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#3

in 2010 Luxury Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $32,807 - $35,941
Original MSRP: $51,970 - $56,765
MPG: 15 City / 20 Hwy
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2010 Lexus GX Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The redesigned Lexus GX offers a smooth ride, a more powerful and fuel-efficient V8 engine and capable off-roading abilities. However, a few reviewers still complain that its body-on-frame construction leads to a less-than-serene experience.

  • "Unfortunately, the GX doesn't shine on-road. The no-feel steering and mushy brake pedal kill cancel any chance of this ride appealing to driving enthusiasts. The vehicle's nose dips during even modest brake applications and there's noticeable squat during acceleration." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Sounds complicated for sure, but the GX's ride quality on pavement and off-road is exceptional. Anyone who says a body-on-frame vehicle can't be forced to dance hasn't driven a GX.” -- Edmunds
  • "With all the stability control, ABS and other systems aboard, it's nearly impossible to get into trouble with the GX 460, but it's hard to find any fun either." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "During our mild off-roading, we found the vehicle to be confident in the dirt. On the highway, the GX's ride is comfortable, and it handles well in the turns. It doesn't have the same level of ride comfort as a crossover, (but it's closer than you might think), and you will feel some bumps here and there." -- Truck Trend

Acceleration and Power

The redesigned GX gets a new 4.6-liter V8 engine to replace the previous 4.7-liter version. It boasts 38 more horsepower (for a total of 301) and six more pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Despite the added power, the V8 can be sluggish due to the fact that the new GX has gained about 500 pounds with the redesign. On the plus side, the V8 is rated to tow up to 6,500 pounds with the available tow-hitch receiver.

According to the EPA, the new GX is rated for 14 miles per gallon in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. While that makes it about 13 percent more efficient than last year’s model, it’s still only about average for its class (though it’s better than the Land Rover LR4 and nearly as good as the Audi Q7). In fact, you won’t find better fuel economy in a luxury off-road vehicle. A plus is the Eco indicator light and graph, which let the driver know when the vehicle is being driven in the most fuel-efficient manner.

  • "Acceleration is adequate, but with 5300 pounds to lug around -- 500 or so more than before -- and a gearbox that's hesitant to downshift except under full throttle, the GX460 feels like it could use Toyota's larger 5.7-liter V-8." -- Car and Driver
  • "This powertrain has impeccable manners. It's quiet, smooth, and throttle responsive. Versus the V-6s common to the competition, Lexus has a definite advantage here." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "It's not until you pin the throttle down on a freeway on-ramp that the limitations of the V8's power become obvious. There isn't much noise and the power delivery is smooth, but the shove in your back quickly turns into a gentle nudge as your pace increases." -- Edmunds
  • "Despite the GX 460's weight, the V8 does an admirable job of keeping it moving. Lexus claims that 0-to-60 mph should take about 7.8 seconds with the quarter-mile wafting by in 16.6 seconds." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "The new powertrain is excellent; although base curb weight has gone up about 450 pounds because of the addition of several standard features. Acceleration is quick, and there is no trouble getting up to speed or climbing steep hills. Shifts are smooth, and there is no hunting on grades." -- Truck Trend

Handling and Braking

Test drivers offer mixed reviews on the GX's on-road handling. Its body-on-frame platform, shared with the 2010 Toyota 4Runner, means it doesn’t ride as smoothly as car-based crossover SUVs. Consider the Audi Q7 crossover for a smoother ride and a cheaper starting price.

Newly standard for 2010 is a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which automatically varies the suspension based on the terrain. The Premium model also comes with Electronically Modulated Rear Air Suspension, which ensures the rear of the vehicle remains at the selected height, regardless of occupants or cargo.

  • "We didn't get much time to sample dynamic behavior during our drive outside of San Diego, but the GX felt competent enough cruising down twisty back roads-considering the standard 18-inch wheels and high-profile tires-and the various suspension settings made a noticeable difference in ride quality." -- Car and Driver
  • “Around town, the light-effort steering and quick throttle response make the GX feel small, easy to drive and perfectly suited to the country club environment it will no doubt live in during most of its life. It doesn't have the impenetrable, military-grade feel of the Land Rover either." -- Edmunds
  • "The compromised nature of the suspension is most apparent under hard braking where the GX's nose tends to dive like a dolphin. It's nowhere near dangerous, but that dive indicates just how tough it is to get the balance between off-road excellence and on-road competence right." -- Popular Mechanics

Off-Roading

The Lexus GX shines off the beaten path. It comes standard with full-time four-wheel drive with a limited-slip center differential. Crawl Control, an optional feature, controls vehicle acceleration and braking at low speeds over difficult terrain. It is available with a variety of options packages, starting with $1,720 Pre-Collision System package which also comes with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

  • "The chassis package works remarkably well off road. Huge disruptions are taken in stride and the suspension never crashes noisily into the bump stops. The GX is also compact enough to slip through tight confines without littering trails with sacrificial parts." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "An available Crawl Control system can replace the latter and lets the vehicle creep over obstacles at driver-adjustable speeds below 3.7 mph. The system on our preproduction model, however, was anything but smooth, jerking noticeably as we crept back down the hillside, while the transfer case hesitated and grinded violently when we engaged low range." -- Car and Driver
  • "While stopped at the bottom of a steep hill, we pressed the Crawl Control's appropriate console-mounted buttons (including one that allows you to set your speed from 1 to 3.7 mph). Then its feet off the pedals as the GX 460 clambered up the hill and then down the other side -- all we had to do was steer." -- Edmunds
  • "But off-road, the GX 460 really works. The suspension is supple, and the ride is composed even when bounding over basketball-size ruts and football-size rocks. When the going gets tough, the GX 460 will crawl over obstacles with precision and dignity." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Another cool feature for off-roaders: the optional wide-view front and side monitor, which displays in the 8.0-inch touchscreen nav, uses cameras in the grille and under the passenger-side mirror to aid parking. However, you can set it to automatically stay on at speeds below six mph, especially useful if you're trying to get around rocks and debris while on the trail." -- Truck Trend