We drive the Lexus GX460

Lexus GX460
Lexus GX460

The Lexus GX460 is a different breed of SUV. It offers the luxury features that you expect from a Lexus with serious off road capability that you would not expect. Lexus does not sell that many GX460s but it is a very cool vehicle that offers some terrific features.

The GX460 is one of a handful of SUVs that still is built on a body on frame construction. That robust chassis provides a great base for the serious truck user. The Lexus GX 460’s on-road smoothness and quiet ride belie its considerable trail-driving capability. It starts with full-time 4-wheel drive, which uses an electronically controlled transfer case and a Torsen torque-sensing limited slip center differential.

The Torsen differential distributes power 40:60 under most driving conditions and changes the ratio as needed based on wheel slip. The system offers a low range for off-road driving, and the center differential can be electronically locked.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The system also works on the road. As you drive through a curve, for example, the system can change the torque split to 30:70 to enhance vehicle tracking. If wheels spin, the center differential can change the ratio to 50:50 to help control the slippage. The system can respond to sudden changes in road surface conditions, such as driving through a puddle or over an ice patch.

The off-road capability starts with a low range, and it is supported by a wide array of chassis control technology. With Downhill Assist Control (DAC), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and available Crawl Control, the GX 460 has the capability to traverse unpaved, uneven trails and steep inclines.

In some off-road conditions, the driver might have a hard time knowing which direction the front wheels are pointing, so the GX 460 comes with a standard steering angle indicator in the gauge panel. There is also a front camera so that you can see what is directly in front of the vehicle.

Huge cargo carrying capacity
Huge cargo carrying capacity

The Lexus GX 460 uses various suspension technologies to achieve on-road smoothness and off-road prowess. On-road, the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) uses electronically controlled dampers that adjust to road surface conditions. The driver can tailor ride and handling characteristic by selecting from among Normal, Sport or Comfort modes.

We played with the settings but could hardly tell them apart. The other system is Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS). KDSS uses hydraulic cylinders acting on each anti-roll bar, and linked by a pressure-sensing valve, to continually vary the actual lean resistance of the bars to achieve a better ride using softer bars.

When driving in off-road situations, KDSS reduces sway resistance, which increases articulation. When the GX 460 encounters an uneven surface, one compressed cylinder causes fluid to flow to the other cylinder, helping the vehicle to keep all four wheels on the ground. That’s a lot easier than you crawling beneath the vehicle to disconnect the stabilizer bars, which is what drivers of some 4×4 vehicles will do before traversing a difficult trail.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The off road prowess of the GX460 is just amazing especially when you consider that the inside is still a Lexus with the luxury touches and features that you expect from a Lexus. There are features such as 10 way power seats, dual zone climate control, back up and front camera and 17 speaker Mark Levinson surround sound audio with 330 watts of power. Our truck also had the rear seat entertainment system with two LCD screens and wireless headphones.

The GX460 has seats for seven people which is great news for those bigger families. The third row is a little tight for adults and there is not much luggage space if you have the third row up. Otherwise, the other passengers and driver have a very comfortable place to sit. The driver is faced with a clear gauge panel and a very supportive seat.

There are some buttons on the dash for the climate control but despite the row of buttons, there are some often used controls, such as fan speed, that requires you to go to the climate control section in the navigation screen to make adjustments. The old three knobs to control the climate control system is hard to beat for ease of use.

In the center console there are lots of buttons for various off road gadgets including being able to raise and lower the GX460 but unfortunately most of the features are not available when you are going faster than 20 mph.


Under the hood of the GX is the 1UR-FE Toyota 4.6 liter V8 that puts out 301 hp. The engine requires 91 octane fuel and is mated to a six speed automatic transmission.

The GX460 weighs 5100 pounds and the V8 accelerates it to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds and through the quarter mile in 16.6 seconds. The GX460 is also a very capable towing vehicle with a 6500 pound towing capacity. That V8 will drink a lot of fuel and the GX460 is rated at 15 mpg city and 20 mpg on the highway.

A vehicle as capable as this is never cheap but the GX460 is actually a bargain with prices starting out at $50,780.

The full blown Luxury model costs $62,155 and while that is a lot of money, it is actually quite inexpensive when you consider all of the features that you get for your hard earned dollars. How many other vehicles can seat seven, pamper you with great luxury, offer a 6500 pound towing capacity and possess serious off road capability?

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