Pros-Upscale. Off-road champ. Roomy. Fast. Secure handling. Occasional choppy ride. Four-wheel drive. Safety items.
Cons-- General truck-like feel. High step-up. Hard-to-reach third row. Little cargo room with upright third row. Side-opening hatch.
Bottom Line - Serious off-road truck not for casual SUV buyer.
The 2020 Lexus GX 460
is for those who want a good dose of luxury, but like tackling really rough off-road terrain and towing heavy loads.
The GX 460 sold fairly well last year, although it was last designed about a decade ago and hasn't been changed much. Among changes for 2020 are a revised spindle grille, triple beam LED headlights and available dark gray metallic wheels.The interior has new steering-wheel detailing, a color multi-information display, available wood with aluminum trim and 2 rear USBs.
The standard Lexus safety system has a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, high-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane-departure alert, blind spot monitor, cross-traffic alert, trailer-sway control and 19 air bags.
There are Luxury Grade options, an off-road package with multi-terrain select, transmission cooler, crawl control and multi-terrain select.
In the Lexus tradition, my test GX 460's options included the Premium Package, which had heated/ventilated front seats, heated second-row tilt/slide captain's chairs, wood-and-leather trim and three-zone automatic climate controls. There's also Apple CarPlay and also the first Lexus with Android Auto.
Plenty of standard stuff in the high-grade interior include a backup camera, a multimedia system with a dated touchscreen that's slow to respond, power tilt/slide steering column, pushbutton start, dual-zone automatic climate control, power moonroof and a premium sound system.
There's good room in the first and second seat rows, but the uncomfortable third-row seats are hard to reach and best suited to children. There's little cargo room with the third-row seats put upright, but at least they fold flat into the cargo floor.
Occupants sit high in the quiet, refined cabin, which has a fair number of storage areas.
Illuminated running boards help with a high climb-in but are too narrow for large shoes.
The four-door GX 460's body on frame construction may be considered dated by some SUV buyers, but it enables this Lexus to tackle terrain that would leave many popular SUVs in the dirt. The construction also provides a solid base for an all-terrain suspension and helps enable a towing capacity of 6,500 pounds. The GX 460's four-wheel drive system never disengages.
Drawbacks are a general truck-like feel, the high step-up and large swing-out hatch door that calls for extra room to open.
However, this Lexus has a quiet, premium interior, powerful 301-horsepower V-8 with 329 pound/feet of torque and a smooth 6-speed automatic transmission. This combo enables the GX GX460 to do 0-60 m.p.h. in 7.8 seconds, although it weighs 5,130 pounds.
However, estimated fuel economy is just 15 miles per gallon in the city and 19 on highways, and 91-octane fuel is called for.
The steering is firm but accurate. Gauges can be rather hard to read in bright sunlight, but most controls are easy to use. Handling is secure for such a big, high, heavy vehicle on sweeping curves taken at above-normal speeds. Maneuverability of the 192.1-inch long GX 460 also does well in tight quarters. The brakes bite confidently.
I didn't have a chance to take my test GX 460 off road, but its reputation precedes it. It cruises serenely on regular decently paved roads, but broken pavement causes occupants to be jerked around a bit.
The upscale go-anywhere Lexus GX 460 is designed to mean business, which doubtlessly accounts for its continued popularity.