Test Drive: Lexus GX460 SUV exudes strength and securityAug 12nd, 2019
If you lined up 100 brand new vehicles and asked me which one I thought would still be running strong in the year 2040, I’d pick the Lexus GX460. There’s just something about this bank-vault of an SUV that feels indestructible.
Maybe it’s the hefty, 4.6-liter V-8 engine or the interior design that’s proud but not prissy. More generally, the GX460 feels like an SUV that’s built to endure for a generation, not just to impress prospective buyers with its soft skills.
Oh, you can spend more for a Lexus SUV. The Lexus LX570 is a behemoth that approaches six figures and needs a parking space the size of New Hampshire. But the GX460 is a natural upgrade for affluent families who have outgrown the popular RX crossover — which can be equipped with a smaller third row of seats — but who don’t need something the size of a train car.
WHAT IS IT?
The 2019 Lexus GX460 is a truck-based, mid-size SUV with old-school architecture retrofitted with modern safety-tech features. It includes a big, 4.6-liter, V-8 engine that makes 301 horsepower and helps give the GX460 a towing capacity of 6,500 pounds.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
GX460s are available locally at Lexus of Chattanooga on Lee Highway. Late last week, the dealership had 15 GX460s in digital inventory, all with published prices less than $60,000. Our richly optioned tester, provided by the manufacturer for a one-week test drive on Chattanooga streets, rings up at $70,840.
WHAT WE LIKED?
The GX460, which features full-time all-wheel drive, is about as sure-footed as an SUV gets. Car & Driver calls it “a mountain climber in a 3-piece suit,” an apt description which may appeal to locals living at altitude. We also liked the commanding seating position, the old-school touch-screen and the SUV’s obvious emphasis on strength and security. The Lexus spindle grille, which can over-power more delicate designs, looks especially good on the bold GX460. We are big fans of the 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, but the $1,970 dual-screen rear seat entertainment system is an expensive throwback to days when kids didn’t have smart phones and tablet computers with unlimited data plans.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
While the dated six-speed transmission is not a bother from a driving standpoint, a few more gears might help boost the GX460’s fuel economy, which ranges from 15 mpg city to 18 mpg highway. Also, the GX460’s swing gate, which opens from left to right, feels dated.
For a heavy SUV, the GX460 has a composed ride and the big V-8 is plenty stout. Mountain driving is effortless, and the GX460 is an all-weather champ.
I’m not sure you could kill this beast with a wrecking ball — not that you’d want to. Instead, just wash it, wax it, and change the oil regularly and it will serve you well into the mid-21st century.