- Capable off-road performer
- Top-notch interior with plenty of luxury features
- Limited third-row space
- Inconvenient side-swinging cargo door
The 2010 Lexus GX 460 may just be the perfect SUV for Geminis, as people born under that sign are known for changing their moods and minds at the drop of a hat. One day, they may want a rugged off-road machine; the next, a luxury SUV. With the GX 460, they can have both in one vehicle.
As the little (figuratively speaking, of course) brother to the highly respected Lexus LX 570, the redesigned-for-2010 Lexus GX 460 likewise offers the ride and pampering features of a luxury sedan with the trail-taming ability of a truck-based SUV. The latter is no surprise when one realizes that the GX shares much of its body-on-frame platform with Toyota's 4Runner.
Bodily dimensions are very similar to last year's model, so the latest GX 460 is still considered a midsize SUV. In essence, Lexus went with an evolutionary progression of the GX formula. Along with a new 4.6-liter V8 engine (which has nearly 40 more horsepower than the old 4.7-liter unit), the newest GX also provides a number of new luxury features as standard, including power-folding third-row seats, a lane departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, perimeter parking cameras and intelligent high-beam assist.
The cabin is even more luxurious than before, and off-road capability, already impressive, is improved via useful technologies such as Crawl Control. The latter allows the driver to set a slow speed (from 1-3.7 mph), then keep his feet off the pedals as the 2010 Lexus GX 460 ascends and descends rugged terrain. And on the road, the GX provides acceptable handling and a luxurious ride, while its reasonable size makes maneuvering in tight parking lots less of a hassle.
Still, most traditional SUV owners rarely, if ever, take to off-road trails. If you're in this group, a car-based crossover SUV such as the Acura MDX or BMW X5 may be a more appealing choice due to their better handling dynamics and superior cargo space and third-row seat room. The updated Land Rover LR4 is another strong possibility, as it also boasts a dual-use nature like the Lexus. But if you're in serious need of a traditional midsize SUV but still want something refined and luxurious, you should consider the new GX 460.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2010
The 2010 Lexus GX 460 (formerly the GX 470) has been completely redesigned, boasting stronger performance, better fuel economy and all the latest high-tech features.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2010 Lexus GX 460 is a midsize luxury SUV offered in two trim levels: base and Premium.
Standard features on the base GX 460 include 18-inch alloy wheels, the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) that adjusts for more off-road suspension travel or less body roll in regular conditions, heated outside mirrors, running boards, a sunroof, leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated/ventilated power front seats, driver memory settings, power-folding third-row seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a back-up camera. Also standard is a nine-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, Bluetooth audio, satellite radio, iPod connectivity and an auxiliary audio jack.
The GX 460 Premium adds an adaptive variable suspension (with rear adjustable height control), additional chrome trim, auto-dimming sideview mirrors, adaptive xenon headlights, upgraded leather upholstery, a heated wood-trimmed steering wheel, heated second-row seats, rear air-conditioning and a tonneau cover.
Option highlights (depending on trim) include park assist, adaptive cruise control, Crawl Control, the Pre-Collision system, a wide-view front and side monitor, lane departure warning/driver attention monitor, a rear-seat entertainment system, a premium 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system and a hard-drive-based navigation system (with Bluetooth, traffic reporting, weather reporting and Lexus Enform destination assist).
INTERIOR & SAFETY
The interior of the GX 460 is typical Lexus, which is to say, outstanding. Occupants are enveloped in supple leather and rich wood trim. Materials quality is first-rate, most surfaces are soft-touch and all components are assembled with Swiss-timepiece precision.
The GX 460's lengthy features list translates into a somewhat busy-looking control panel, but these controls are easy to use, thanks to intuitive placement. The gauges are easily read, as is the optional navigation system. This system comes with a high-resolution display, voice activation, iPod integration and phone book synchronization via Bluetooth.
With a maximum cargo space of about 65 cubic feet, available storage is less than in most SUVs of this size. The 60/40-split second-row seats fold down, and the standard power-folding third-row seats are a nice convenience. However, all the associated hardware takes up room and is the chief reason for the less-than-average cargo capacity. Rather than opting for a typical fold-down tailgate, Lexus inexplicably employed a side-hinged rear door. As on the Toyota RAV4, it's hinged on the passenger side, blocking curbside access when opened. However, a flip-up rear window allows smaller and lighter packages to be loaded into the GX.
The 2010 Lexus GX 460 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags and roll-sensing side curtain airbags. Also standard are traction control, stability control, downhill assist control and hill-start assist control. The Lexus Link communications system is available, as is the Pre-Collision system.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
The 2010 Lexus GX 460 is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 producing 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is the only available gearbox, and it routes power to all four wheels via a dual-range transfer case. Towing capacity is 6,500 pounds when properly equipped.
At the track, the GX 460 sprinted to 60 mph in 8.0 seconds and ran down the quarter-mile in 16.0 seconds. Braking from 60 mph took 127 feet -- about average for the segment. The EPA fuel ratings come in at 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 17 mpg in combined driving.
Because the 2010 Lexus GX 460 soldiers on as a body-on-frame SUV, it has a more trucklike feel than some of the newer car-based crossovers. Still, the GX manages to impress with a refined, smooth ride and respectable, if not athletic handling. Those who tend to drive more aggressively on curvy roads will notice ample body roll and intervention from the stability control system and as such would be better served by a sportier crossover. The Premium trim's adaptive variable suspension and rear adjustable height control further enhance versatility and convenience by allowing the driver to select a stiffer or softer suspension tuning for various conditions. These features also adjust the rear height by more than an inch for added off-road ground clearance for easier cargo loading.
Acceleration from the V8 is fine around town, but with about 5,300 pounds to lug around, the GX 460 can feel a bit winded during highway passing maneuvers. The transmission shifts smoothly, though it can occasionally be hesitant to downshift.
Despite its rugged, truck-based architecture, the 2010 Lexus GX 460 is not only very capable off road, but manages to coddle its occupants on pavement as well. Still, most crossover SUVs offer more practicality in terms of maximum cargo and passenger space.