Even though many SUV owners don’t take their vehicles off-road, the Lexus GX 460 is highly capable if you ever need to get off the pavement. It would be ideal for a family who lives outside the city, perhaps near the mountains, or just generally needs to travel unpaved roads to get home. That’s because the GX shares a similar platform with the capable off-road Toyota 4Runner.
The GX is a large luxury SUV that can handle rugged terrain, and is good for towing a camper or other recreational vehicles. This week, we’ve been driving the 2018 Lexus GX 460 Luxury, the SUV’s top trim level.
What’s New For 2018
There are only a few minor changes in available features.
Features & Options
The 2018 Lexus GX 460 Luxury ($63,230) comes standard with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, running boards, a flip-up rear window within the swing-out tailgate, roof rails, Lexus’ Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, a sunroof, rearview camera, and keyless ignition and entry.
Inside, the GX 460 comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, driver-seat memory settings, a power-adjustable steering column, and a 50/50-split folding third-row seat. Infotainment features include Lexus Enform emergency and remote vehicle services, an eight-inch touchscreen, two USB ports, and Bluetooth capability. The nine-speaker sound system includes a CD player and satellite and HD radio.
The GX 460 Luxury comes with all of the above as standard, plus an adaptive and auto-leveling suspension, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, headlight washers, and a heated, wood-trimmed steering wheel. The rear cargo cover, second-row captain’s chairs, and upgraded leather upholstery make for nice additional touches.
This GX 460 tester came with the optional two-screen rear seat entertainment system ($1,970) and a Driver Support package ($4,340). This adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and automatic braking, front- and side-view cameras, and a driver inattention monitoring system. The package also includes lane departure warning, automatic high beams, crawl control (an off-road, low-speed cruise control system), and the Mark Levinson sound system.
The Sport Design Package ($1,950) adds 18-inch dark alloy wheels, heated second row seats, and special styling elements. Total MSRP of our test GX 460, options and all, including destination: $72,485.
The 2018 Lexus GX 460 Luxury is ideal for active families because of how big the inside is. This luxury SUV seats up to seven and comes with three rows. The front is especially spacious. The seats up there are 10-way power adjustable, plus heated and cooled for extra comfort. It’s easy to find the perfect driving position for any family member with the tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
The second-row is reasonably roomy and versatile and features heated seats that also recline. The seats offer a power feature and will fold down flat for extra cargo space. The third row can be accessed from the passenger side where the second-row seat moves forward to allow walk-in access. The third row also folds flat at the push of a button, converting the GX 460 to a five-passenger SUV with more cargo room.
The interior is cavernous. We were able to carry a 10-foot piece of wood trim home for a remodeling project.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The GX 460 is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 producing 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft. of torque. It’s mated with a six-speed transmission and four-wheel drive is standard.
The Lexus GX 460 likes to cruise on level highways and was smooth and unstressed on the commute to work. As we returned home heading up I-70 into the mountains, the 301 horsepower V8 had to work harder to get us up the hill. The GX 460 weighs 5,340 lbs. empty. That said, if you have a full load, or are pulling a trailer, it may struggle to handle the weight.
But for those who live on flat ground, this SUV will handle most driving situations with ease.
With a body-on-frame construction and low range gearing, it’s far more rugged and powerful than the Lexus RX crossover. Unlike the RX, the GX offers excellent off-road capability and comes equipped with features to make off-road driving safe and easy. It’s very comfortable in town, but has a great setup for getting you into the back country.
For example, The GX comes standard with a full-time 4WD system, which includes a locking center differential and low-range gearing. The system requires little to no input from the driver. It’s ideal for safe travel during heavy rains, on snowy and icy roads, or on rough dirt or gravel surfaces. Despite this off-road design, the suspension still eats up bumps and potholes without jarring you or the passengers.
With its truck-like platform, the 2018 Lexus GX 460 offers excellent control over rugged terrain. It will keep you confident in bad weather. It’s a traditional SUV, built on the same truck-based architecture as the rugged Toyota 4Runner, with a suspension and drive system designed for the rough stuff.
Inside it’s big and luxurious and on the road it’s comfortable and quiet. The 4.6-liter V8 is good enough but it could use more low-end torque for pulling up the hills.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy