As a sign of the times, Lexus is discounting the numeric portion of its mid-size sport ute's name by ten counts, though not at the expense of capability, price, or prestige. To the contrary, the new second-generation GX 460 is slightly quicker and all the more laden with luxury touches. The surname change is attributable to the new V-8's displacement change from 4.7 to 4.6 liters.
While the GX 460 is not part of the headlong market shift to crossovers, it does achieve a couple more miles per gallon in EPA highway and combined ratings. This is the last body-on-frame, live-rear-axle classic SUV in the luxury class, largely because this Lexus shares core components with the lowly Toyota 4Runner, a longstanding member of the ground-pounding (off-road) fraternity.
According to Lexus, the 2010 GX is a clean-sheet design embodying a new body, frame, and powertrain. Unfortunately, customers are leaving this segment in droves. Lexus has its fingers crossed that 56,000 youthful, well-heeled customers will remain behind and that it will be able to snare a quarter of them to sell 14,000 GXs this year. That seems like a stretch to us.
Six years ago, when Automobile blessed the GX 470 with its All-Star award, fuel was cheap, life was great, and a luxurious three-row family hauler was a gratifying ego stroke. Then competitors flooded in, the world economy imploded, and fickle consumers took refuge in smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient conveyances.
L Finesse Design
While the concept of L finesse is largely lost on western eyes, Lexus offers a machined and polished steel bar as the new GX's thematic model. The GX's exterior is slightly more chunky appearing, especially in the more prominent rear haunches. Basic proportions are longer, lower, and wider though the 109.8-inch wheelbase is unchanged and dimensional alterations are modest. One curiosity is that exterior dimensions now align perfectly with Toyota's mainstream crossover, the Highlander.
Consistent with the solid steel bar theme, curb weight is up a hefty 400 pounds over the previous model thanks to the addition of more sound deadening and added electronic entertainment gear.
Exterior highlights include meatier grille bars, a more elegant front to side surface blend, and a more dazzling headlamp cluster. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard on both base and premium editions. The upscale model has extra side chrome and ding protectors attached to the lower door areas. All rear lamps are LED designs, the wiper is tucked out of sight beneath the roof spoiler, and the rear glass can now be opened without unlatching the surrounding hatch to deposit small items in the cargo hold.