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#15

in Luxury Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $49,485 - $61,115
Invoice: $45,527 - $56,225
MPG: 15 City / 20 Hwy
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Lexus GX Performance

According to test drivers, the 2015 Lexus GX’s V8 engine delivers decent power for city driving, but lacks the power for highway passing maneuvers. Reviewers like the GX’s adjustable suspension, but they agree that most rivals have sharper handling through turns. Auto writers say the Lexus GX 460 has better off-road capabilities than most SUVs in the class. 

  • "Despite its Lexus badging and posh interior, the GX 460's driving manners quickly give away the fact that this 3-row luxury SUV was built to conquer far more than freeways. The GX 460's fully boxed frame withstands the abuses of extreme off-road excursions, but it's not ideal on the asphalt where most drivers will use it most of the time. Overall ride quality is certainly acceptable, but it's not the pillow-soft refinement found in the 5-passenger Lexus RX." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Though their numbers have rapidly diminished due to the popularity of the crossover, there still exist a few traditional, truck-like SUV models that can claw their way through treacherous trails and over steep hills - if that's the capability that you need, or would just feel safer knowing that you have, then you should give the GX 460 a close look." -- Left Lane News
  • "Blessed with the proven on- and off-road DNA of its Toyota 4Runner and Land Cruiser cousins, the GX 460 is as adept at providing a smooth, quiet highway ride as it is nimbly working its way through a rugged, rock-strewn trail." -- Edmunds (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 GX 460 comes with a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 301 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The EPA estimates that the Lexus GX 460 earns 15/20 mpg city/highway, which is on the low end for the class.

Most automotive journalists agree that the GX 460’s V8 engine has just enough power for most situations. However, most agree the GX 460 struggles to get up to highway speeds. While some reviewers think the six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, others report that it’s slow to downshift.

  • "The GX 460's 4.6-liter V8 produces sufficient power for everyday driving, but can feel a little strained when called on to move the vehicle's bulk in situations like highway passing. The transmission is smooth, though it can occasionally be hesitant to downshift." -- Edmunds
  • "On the other hand, the GX 460's 301-horsepower V8, smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission and 2-speed transfer case can tackle rutted terrain and tow up to 6,500 pounds." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Sure, you'd be wrong to expect stellar fuel economy from a big, rugged SUV, but the one area that really disappointed me about the GX 460 was the 460 part. Toyota's 4.6-liter V8 produces just 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque, and most of the time feels like it's struggling to motivate the 5,340-pounds SUV." -- Autoblog (2014)
  • "Acceleration from the mandatory V8 is adequate, though it's unusual to see a V8 these days with such a low horsepower rating, and you'll feel the lack of juice at higher speeds." -- AutoTrader (2014)

Handling and Braking

According to reviewers, the 2015 Lexus GX feels relatively composed around corners. They note that its available adjustable suspension aids in reducing body roll. However, critics agree that most rivals offer more nimble handling and feel more stable when cornering. A few also report that its steering and brakes aren’t very responsive.

  • "Handling around turns is secure, and the available adaptive suspension (which can be set in one of three modes from softer to firmer) helps out in this regard. That said, you'll likely find that many luxury crossovers feel more confident and sportier around turns. In the city, the GX 460 also feels subtly more trucklike than most of these crossovers, as its steering and brakes feel a bit slow to respond -- a consequence of Lexus' attempt to tune them for both on- and off-road use." -- Edmunds
  • "To help counteract the potential cornering lean inherent in a tall SUV, the Lexus GX features a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that decreases body lean with its massive anti-roll bars or, when needed, automatically relaxes sway control for increased wheel articulation and greater traction off road." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "It can't match the handling sophistication of crossovers, but it's more wieldy than its off-roading prowess would suggest due to an available adaptive suspension that with computer-controlled dampers that automatically adjust to road conditions for improved responsiveness and ride comfort. Also included are adaptive stabilizer bars that firm up to reduce body roll during daily driving and can disconnect for better wheel articulation in the rough stuff." -- Left Lane News
  • "That feeling doesn't inspire confidence in corners, where the GX could hardly be more out of its element." -- AutoTrader (2014)

Off-Roading

The 2015 GX 460 comes standard with full-time four-wheel drive with an electronic locking center differential, a two-speed transfer case and approach and departure angles that test drivers say make it more capable for off-roading than many competitors. There’s also an optional Crawl Control feature which allows you to select from three preset speeds and the GX will automatically adjust throttle and braking inputs when descending a steep, uneven hill. Reviewers agree that the GX 460 has excellent off-road capabilities for the class.

  • "Leave the pavement behind, though, and the Lexus GX 460's full-time four-wheel drive and available Crawl Control feature could very well make you feel invincible. Select one of Crawl Control's three speed presets, and the computer takes over both the accelerator and brake pedal, leaving you to concentrate on steering with a minimum of fuss." -- Edmunds
  • "While rivals such as the BMW X5, Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60 and Audi Q7 are tailored for sedan-like on-road performance, the V8-powered Lexus GX has truck-like construction for excellent off-road performance." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "This SUV packs the right gear for heading off the beaten path, including a two-speed transfer case for its four-wheel-drive system and a crawl control system that lets the driver set a speed from 1 to 3.7 mph that the vehicle will automatically maintain - even when traveling through ruts, clambering over rocks or traversing sandy inclines." -- Left Lane News
  • "Even with the big wheels, plastic fascias and integrated running boards, the GX still has decent ground clearance, as well as good approach and departure angles, not to mention an adjustable air suspension. This isn't to say the GX can tackle the Rubicon Trail or anything, but it is surely a more competent off-road vehicle than most other midsize and fullsize utility vehicles currently out there." -- Autoblog (2014)
Review Last Updated: 1/26/15

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