Class: Premium Midsize SUV
Miles Driven: 660
Fuel Used: 41.1 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 16.1 mpg
Driving mix: 40% city, 60% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 15/18/16 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Premium Gasoline
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||B+|
|Power and Performance||B|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Base price: $63,555 (not including $1025 destination charge)
Options on test car: Rear-seat entertainment system ($1970), Sport Design Package ($1950), Driver Support Package with Mark Levinson Audio ($2340)
Price as tested: $70,840
The great: Classy cabin; assembly quality
The good: Strong, responsive powertrain; comfortable ride
The not so good: Fuel economy; high load floor; ponderous handling in some situations; not as space-efficient as most crossover-type SUVs
In the midst of unrelenting ferment throughout the sport-utility universe, the Lexus GX 460 keeps on truckin’—as in high-riding, body-on-frame truck-style construction. Not many SUVs do that these days.
In another sense, though, the 2019 GX keeps on truckin’ in the essential form in which it’s been since the 2010 model year. New features have been adopted, trim levels have been added, and looks have been tweaked. But the basic size and shape and much of engineering of this premium-midsize sport-ute date back to the start of the decade.
Change remains incremental. The ’19 model adds smartwatch and Amazon Alexa connectivity to the Enform infotainment systems. Those devices can be used to remotely start the engine and climate control, lock and unlock doors, locate the vehicle, monitor guest-driver behavior, and more.
For the most part, though, the latest GX 460 that Consumer Guide editors sampled was very much like the one they tested before it, a 2017 model. That begins under the hood, where a 4.6-liter 301-horsepower dohc V8 linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission still form the sole powerteam. Stout enough to enable a maximum towing capacity of 6500 pounds, the engine is responsive, smooth, and quiet, even with the driver’s foot fairly deep into the accelerator. Six speeds may seem a little behind the times in a world of 8-, 9-, and 10-speed automatics, but the transmission still serves the GX 460 well.
The driveline consists of full-time 4-wheel drive with an electronically locking limited-slip center differential, automatic load leveling, and trailer sway control. For additional off-road assistance, there’s electronic Crawl Control available in the optional Driver Support Package. It modulates throttle and brake action to help maintain a properly slow speed on difficult terrain. Of course, none of this makes the GX a light eater. The EPA projects 15 mpg in city driving, 18 mpg on the highway, and 16 combined—which seem true. This driver put 146 miles on the 2019 test truck with 50 percent city-style operation and saw 15.9 mpg, and he did top 18 mpg with even less city driving in ’17. Lexus recommends premium fuel for the GX 460.
A standard Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System adapts to terrain. In on-road driving, it automatically fixes the front and rear stabilizer bars in place to counteract body lean while cornering—and the GX can use the help because it still is somewhat tippy around corners. In off-road situations, the system permits more independent movement of each wheel. Ride quality is better, and can be tailored with adjustable shock-damping modes. “Sport” puts a modicum of added firmness into the ride but “Comfort” is fine for most day-to-day city driving and expressway commuting.
CGers drove a top-level Luxury model, which starts at $64,580 with delivery. That price includes 7-passenger seating, but the test vehicle held six thanks to second-row captain’s chairs from the extra-cost Sport Design Package. (Captain’s chairs were standard on the 2017 Luxury we tested, but were moved to the options list for 2018.) With the additions of the Driver Support and Sport Design packages and a rear-seat video entertainment system, the final price came to $70,840.
Other standard equipment of note includes semi-aniline leather upholstery with heated and ventilated front-row seats and heated second-row seats, memory driver’s seat, heated wood- and leather-rimmed steering wheel, 3-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and starting, power-retractable third-row seats, a cargo-area cover, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlamps and fog lamps, power moonroof, illuminated running boards and front sill plates, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and headlamp washers. Infotainment and safety tech features include audio and navigation systems displayed on an 8-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, Lexus Enform Service Connect and Safety Connect telematics, Intuitive Parking Assist, blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert. Additional electronic driver-assistance systems and an upgrade to a Mark Levinson audio system are contained in the Driver Support Package.
Front- and middle-row passengers enjoy good leg- and headroom. The third-row seats can hold adults who have drawn the short straw. Cushions are low, prompting knees-up seating, and legroom is limited. Even average-height adults will find their heads fairly close to the roof. Plus, reaching the back row isn’t all that easy, even with middle-row seats tracked forward to clear a little bit of a path. Step-in from the outside is high, so the running boards are helpful. Generous glass area provides fairly unobstructed vision, including to the rear corners.
Save for the third row, where padding is thin, seats are long-drive comfortable with good support. Soft-touch surfaces are in evidence in the usual places on dash and doors—and on the sides of the console for good measure. Wood accents dress up the instrument panel, doors, and console. Considering the age of its platform, the GX is one Lexus without the Remote Touch central controller for audio, navigation, and apps that you’ve probably seen us criticize in recent years. These functions are easily handled on the touchscreen or through voice commands. Some climate-system settings are carried out on the screen, but temperature selections require repetitive pushes of separate physical buttons.
Personal-item storage needs are met by a good-sized glove box and a deep console box that features a handy sorting tray for small items that passengers might like to keep closer at hand. The latter’s padded cover doubles as an armrest that adjusts fore and aft. Dual cup holders and a forward cubby with a power port and USB input are secreted in the console under wood-trimmed doors. Second-row passengers have access to pouches on the backs of the front seats. The captain’s chairs incorporate cup holders that pop up from their inboard sides. All four doors have storage pockets with bottle holders.
The tailgate is hinged on the right side instead of at the top like most SUV rear hatches. Considering the full extension of the open door, this may limit its use in some spaces. There’s almost no cargo space behind the 50/50-split third-row seats. When folded, though, they form a flat load floor with good cargo area.
For ease of access, handling, and fuel economy, one of the newer crossover utes will serve many people’s needs. However, the GX 460 delivers certain extra capabilities that some need in an SUV. For them, the truck stops here.
2019 Lexus GX 460
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