For the 2020 model year, the Lexus GX 460 received an upgraded off-road package with crawl control, a new spindle grille, and a few luxurious interior tweaks. That said, there is little new for 2021, aside from Amazon Alexa compatibility and acoustic front side glass. Nice as those updates are, we would look first for a nice pre-owned model. The Lexus GX 460 is quite luxurious inside and plenty capable off-road, but the 4.6-liter V8 is showing its age and the gas mileage is less than stellar.
Safety & Tech Features
Safety & Tech Features
The 2021 Lexus GX 460 is a capable SUV if you are going stir crazy and want to take a road trip. Given the luxurious interior, it’s easy to keep right on driving. With a V8 under the hood, the GX 460 can tow a small camper or a trailer full of motorcycles or snowmobiles for a weekend getaway. It’s also the ideal luxury SUV for a family who lives outside the city and needs to travel unpaved roads to get home.
This week, we drove the 2021 Lexus GX 460 in the Luxury trim. Here is how our test drive went.
For the 2021 model year, the Lexus GX 460 receives acoustic front side glass on all models and Amazon Alexa compatibility. Silver 18-inch wheels and a heated, wood-trimmed steering wheel are now available on the Premium and Premium Plus packages. Otherwise, the GX 460 is mostly unchanged for 2021. There were no updates in terms of engine performance or towing capacity.
With that in mind, we might recommend shopping for a gently used model. Given there are so few updates for 2021, we would try and save the money versus buying a brand new GX 460.
The new Lexus GX 460 comes in six colors: Starfire Pearl, Atomic Silver, Nebula Gray Pearl, Nightfall Mica, Black Onyx, and Claret Mica. Interior colors include Black, Sepia, Ecru, and Rioja Red with a black headliner. There are three trim levels for the 2021 Lexus GX 460: the base GX model, Premium, and Luxury.
2021 Lexus GX 460 Luxury Features
Our 2021 Lexus GX 460 Luxury came standard with LED headlights, running boards, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, driver’s seat memory settings, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, and a power-adjustable steering column.
Infotainment features included Lexus Enform emergency and remote vehicle services, a customizable touchscreen display, four USB ports (two front/two rear), Bluetooth capability, and satellite and HD radio. Other niceties for the GX Luxury include a sunroof, rearview camera, and headlamp washers.
On the performance side, our GX 460 Luxury came with trailer sway control, Adaptive Variable Suspension with three modes (Normal, Comfort, and Sport), auto-leveling rear air suspension, a full-time four-wheel-drive system with a torque-sensing limited-slip center differential, and the Lexus Safety System+ package.
Our tester also came with the Sport Design Package, which included 19-inch wheels, second-row captain’s chairs, dark gray front fascia, satin chrome lower grille surround, and a gunmetal metallic exhaust tip.
Our 2021 Lexus GX 460 Luxury was also equipped with the Off-Road package. That package includes multi-terrain and panoramic view monitors, a transmission cooler, a fuel tank protector, crawl control, and a muti-terrain select system.
2021 Lexus GX 460 Pricing
The starting MSRP for base models is $53,100, while the Premium and Luxury start at $55,890 and $64,365. With all of the options listed above, expect the MSRP to be easily north of $70,000.
The Lexus GX 460 is big on the inside and will fit a growing family with its three rows of seating. However, the GX 460 can seat seven if you opt for a second-row bench. Either way, stepping inside reveals a big comfortable cabin with 10-way power-adjustable, heated, and cooled front seats. The fit and finish and quality of materials are what we would expect from Toyota’s luxury division.
The second-row is roomy even for taller adults with heated captains chairs that also tilt and slide. The third row folds flat at the push of a button to offer even more cargo-carrying ability for those weekend excursions. The interior is cavernous as the max cargo volume comes in at 64.7 cubic feet.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The 2021 Lexus GX 460 is standard with a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft. of torque. It comes mated to a six-speed automatic. Max towing capacity is 6,500 lbs.
EPA ratings come in at 15/19 city/highway and 16 combined. The GX 460 also takes premium fuel, so visits to the gas pump to fill up the 23-gallon tank won’t be cheap.
The Lexus GX 460 likes to cruise on the open highway, and it felt smooth on our 200 mile trip to the Painted Mines Park east of Colorado Springs. The Adaptive Variable Suspension eats up the speed bumps and potholes without jarring you or your passengers. It had plenty of power to get around the slower trucks on the flat concrete, but going up I-70 at 7,500 feet elevation, the V8 seemed to struggle to get us up the steep incline.
If you have a full load of passengers or are pulling a trailer, the new GX 460 may struggle to handle the weight. Despite the luxurious interior, Lexus hasn’t upgraded the horsepower or torque output of the 4.6-liter V8 in a decade.
Driving Dynamics: Rugged & Capable
The GX 460 comes with a body-on-frame construction, full-time four-wheel-drive, and a limited-slip differential. Our tester came with the optional Off-Road package that now includes multi-terrain and panoramic view monitors and a multi-terrain select system. You can adjust the traction depending on the terrain. There is Rock, Rock and Dirt, Mogul, Loose Rock, or Mud and Sand settings.
You can also select Crawl Control to navigate steep terrain when the GX 460 is switched into low range. Lexus says the system regulates wheel spin by automatically adjusting the engine throttle and brakes, helping improve traction.
Conclusion: Older But Still Functional
The 2021 Lexus GX 460 could use a remodel, but it’s still one of the most capable three-row SUVs. The truck-like platform and four-wheel-drive system will offer peace of mind when you have to drive on snowy and icy roads. And the heated leather seats will be nice when it does get cold. While the Lexus GX 460 could use an engine upgrade, for most everyday driving situations, the 4.6-liter V8 will suffice.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his firsthand reviews are archived on our test drives page. Follow Denis on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy