Full-size body-on-frame SUVs are a dying breed these days, but if you’re looking for a rugged vehicle that can take on any terrain, there’s still no better platform design. Surprisingly, the luxury segment continues to embrace body-on-frame SUVs, and Lexus has two such offerings with the full-size LX based on the go-anywhere Toyota Land Cruiser and the mid-size GX. Based on the Toyota Land Cruiser Prada (a global vehicle for Toyota known for its off-road prowess), the 2019 Lexus GX 460 combines old-school ruggedness with new-school luxury.
2019 Lexus GX 460 Exterior
The overall styling of the GX hasn’t really changed since Lexus introduced its mid-size SUV back in 2002, and the styling update from 2013 is starting to show its age compared to Lexus’ latest design language. The GX’s front end might be one of the largest versions that Lexus did of its signature spindle grille, and it looks really good on this big SUV. The checkmark-shaped LED daytime running lights also help to tie this modern front end design with current Lexus models, while the side-hinged tailgate is a throwback to old-school SUVs. The optional $1,950 Sport Design Package brings a little more style to this SUV with 18-inch gunmetal alloy wheels, unique satin accents on the grille and bumpers, a chrome exhaust tip and red taillights – standard GX models feature clear-lensed taillights. This proved to be a perfect complement to this tester’s beautiful dark blue hue called Nightfall Mica.
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.
2019 Lexus GX 460 Interior
Despite its age and rugged chassis design, the interior of the 2019 Lexus GX 460 is everything that we’ve come to expect from Lexus. That is thanks to this Luxury model loading the cabin up with high-end features such as the semi-aniline leather, wood and leather trim on the steering wheels, power reclining and folding third-row seat. In addition to the added style on the outside, the Sport Design Package also gets heated second row captain’s chairs giving this GX a six-passenger seating, while the $2,340 Driver Support Package brings a host of high-tech safety features (mentioned below) as well as a 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround sound system. this tester also had the $1,970 dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system.
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. In terms of its overall design, the GX’s interior looks much older than newer Lexus interiors (it is 10 years old after all), but this interior has plenty of functionality with easy-to-use controls and delivers all of the luxury SUV buyers could expect.
2019 Lexus GX 460 Powertrain
The 2019 Lexus GX 460 is only available with a single drivetrain option with the 4.6-liter V-8, six-speed automatic transmission and full-time four-wheel drive. This engine is rated at 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque, and while this might seem a little low on paper for the 5,200-pound (as tested) SUV, at no point does the GX feel underpowered. 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. Like any of its V-8-powerd luxury rivals, the GX suffers in regards to fuel economy with official EPA-rated estimates of 15 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway** – compared to the Cadillac Escalade and Infiniti QX80, the GX has better city mpgs but lower highway mileage.
The good news, though, is that you don’t buy a GX for its fuel economy; 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. All GX trim levels come with features aimed at improving off-road driving including Downhill Assist Control, Hill-start Assist Control and an electronic locking, limited-slip center differential, and Toyota’s off-road-minded Crawl Control feature was equipped on this GX 460 Luxury tester as part of the $2,340 Driver Support Package.
2019 Lexus GX 460 Safety
The 2019 Lexus GX 460 has not been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but it does come standard with 10 airbags, trailer sway control and Lexus Enform Safety Connect with Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assist and Roadside Assistance. The Luxury model adds Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), while the aforementioned Driver Support Package brings Radar Cruise Control, Pre-Collision System with Driver Attention Monitor, Lane Departure Alert and the Wide-view front and side monitor.
2019 Lexus GX 460 Overall
The current luxury vehicle trend definitely skews toward smaller, more efficient cars and crossovers, but the 2019 Lexus GX 460 shows that an old-school, body-on-frame SUV still has its place in the luxury segment. There is no shortage of three-row luxury SUVs out there right now, but if you’re in the market for a more capable three-row luxury vehicle, the mid-size 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.
Priced starting at $52,505*, the mid-sized 2019 Lexus GX 460 is positioned right in the heart of the luxury SUV segment between less-capable crossovers and larger SUVs. Stepping up to the range-topping GX 460 Luxury trim level bumps the starting price to $63,905, while the handful of luxury- and technology-minded options result in an as-tested price of $70,840 for this tester.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation-affiliated Lexus dealership and test drive the 2019 Lexus GX today!
* Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.
** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.