Tuesday, May 19, 2015

2015 Lexus GX 460 4WD: The Luxury Brand’s Off-Road, 7-Passenger SUV


Highlight: The Toyota 4Runner and the GX 460 are based on the same platform.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $62,785 (Base Price $50,410)

Seating Capacity: 7

Standard Safety Features: airbags; daytime running lights; LED headlights; ABS; an automatic dimming interior mirror; a stability control system; a trailer sway control system; a downhill assist control system; a hill-start control system; a back up camera; a first aid kit and Lexus’ Enform Safety Connect system (automatic collision notification, SOS button, a stolen vehicle locator, an emergency assist button, and enhanced roadside assistance)

Standard Equipment: 18-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission; roof rails; an automatic climate control system; a power sunroof; power front seats with lumbar support; a memory driver’s seat; 4.2-inch infotainment screen; and second/third reclining and adjustable seats



Options On Review Model: a 17-speaker, 330-watt Mark Levinson audio system with a DVD/CD player

Other Trim Levels:

Base

Suspension System: double wishbone stabilizer bar with coil springs (front) 4-link rigid axle, control arms with coil springs (rear)

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 9-speaker AM/FM/HD/CD with satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 mile warranty

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 mile warranty

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 4.6-liter, 8-cylinder/301-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 15-city/20-hwy

Towing Capabilities: 6,500 lbs



What’s New: The Lexus GX 460 is basically a carryover for the model year.

Pros: The GX 460 is available in two trim packages: base and luxury. We had an opportunity to review the well-equipped luxury trim, which consisted of such features as an adaptive variable suspension system, an 8-inch navigation screen, a back up camera, a blind spot system with a cross-traffic system, ventilated front seats, LED fog lamps, rain-sensing wipers, tonneau cover, a windshield washer de-icer, a three-zone ventilation system, power folding seats that fold flat, heated second-row seats and a Mahogany steering wheel.

All GX 460s are outfitted with a sport and luxury suspension system. During our review, we chose to keep the vehicle in luxury mode, because the sport suspension made the driving experience more akin to an unrefined pick up. And with the popularity of crossovers, which are car-based vehicles, this is a true SUV through and through. In fact, unlike crossovers that can tow upwards of 3,500 lbs, the body-on-frame GX 460 is capable of towing almost twice that amount at 6,500 lbs. Also with the GX 460 being a 4WD drive vehicle, it can be used to tool around in the city and for off-roading on rugged terrains.

Moreover, there are a host of driver aids buyers can opt to add-on. Some of those aids include a blind spot system, a pre-collision braking system, a radar activated cruise control system, automatic high beam headlights and a lane departure warning system. All of these driver aids can be had in a package that costs approximately $4,300. Buyers can also opt for a rear entertainment system to play DVDs.
              
Cons: The GX 460 has a few misses. For one, the engineers should equip this SUV with power folding side view mirrors. This will be helpful, when pulling into tight spaces. Moreover, the fuel mileage needs to be improved. The competitors in the segment were able to inch out more mpg.

And, while this vehicle offers three rows of seats, we must admit it’s a tight fit, squeezing into the last row. In fact, when the third row seats are in use, there is virtually no room for cargo and the driver’s rear vision is impeded due to the headrests. Lastly, the rear cargo door swings open, as opposed to opening like the cargo bed of a pick up truck (or GM’s large SUVS). This could pose as a challenging problem in a tight parking space. The competitors we noted seats more and offer more cargo. Furthermore, the competitors we noted offer more horsepower and towing power, too!



Verdict: Besides Land Rover and Infiniti, Lexus is the only other non American automaker that offers a body-on-frame design with a standard 4WD system. Lexus has taken great strides to offer an adaptable suspension system, making the vehicle feels less like a truck, when behind the wheel. The Lexus GX 460, which offers a host of standard luxury features, can also be outfitted with some of today’s latest self-autonomous driving aids, too. And, unlike a typical crossover, the GX 460 is powered by an 8-cylinder engine that is capable of towing up to 6,500 lbs.

Competition: Ford Expedition Limited and GMC Yukon Denali 

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