’s enough power for merging and passing at freeway speeds. Steering is responsive and the turning radius is relatively tight for such a large vehicle, making it fairly easy to park. The ride is mostly smooth but you will notice some bumps on rough roads and over potholes.
The GX 460 shines when it comes to off-roading. The GX has 8.1 inches of ground clearance and the standard Lexus Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System enhances traction. The transfer case can run in locked or unlocked mode, and in high or low range. There’s also an Off Road Package, an available Adaptive Variable Suspension system, and available Multi-Terrain Select system that lets you adjust the amount of traction and response with five settings: rock, rock and dirt, mogul, loose rock, and mud/sand.
When properly equipped, the GX 460 can tow up to 6,500 pounds. That’s enough for a boat, snowmobiles or motorcycles. Towing is aided with Trailer Sway Control, a function of the Vehicle Stability Control that enhances straight-line tracking.
Fuel efficiency is poor, even for a luxury SUV. EPA ratings for my tester are 15 mpg city and 19 mpg highway with a combined rating of 16. I got 17 during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The roomy cabin boasts a nice fit and finish as you’d expect in a Lexus. Materials are of high quality and look and feel good. Adults are comfortable in the first and second rows. The third row is best suited for children. It can fold flat with the bush of a button if you want to haul cargo instead of kids.
Some of the tech and controls are old school as they haven’t changed much in the last decade. An eight-inch touchscreen is standard, but the interface is dated, and there’s no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Hello, Lexus? It’s 2021 and these should be standard or at least available!
Standard features include remote start, leather upholstery and trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, driver’s seat memory settings, power-adjustable steering column, eight-inch touchscreen with customizable home screen, Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD radio, four USB ports (two front and two rear), and power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors.
Available features include three-zone climate control, semi-aniline leather trim offered in Rioja Red, Gray Sapele wood trim, heated and ventilated front seats, heated, wood-trimmed steering wheel, navigation, 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system and dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system.
Standard driver assistance technologies include the Lexus Safety System+ suite of technologies that is standard on the entire 2021 Lexus vehicle lineup. Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert, Intelligent High Beams and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
Cargo space is decent. There are 11.6 cubic feet with all three rows of seating in place, 46.7 cubes with the third row folded and 64.7 cubes with the second and third rows folded. The rear door opens from the side instead of the usual hatch that lifts up.
Impressive off-roading prowess
Comfortable, roomy and quiet cabin
Lots of standard driver assistance tech
Old-school infotainment system
No Android Auto or Apple CarPlay
Poor fuel efficiency
My tester starts at $64,365. The Mark Levinson 17-speaker, automatic sound levelizer and single-disc DVD/CD Player is $1,145. The Off-Road Package is $1,570 and adds multi-terrain and panoramic view monitors, transmission cooler, fuel tank protector, crawl control and multi-terrain select. The Sport Design Package is $2,020 and adds 19-inch dark gray metallic Alloy wheels, second row tilt/slide captain’s chairs, unique lower grille surround, front and rear bumper spoilers, dark gray exhaust tip, chrome detail side mirrors and scarlet taillights. Door edge guards at $155. Cargo n et, cargo mat, wheel locks and key gloves are $325. Paint protection film by 3M is $430. Delivery fee is $1,025 bringing the grand total to $71,035.
If you want a three-row luxury SUV for off-roading and tacking tough terrain, the Lexus GX 460 is one of just a few options. If you want an SUV for more civilized pursuits, you’ll want to shop around because rivals offer more modern tech and amenities and better fuel efficiency.