Lexus GX460 delivers a smooth ride in a big package
Luxury SUVs should not feel like pickups with an enclosed cargo area and a smooth ride.
Lexus’ revamped GX460 in its Premium edition feels and looks like a luxury SUV. It’s quiet and runs so smoothly that you almost forget it weighs 5,340 pounds and is 189.2 inches long. The Lexus feels big, but not monstrous.
Best of all, it feels great from the plush leather seats to the hushed quality of its 301-horsepower V8. Some big SUVs have larger engines, but this one with its variable valve timing delivers power with a sound of authority, not a growl that will wake the neighbors.A 6-speed automatic transmission helps the truck pull away from stoplights with a little swagger in its step, but a silky quality you don’t find in all big SUVs. Full-time four-wheel drive keeps the wheels moving and provides traction if the weather turns sloppy.
Ride is luxurious with a soft, compliant feel. The GX460 has an independent suspension up front and live rear axle that handles our rough roads. This is easily among the top five of cars and trucks I’ve tested on a bad stretch of road near Timmerman Field. The truck’s 109.8 inch wheelbase helps spread bumps along with some excellent shock dampening from the kinetic dynamic suspension system.
Handling is OK for a big truck. The SUV turns well into corners with little body roll and not much of a top-heavy feeling.
Stopping is top notch with four wheel vented discs, ABS, and a stability program.
The test truck was a light metallic tan, something Lexus calls golden almond metallic. It looks classy, and the truck has plenty of chrome.
Inside, the GX460 features a black dash top and steering wheel with a dark brown leather interior and reddish wood trim.
There are power perforated leather seats with two memory settings for the driver’s seat, a power lumbar support and a power tilt/telescope steering wheel that is heated. The driver’s seat powers back, and the wheel tilts away when you turn off the engine.Second row seats include heated cushions and slide a bit to adjust to the rider. That’s good because while Lexus says the vehicle seats seven I feel bad putting anyone but smaller kids in the third seat.
The power fold third row seats fold neatly into the floor with the push of a button. There is room for a few grocery bags behind that seat when it’s in place. If you need to carry much cargo though, you’ll need to fold those seats down. This vehicle needs a hatch too, not a rear-opening door, which often is awkward in parking lots and when loading cargo.
The Lexus has an attractive dash that is well laid out with large buttons and knobs. There are just too many of them.
The test truck added the navigation and Mark Levinson audio system package for $3,930.Lexus included its $2,670 advanced pre-collision system in the test truck. This includes a dynamic radar cruise control that you can set to three levels so it slows your down when vehicles pull into your lane. It also includes smart bright lights that turn on when there is no oncoming traffic at night and then dims as a vehicle approaches you.
The starting price for the Premium is $57,140. A base GX460 goes for $53,045 with fewer amenities. The test truck grew to $64,679, which reflects the market for big luxury SUVs.
Gas mileage was a little better than I’d expected with an EPA rating of 15 mpg city and 20 highway. I got 17.9 mpg in about 60% highway driving, with up to four people and some luggage aboard.