2023 Lexus GX Review

2023 Lexus GX - Ready to get dirty in a classy way.


The Lexus GX is a full-size luxury SUV that offers seating for up to seven passengers. It first came to market for the 2003 model year and is currently in its second generation which debuted for the 2010 model year making it one of the longest running generations currently on the market.  The GX comes standard with four-wheel drive and is a body-on-frame SUV giving it significant capabilities off-road. It's offered in three trims (base, premium, and luxury) and all come standard with a 301-horsepower 4.6L V8. Prices start at $58,525 and climb to $69,180 for the luxury model.

For the 2023 model year, GX 460 returns with a few key changes. The exterior color palette receives a few updates, as Eminent White Pearl replaces Starfire Pearl and Claret Mica is removed for 2023 models. The Luxury grade also gets an addition of standard Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio. The Black Line Special Edition that was new for 2022 also returns with additional features and premium touches and is limited to only 3,000 units. The Lexus GX 460 competes against other luxury SUVs such as the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Lincoln Aviator, Infiniti QX80, Mercedes-Benz GLE, and Volvo XC90. I spent a week in the GX460 Black Line Special Edition and here's what stood out...

Exterior Style (+)
Yes, it's old... But I still think the GX looks relevant. It's a high-riding tall SUV with rugged edges and Lexus refinement.  Up front is the signature Lexus spindle grille flanked by triple beam LED headlights. The Black Line Special Edition gives it an extra bit of panache, especially in the exclusive Nori Green Pearl paint color. Darker finishes are found on the skid plate, fog lamp and grille, and around back are clear tail lamps with black inserts. 18-inch glossy black wheels are further complemented by a painted black spoiler and shark fin.

Powertrain (+/-)
All models come with a thirsty 4.6L V8 that delivers 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque. Four-wheel drive is standard and it mates to a six-speed automatic transmission. This is the most truck-like Lexus available providing a rougher ride than one might expect. As someone who owns a Toyota 4Runner, I really enjoyed it's trucklike ride, but that may not be the case for everyone considering a Lexus. The V8 offers good power and aids in its overall capability. It is however, a hefty SUV weighing in at over 5,100 pounds that utilizes significant power to get moving.   It shifts smoothly between gears and acceleration is acceptable. It gets from 0-60 in 7.8 seconds. Around town the GX takes a bit more effort to round corners and lacks the nimbleness found in car-based crossovers. There's noticeable body lean making you realize how tall and narrow it actually is. There also isn't much steering feedback as it isn't a nimble vehicle. It's less refined on the highway than other Lexus models as you tend to feel more road imperfections. Exterior noise is kept to a minimum.

Standard Capability (+)
Where it lacks in refined road manners, the GX excels in its capabilities. The standard V8 garners a max towing capacity of 6,500 pounds. Towing is aided with Trailer Sway Control, a function of the Vehicle Stability Control that enhances straight-line tracking. With four wheel drive standard and a Torsen torque-sensing limited slip center differential, it's highly capable of hitting the trails. The four-wheel drive system offers a low range for slow speed off-road driving, and the center differential can be electronically locked. The two-speed transfer case with low range is supported by a wide array of chassis control technology. With Downhill Assist Control, Hill-start Assist Control, Active Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and available Crawl Control, the GX can roam unpaved roads, trails and steep inclines with confidence. The crawl control system works well to maintain a slow and steady speed over more demanding terrains. It allows the driver to focus on steering while the GX manages the seed and traction.  It comes with 8.1 inches of ground clearance, a 21-degree approach angle, 23-degree departure angle, and a 21-degree breakover angle. This Lexus can go where most other luxury SUVs can't.

Bonus Capability (+)
Also available on Luxury models is an off-road package that adds a multi-terrain monitor, transmission cooler, fuel tank protector, crawl control, and Multi-Terrain Select. Multi-Terrain Select allows you to choose from multiple surfaces such as loose rocks, mud and sand, moguls and more to optimize drivability. This advanced system regulates wheelspin by automatically adjusting the engine throttle and brakes, helping improve traction. With the Multi-Terrain Monitor and Panoramic View Monitors, front passengers can view front, rear, side and under (displaying terrain and tire location underneath your vehicle) camera views on the navigation screen, providing a full picture of your surroundings.

Fuel Economy (-)
When it arrived with a full 23-gallon tank it offered a range of around 350 miles. EPA estimates are 15//19/16 MPG city/highway/combined. It runs on premium 91 octane fuel and after a week of driving I averaged 16.5 MPG. The Lexus GX gets below average fuel economy compared to the luxury midsize class.

Interior (+/-)

Hopping inside the GX is a bit like stepping into a time capsule. Despite being 13 years old and having a more dated look, it's a well-built interior with quality materials that include wood trim and leather. Over the years, it's been updated with a bigger 10.3" touchscreen that sits on top of the dash is a very conventional layout. It is very functional with dials, buttons, and a traditional gear selector in the center console. Behind the steering wheel is a traditional gauge cluster with a small digital information box in the middle.

There is ample passenger room in the first two rows with plenty of head, leg, and shoulder room. The seats are supportive and comfortable. It can seat up to seven people with the standard second-row bench seat and six people with the optional second-row captain's chairs. The first two rows have comfortable adult-friendly seating, but the third row is short on space and best left for kids. Access to the third row is complicated and requires some effort to get through to the small space. The third-row seats fold flat and tuck under the second row which are well-hidden... so much so that I didn't realize it had a third row initially.

Standard features include leather upholstery, 10-way power adjustable seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, power reclining and folding third-row seats, and a heated, wood-trimmed/leather wrapped steering wheel.

Technology (-)
While it has been updated to provide the basic needs for 2023 including Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa... the system is not as modern as Lexus' latest system found in the new NX and RX. The 10.3" touchscreen was added in 2022 and is a great alternative to the Lexus trackpad that still sits in the center console.  Wireless connectivity is not available other than through Bluetooth. A standard Mark Levinson sound system is clear and crisp. As a bonus, you can still play your old CDs in this one if you're looking for a bit of nostalgia. Overall, despite its aging tech and plethora of buttons, everything does work well and is intuitive.

Cargo (+/-)
The GX has average cargo space for its class with 11.6 cubic feet behind the third row, 46.7 cubic feet behind the second row, and 64.7 cubic feet with both rows folded flat. The rear lift gate opens like a car door hinged on the passenger side, which is nice for shorter individuals, but could be a challenge when street parking. Additionally, the back glass in the liftgate does lift open separate from the door. The load floor is higher than other vehicles in the segment.

Safety (+)
All GX models are equipped with the Lexus Safety System+ that includes a list of features such as pre-collisions system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, intelligent high beams, high-speed dynamic radar cruise control, and intuitive parking assist. Other available features include a surround-view parking camera system, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Final Statement

We enjoyed having the GX 460 for a week as it felt like a nicer, more modern version of our 2007 Toyota 4Runner... which it is. However, it did lack some of the more modern technology and interior layouts that we get in our 2021 Kia Telluride. The Lexus GX kind of plays in its own segment as it is highly capable off-road which is not something you'll find in competing Acuras, Infinitis, or Volvos. I believe this vehicle has a specific audience of buyers who want the Lexus quality, comfort, and refinement, but also want to have some fun and get their SUV dirty. Prices are reasonable for the class and its standard specs.

First Impression Summary:

Test Vehicle:
2023 Lexus GX460 Black Line Special Edition
Exterior Color: Nori Green Pearl
Interior Color: Boulder Gray Nu Luxe Leather
Options: Black Line Special Edition ($4,735), Blackline Cross Bars ($405), F-Sport 18-inch alloys ($1,550)
MSRP as tested: $64,550(With Delivery/Destination)

Jim OBrill

Jim is Director of Marketing for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and Chicago Auto Show and a co-host of Drive Chicago Radio on WLS 890 AM Chicago. His passion for cars started young and he’s often referred to as the ‘car-guy’ among family and friends. As a former auto detailer, he has an eye for identifying solid used cars and tags along on many car buying adventures. Early in his career he worked at several car dealerships in various areas of the business. As a co-host on Drive Chicago and member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, Jim has had opportunities to attend track school and drive vehicles on multiple circuits such as Road America and Gingerman Raceway. With a background in photography, taking pictures of vehicles has always been a hobby.

Jim also enjoys the trails and taking trucks like his 4Runner off road. He has a special appreciation for older cars and can often be found spending free time at cruise nights or home washing one his four vehicles. Jim resides in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three kids. Follow Jim on Instagram at @jpcars22 for new vehicle content or @forgotten_survivors.312 for shots of older cars still on the streets of Chicagoland.