2013 Lexus GX 460 Rocky Mountain Review
By Dan Poler
Rocky Mountain Bureau
The Auto Channel
The GX 460 isn’t a high-volume vehicle for Lexus. Slotting into the lineup between Lexus’ “true” crossover RX and the top-end, top-sized LX, the GX 460 was last refreshed in 2010 and moved just over 11,000 examples in the US market in 2012, compared to the RX’s more than 95,000. It’s a shame, really – the GX has so much to offer, and is particularly well suited to the Mountain West climate.
There’s a lot that makes the Lexus GX 460 not just another suburban parking lot cruiser. Look down below at the specs, particularly the suspension. Solid live axle in the back. Full-size spare tire. A real four-wheel drive system with low-range gearing and a proper locking center differential. A respectable 8.1-inches of ground clearance. 6,500 lb towing capacity. That’s right – based on the Toyota 4Runner, the Lexus GX 460 is an old-school body-on-frame SUV with proper off-road capabilities. We do, however, have a sneaking suspicion that many may rarely take advantage of this substantial off road functionality.
Our tester came equipped with the GX 460’s Premium package, upgrading the already well-equipped vehicle with some unique features adaptive variable suspension firmness, adjustable rear suspension height control, auto-dimming side view mirrors, adaptive xenon headlights, even nicer leather upholstery, a heated wood-trimmed steering wheel, heated second-row seats and rear air-conditioning. This is in addition to an already substantially well-equipped vehicle, coming standard with features including 18-inch wheels, heated side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, running boards, a sunroof, eight-way power-adjustable heated/ventilated front seats with memory for the driver, power-folding third-row seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a back-up camera.
On the outside, the height of the GX 460 makes it feel imposing and substantial – no surprise, given its more than six feet of height. In the back, we find a unique side-swinging tailgate. It’s hard to decide if this is a convenience or not – in the plus column, it’s easy to open and a simple twist of the strut at its lower edge will lock it in the open position; additionally the glass opens separately (and normally – that is to say, vertically) for quick, easy loading. The downside however, is a big one – it only opens left-to-right, or curb side, which means that loading while parallel parked can be a hassle.
Inside the cabin, we find typical Lexus comfort and luxury. Materials are top-notch, seats are comfortable, and everything shows that extra level of refinement. Controls are complex, as has become fairly standard for Lexus of late, but with one distinct difference from the rest of the 2013 Lexus lineup – no Remote Touch. That’s right – if you’ve found yourself frustrated by the mouselike system in recent Lexus vehicles, the GX 460 still utilizes a straightforward touchscreen interface, although the look and feel – and complexity – of the controls and menus is very similar to that of the Remote Touch-driven systems.
Our vehicle was further equipped with the very well-balanced Mark Levinson premium surround sound system, which sounds great – one of the best best-sounding vehicle systems available on the market today – but is somewhat challenging to control, with simple operations like changing presets take several presses on the touch screen.
Driving the GX 460 is a treat. The ride is jouncy and bouncy, as expected from a body-on-frame vehicle with a solid live axle in the back, but also nicely muted, as expected from… Lexus. It’s quite a pleasant feel. The big 4.6-liter V8 engine is mated to a six-speed automatic and is responsive, with abundant power available off the line and generally throughout the vehicle’s range of speed.
Included in the various packages offered with our Lexus GX 460 are a number of innovative safety and convenience features, including Lexus’ Pre-Collision System with Driver Attention Monitor. This nifty offering monitors for an obstruction ahead while keeping attuned to whether the driver is facing forward or not – if the driver is distracted and something is detected, a series of warning beeps will sound and the system will even tap the brakes to ensure the driver’s attention is returned. In a worst case scenario, if a collision is imminent, it can prime brakes to reduce the effects of a crash.
Controls are further available to manage the ride via the adjustable air suspension, including ride height adjustment for the rear, descent assist control, and three levels of suspension firmness ranging from muted to bouncy.
There are not many body-on-frame luxury vehicles left on the market. Should you have need for a V8-powered vehicle that can carry 7 and pull 6,500 pounds at the same time, while offering true 4-wheel drive with low-range gearing and more than eight inches of ground clearance, the GX 460 absolutely deserves your close attention.
2013 Lexus GX 460 Base Price: $53,795.00 Price as Tested: $66,715.00 Engine Type: DOHC V8 w/ dual VVT-i Engine Size: 4.6 liter Horsepower: 301 @ 5,500 RPM Torque (lb-ft): 329 @ 3,500 RPM Transmission: 6-Speed sequential shift electronically controlled automatic Wheelbase / Length (in): 109.8 / 189.2 Curb Weight: 5,128 Pounds per HP: 17.03 Fuel Capacity (gal): 23 Fuel Requirement: Premium unleaded Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/T; P265/60HR18 Brakes: Ventilated disc Suspension, front/rear: Double wishbone / Solid live axle Ground clearance (in): 8.1 Drivetrain: Full-time 4WD with electronically lockable Torsen limited slip center differential EPA Fuel Economy - MPG city / highway / observed: 15 / 20 / 19 Towing capacity (lb): 6,500 Base Trim Price: $58,240.00
Options and Charges
Navigation / Mark Levinson Audio Package: $3,930.00 (Mark Levinson premium surround-sound audio w/ DVD/CD changer, 17-speaker 7.1 channel architecture, DVD audio & video; hard disk drive navigation system, Lexus Enform w/ destination assist & eDestination, Lexus Inside Voice Command, SiriusXM NavTraffic, NavWeather, Sports, and Stock)
Intuitive Parking Assist: $500.00
Wide-view front and side monitor/pre-collision system with driver attention monitor, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, intelligent high-beam headlamps, crawl control: $3,170.00
Price as tested: $66,715.00