2008 Lexus GX Performance
This performance review was written when the 2008 Lexus GX was new.
Our analysis shows that the 2008 Lexus GX offers a smooth ride with capable off-roading abilities, assisted by its powerful V8 engine and full-time four-wheel drive. Car and Driver reports that the GX "handles well, tracks true, and at highway speeds all one hears is a soft ruffle of wind and some singing from the tire treads."
According to test drives, the 2008 Lexus GX rides crisply and capably. "The pleasant, enjoyable GX shines brightest when traveling off-road," Cars.com says.
Acceleration and Power
The GX 470's 4.7-liter V8 engine is the only engine option. It makes 263 horsepower and is assisted by variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and a five-speed automatic transmission. Although it's the only engine and transmission option available, it's the only one needed, reviewers say. Auto Mall USA says the engine "delivers world-class smoothness and quiet" and reports accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, "with a nice V8 intake roar to go with the rush." Meanwhile, Consumer Guide reports that the transmission "downshifts promptly for good passing punch."
With this power combination, the Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2008 Lexus GX at 14 miles per gallon in the city and 18 miles per gallon on the highway, using premium gasoline -- which U.S. News' Rick Newman describes as "below average on the EPA's air-pollution scale."
Handling and Braking
Consumer Guide expresses the consensus about the 2008 Lexus GX's engine-speed-sensing, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, calling it "nicely weighted, accurate." However, Consumer Guide also displays concern that steering "lacks road feel." Auto Mall USA disagrees: "Variable-ratio rack-and-pinion steering makes the steering quick and light in parking situations, but smoother and heavier on the highway, so the truck never feels over-assisted or darty."
The Lexus GX has a fully independent double-wishbone suspension in the front, with coil springs and a gas-pressurized shock absorber stabilizer bar. In the rear, the GX has a four-link with rigid axle, and air-spring-type shock absorbers and stabilizer bar. Forbes explains that the GX's superior handling allows for added "off-road clearance and easier ingress and egress." The GX also has an adaptive variable suspension and rear adjustable height control air suspension, and an optional sports package includes a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System designed to improve both cruise speeds and off-road performance. Automotive.com's reviewer likes this option for providing "crisp handling response, without an increase in spring rate over bumpy roads."
The 2008 Lexus GX's four-wheel, power-assisted four-sensor anti-lock disc brakes (13.3 inches in front and 12.3 inches in the rear) are "superb" to Automotive.com, among others, and "have a nice feel and are easy to modulate for smooth stops in every day driving." This is assisted by the GX 470's brake assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution systems.
A popular opinion among auto writers is that the 2008 Lexus GX's all-wheel-drive system is outstanding, including A-TRAC electronic traction control and vehicle stability control. Car and Driver explains that the GX's "approach to light-duty, full-time four-wheel drive is an elegant way of making sure each wheel has go power while avoiding the binding and steering interferences that come with locking differentials," and other reviews say the same. The calls the four-wheel drive a top selling point for the GX; "it can go just about anywhere at just about any time," the reviewer praises. The GX also has electronic grade control, featuring downhill assist control and hill-start assist control. As Cars.com describes it, "Downhill Assist Control is amazing. Unless you touch the gas or brake pedal, Downhill Assist Control keeps the vehicle moving very slowly."
The system shines particularly during inclement weather. The Auto Channel's reviewer drove the GX to a snowy mountain locale. "As I head up the hill the weather closes in suddenly and the snow starts to fall. By the time I reach the journey's peak altitude, there's a good covering of snow on the ground and some fairly slippy conditions. But, the GX470 is absolutely happy and at home and I don't for a moment have any trouble. My progress continues as if the sun is still shining."
An optional towing package with ball mount, trailer ball and seven- to four-pin adapter is available with the 2008 Lexus GX, helping the car earn praise for its towing capacity -- reported as up to 6,500 pounds by the manufacturer. The GX's towing ability causes The Auto Channel to call it "unquestionably and luxuriously utilitarian."