Lexus has redesigned the GX 460 for 2014 and as summer approaches, this new luxury utility vehicle (LUV) could suit the family road trip. For comfort and versatility, nothing beats the minivan, but for travelers who prefer a more posh ride, an LUV may be more apt.
I recently test-drove the all-new Lexus GX 460 around Austin. For starters, Lexus gives the GX a definite advantage—the base model is $4,710 dollars less than last year’s. It also comes with important features like the distinctive spindle grille, a rear back-up camera—an essential for the rear visibility challenged sport utility vehicle segment—plus a tilt/slide moonroof, and roof rails.
Adding the Premium Package will not only get you to last year’s price, it’ll get you the following features: a navigation system with backup monitor, perforated leather trimmed interior, heated and ventilated (cooled) front seats, heated outboard rear seats, Intuitive Parking Assist, and three-zone climate control.
For convenience the second row seats are split 40/20/40 or 60/40 to allow access to the back seats, which are also split 50/50 to fold flat. Maximum cargo volume is 64.7 cu. ft. The rear tailgate, however, does not lift up, but rather opens to the right. The key fob includes a power release button that controls the rear window, not the tailgate, so that it pops up for reaching in or loading from the rear.
Road trips also call for onboard entertainment features. The GX 460 comes with an AM/FM/in-dash single CD with Automatic Sound Levelizer and MP3/WMA capability, Bluetooth hands free phone and phonebook download capabilities and music streaming, Dual USB ports with iPod connectivity, an eight-inch touch screen, HD Radio Real-Time Traffic and Weather, and an Integrated SiriusXM Satellite Radio receiver (complimentary 90-day trial subscription included).
For watching movies on the road, however, the Rear Seat Entertainment System is optional, available on the Luxury trim level, and the Lexus navigation and Enform telematics system were a bit tedious.
Powered by one engine, the 4.8-liter V8 with 301 horsepower and 329 lb.–ft. of torque, it has a towing capacity of 6,500-lbs. It’s also equipped with trailer sway control for added safety and stability.
Complete with the six-speed automatic transmission, the powertrain achieves a modest EPA estimated fuel economy of 15 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. My average mpg came to 17.2 at the end of the weeklong test drive.
An advanced standard Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System helps the GX 460 attain the smooth ride for which Lexus is famous. It’s enhanced by the Adaptive Variable Suspension that allows the driver to tailor ride and handling balance by selecting from among Normal, Sport or Comfort modes.
The standard full-time four-wheel drive with an electronically controlled transfer case and a TORSEN torque-sensing limited slip center differential gives owners added on-road security and off-road capability.
Standard safety features include traction control, vehicle stability control, anti-lock brakes, and ten standard airbags including knee protection in the front seat and side curtain protection for all three rows.
Smooth, quiet, luxurious and with seating for seven, the GX will take families to vacation destinations in style.
Available in two trim levels, Base and Luxury, pricing for the GX 460 starts at $49,995 with destination charges. The as-tested price came to $55,815.