Stagnant luxury SUV retains popularity
Roseville, CA- Despite a mild facelift this year, the 2020 Lexus GX 460 still comes up lacking overall.
The midsize luxury SUV is not all that different from 10 years ago when its last major redesign took place. While the GX has remained mostly stagnant, much of the competition has evolved over that past decade, pushing the Lexus further from the top.
Although it has added the Lexus spindle grille and headlight designs, the truck-like GX 460 is still an old-school, three-row SUV that seats six or seven people. It does feature some luxurious amenities and the ability to conquer trails better than ever with its new optional off-road package.
Old school is apparently enough for a good chunk of people. Sales of the GX in the U.S. for 2019 was 25,945. That marks the fifth year in a row that GX sales have not dipped under 25,000.
Technology is one of the primary areas where the 2018 Lexus GX 460 needs attention. Rivals in the luxury SUV class are more sophisticated and cutting edge. Interior space, poor fuel economy and driving manners are among the issues with the GX 460, which has two trim levels (Base, Luxury).
The all-wheel drive GX 460 has rugged characteristics that allow it to operate well in off-road situations, one of the vehicle’s primary selling points. It’s equipped with standard hill-descent control, and adaptive variable suspension that’s capable of raising the vehicle for additional clearance.
The off-road package that comes with the Luxury trim ratchets up the GX experience on alternative terrain. It includes Crawl Control, an off-road cruise control system that can regulate speed and allow the driver to focus on steering and choosing terrain. The package also has Multi-Terrain Select traction system, a transmission cooler, fuel tank skid plate, and a terrain monitor that provides a view of what’s beneath the SUV.
The GX 460 has one engine, a 4.6-liter, V8 that’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and generates 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque. We found the luxury SUV lumbered a bit in certain driving situations. The GX goes 0-60 mph in a respectable 7.4 seconds, but gets only 15-18 mpg. The towing capacity is very good at 6,500 pounds
2020 Lexus GX 460
- Performance: 4.6-liter, V8, 301 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 15-18 mpg
- Price estimate: $53,100 to $64,400
- Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; roadside assistance: 4 years/unlimited; corrosion: 6 years/unlimited
Although it’s a heavy SUV (5,130 pounds), the GX 460 delivers a smooth ride with solid handling. There’s very little road or engine noise. Standard safety features include lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.
Less advanced than the competition
There’s no greater example of GX’s old-school qualities than the interior. It has a small embedded touchscreen, no standard Apple CarPlay, is incompatible with Android Auto, and its voice recognition system is less advanced than what most of its competition offers. Other issues include poorly located stereo controls, lousy access to climate control, and a tailgate that swings out instead of folds down.
Leg and head room are good for the driver and all occupants of the first two rows. But the third row is tight and only suitable for young kids. The cargo area is small at 11.6 cubic feet behind third row. It does increase to 46.7 cubes with the third row down, yet the floor isn’t flat, making it more difficult to adequately store certain items.
It’s been a decade since its last redesign and the 2020 GX 460 is starting to show its age. While it’s a great off-road vehicle, it’s lack of interior sophistication and truck-like handling that’s surpassed by many of its rivals keeps the GX brand from being among the best in class.
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