The current luxury vehicle trend definitely skews toward smaller, more efficient cars and crossovers, but the 2017 Lexus GX 460 shows that an old-school, body-on-frame SUV still has its place in the luxury segment. Introduced in 2002, the GX bridges that gap between the high-volume RX and the high-dollar Land Cruiser-based LX. There’s no shortage of three-row luxury SUVs out there right now, but the 4Runner-based GX is in a rugged, off-roading niche with the Land Rover Discovery and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, perhaps standing as its only true head-to-head rivals. The 2017 Lexus GX 460 might not be as cutting-edge as the stunning LC coupe, but it does check all the right boxes for a family-friendly luxury SUV.
2017 Lexus GX 460 Exterior
Even though the basic design of the 2017 Lexus GX 460 dates back to this model’s original 2002 introduction, the updated design in 2013 keeps this big SUV up to date with the latest Lexus design language. While the massive spindle grille is polarizing on other Lexus models, it fits the overall shape of the GX very well, and looks even better flanked by the big headlights with checkmark-shaped LED daytime running lights. The rear of this SUV is perhaps the oddest aspect, though. Style-wise, it looks great with the clear-lensed LED taillights, but the side-hinged tailgate is heavy and awkward to use, and it doesn’t offer any sort of power operation; it does have a glass that opens… so there’s that.
As proof that off-roading is in the GX’s DNA, this SUV offers 8.1 inches of ground clearance with decent approach and departure angles of 21 degrees and 23 degrees, respectively. Some luxury buyers might be turned off by the lack of big wheel options, but the GX’s 18-inch wheels allow for taller-sidewall tires that are less susceptible to damage over rugged terrain.
2017 Lexus GX 460 Interior
The 2017 Lexus GX 460 might be built as a rugged SUV, but its interior is everything that we’ve come to expect from Lexus. Equipped with the $4,445 Premium Package, this tester was decked out perforated leather seats, 10-way power-adjustable heated and cooled front seats, heated outboard second-row seats, navigation, three-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers mahogany wood trim. For an extra $310, you also get a matching leather-wrapped steering wheel with additional mahogany wood trim.
In terms of its overall design, the GX’s interior looks much older than newer Lexus interiors, but this interior has plenty of functionality with easy-to-use controls. New for 2017, the GX now offers second-row captain’s chairs, which sadly were not equipped on this tester. On paper, the GX is a mid-size SUV, but it definitely feels bigger than that thanks to a spacious interior and tall seating position. Even the third-row seat, which can be a bit tight for taller passengers, has decent comfort thanks to ample cushioning (not a given in some third rows these days) and the HVAC vents in the headliner for rear occupants. Sitting in the third row might not be your first choice, but at least you get some climate-controlled air.
2017 Lexus GX 460 Powertrain
While the 2017 Lexus GX 460 offers plenty of options for added interior luxury, there is just one powertrain for this rugged SUV. The “460” in GX 460 stands for the 4.6-liter V-8 rated at 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired to a six-speed automatic with full-time four-wheel drive. Add in the fact that the mid-size GX’s curb weight of 5,130 is more than a full-size Ford F-150, and you begin to see why this SUV shows its age with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 15 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway**.
The good news, though, is that you don’t buy a GX for its fuel economy—Lexus has the RX for that. You buy it for its ability to tackle trails, tow 6,500 pounds and pull up to the valet like a boss. It’s hard to say how many GX buyers willingly take these SUVs off-roading, but at least they have the peace of mind to know that they can. Standard features for improved off-roading include Downhill Assist Control, Hill-start Assist Control and an electronic locking, limited-slip center differential, and Toyota’s off-road-minded Crawl Control is available as an option. Despite being ready for trails, the 2017 Lexus GX 460 rides smooth on the road, and its steering and brake setup are good enough that this SUV doesn’t drive like a truck.
2017 Lexus GX 460 Safety
The 2017 Lexus GX 460 has not been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but it packs in plenty of safety features. All models come standard with 10 airbags and trailer sway control, while this tester added the optional ($800) Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
2017 Lexus GX 460 Overall
Lexus will soon launch a three-row version of its money-making RX crossover, but don’t expect this to take away any sales from the 2017 Lexus GX 460. If you want a soft-riding, car-based luxury vehicle that can seat seven or more, there are plenty of options out there and Lexus is just looking to grab a bigger piece of the luxury pie. If you want a high-riding luxury SUV that can take you anywhere you need to go regardless of the terrain, then the Lexus GX is right up your alley.
Priced starting at $51,855*, the 2017 Lexus GX 460 is positioned right in the heart of the luxury SUV segment between less-capable crossovers and larger SUVs. Without stepping up to the Luxury trim level, this GX had an as-tested price of $57,960 with plenty of goodies to back up that price.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation-affiliated Lexus dealership and test drive the 2017 Lexus GX 460 today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.