Lexus GX460: Luxury SUV with Many Surprises

Let us just say we are happy Lexus did not mess with a good thing when it decided to continue moving the GX460 into 2020 with few changes. In fact, this hearty, yet luxurious SUV has seen few changes to its basic platform for many years. It has, however, gone through styling and creature comfort advancements, keeping it in line with Lexus enhancing luxury.

The Lexus GX 460 continues to be based on the same body-on-frame platform found on the immensely popular Toyota 4Runner. Granted, this architecture can be considered by some to be less than optimal. In this era of unibody platforms, a body-on-frame vehicle is thought to be old school. However, this platform is considered strong, nearly unbreakable, and the best for traversing rugged back county terrain.

Luxury off-road capability is nearly absent from the marketplace with only a few players in the segment. The Lexus GX460 is one that has the capability to shine if an owner gives it a chance, which rarely occurs. Few owners will ever tap into the GX460’s off-road capabilities. Be assured they are there if ever needed.

There are few changes for 2020 on the GX460, which is powered by a tried and true 4.6-liter, V-8 gasoline engine. This engine in its present configuration produces 301 horsepower and 329 lb.-ft. of torque. While the GX460’s fuel economy may not be at the top of the list, it will out perform many in hauling loads; this SUV is rated to tow up to 6,500 pounds.

The Toyota 4Runner has a following the GX460 seems to not have, but should. We feel that if traveling in luxury with the ability to handle the rigors of off-roading is a main factor in the drive, the GX460 is a perfect fit. After all, there are not many luxury vehicles on the market that come equipped with underbody skid plates.

The 2020 Lexus GX460 is available in three trim packages. Though it is called the base trim level, this version is equipped with Lexus’ Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System. It is a marketing long name for a system that improves off-road traction. You will also find a full complement of advanced safety features, along with an 8-inch touch screen infotainment system. The premium package includes heated and ventilated front seats, parking sensors and three-zone climate control system.

Our test GX460 was the Luxury version, which added auto leveling adaptive suspension system, power reclining and folding third-row seats, and leather upholstery. On top of those standard items our GX460 had options such as Mark Levinson premium sound, the Off-Road Package, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

We also had the optional Sport Design Package, which gave the exterior of our GX460 a look that sets it apart from other GX460s. This package also added second row captain chairs.

With the off-road abilities, the GX460 exhibits you would presume the ride quality would suffer. While it is not as smooth as you would expect a luxury sedan might ride, this SUV was quite comfortable on the highway.

The 2020 Gx460 feels large on the inside, yet this SUV easily maneuvers through parking lots and back country trails, even in tight spots where we did not want the Nebula Grey Pearl paint to get scratched. The maneuverability is enhanced by the Multi-Terrain and Panoramic View monitors. That is an exceptionally long term for exterior surround cameras. We are seeing these types of additions to more off-road packages. They give a real-time view of the exterior via exterior cameras to give the driver a better view of the terrain they are negotiating.

We were thankful we did not see a need to experience Lexus’ Crawl Control system, but we have experienced it with other vehicles in the Toyota family. It is a system we are quite impressed with and the way we tested it was eye opening.

We were able, with the manufacturer’s permission, to take a vehicle into a sand pit and bury it to the axles. This is a move that brings thoughts of dread into an off-roader’s mind. With a conventional 4X4, we would be spending a great deal of time recovering the vehicle and come out so dirty we would need to be sprayed down with a fire hose. However, with Crawl Control we simply selected the appropriate point on the control knob, took our feet off the accelerator and brake pedals, and allowed the vehicle to walk itself out of the hole we dug for ourselves.

We found the GX460 to be exactly the vehicle we thought it would be. It is a luxury SUV equipped with plenty of luxury on the interior, good capable highway abilities and some surprising off-road abilities that gave us pause to appreciate a vehicle that may have slipped behind the curtain, but certainly deserves to be in the light.

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