2006 GX 470 New Car Test Drive
The Lexus GX 470 is an authentic, mid-size SUV, with serious off-road capability based on traditional truck engineering: body-on-frame construction, a rugged four-wheel-drive system, and a live rear axle. But it's also a Lexus: roomy and quiet inside, with a luxurious cabin swathed in leather and bird's-eye maple. Its 4.7-liter overhead-cam V8 and smoothly responsive five-speed automatic transmission provide ample power and performance, whether towing, trail-bashing, or carving corners on a coastal highway. The switchgear is a study in ergonomic excellence, and all controls are right where you expect them to be.
Because it's a Lexus, rugged doesn't mean outdated. On the contrary, the GX 470's standard full-time four-wheel drive features electronic traction control (A-TRAC) and a locking Torsen® (torque-sensing) center differential, automatically dispatching torque to the tires with the best grip. Downhill Assist Control helps the GX 470 safely negotiate slippery inclines. Vehicle Stability Control helps steady the GX 470 on slippery turns.
Last year Lexus refined the GX 470 with a new front-passenger airbag system, improved graphics for the optional navigation system, and a new Sport package that combines dynamic body-roll control with a unique appearance inside and out. For 2006, digital Lexus Link communication becomes available, while minor interior updates enhance both function and appearance.
The 2006 Lexus GX 470 is offered in a single, fully equipped trim level ($46,535). It's packed with luxury features, including leather-trimmed upholstery, power seats, power mirrors, power windows, a wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated seats, rain-sensing wipers, automatic dual climate control, HomeLink®, a 115V AC power outlet in the cargo area, AM/FM/cassette/6-disc CD changer with 11 speakers, rear seat audio system with remote control and headphones, roof rack, a glass moonroof, and illuminated running boards.
Power is provided by Lexus's excellent 4.7-liter V8 and five-speed automatic transmission. And as we've come to expect from Lexus, plenty of advanced technology is standard is well: anti-lock brakes, traction control, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Torsen® limited-slip center differential, and Adaptive Variable Suspension with adjustable height control. The GX 470 rides on 265/65SR17 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels.
Options are few: third-row seat with rear air conditioning ($2,030); navigation system with Mark Levinson® stereo ($3,050); rear-seat entertainment system with two headphones ($1,560); tow hitch receiver ($50); rear spoiler ($551). Bluetooth® is also available allowing the driver to wirelessly link compatible cellular telephones to the GX for hands-free communication.
Lexus Link ($900), which comes with a one-year subscription, combines GPS satellite and cellular phone technology to connect the driver to experienced Lexus advisers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Roadside assistance, stolen vehicle tracking, and remote door unlocking are among the services provided. The system automatically dispatches emergency services if you press a panic button or if the airbags are deployed and you fail to respond to the operator's call.
The Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System ($1,750) uses electronically controlled hydraulic cylinders to vary the degree of roll resistance provided by the front and rear stabilizer bars. This package includes a dark graphite finish for the wheels and roof rack, and black bird's-eye maple wood and dark graphite metallic trim inside.
Safety features come standard, including advanced front airbags, side-impact airbags for the front seats (for torso protection in a side impact), and side-curtain airbags (for head protection in a side impact or rollover). Three-point seatbelts are provided for each seating position, and the front belts are equipped with pretensioners and force limiters to help minimize seatbelt-related injuries. Always wear your seatbelts as they're the most important safety feature on the vehicle. A tire pressure monitoring system also comes standard.