2009 GX 470 New Car Test Drive
The 2008 Lexus GX470 gets fresh styling on the outside and new trim inside. Based on the Toyota 4Runner, the GX combines superior off-road capability with Lexus luxury and quality.
For 2008, Lexus revised the styling to give the GX a richer, more mature exterior appearance. Changes for 2008 include a dark metallic grille, red-and-clear taillights, a liquid graphite finish for the wheels, and bright-metal door handles and roof rack side rails. Darker wood trim lends a more upscale look to the interior for 2008. The last complete redesign was for the 2003 model year. For 2007, Lexus updated the GX 470's optional rear-seat DVD system with a 9-inch wide-format screen. The optional navigation system offers voice activation and enhanced display features. An input jack for iPods and other audio devices comes standard. The optional Mark Levinson Premium Audio offers DVD capability and can play MP3/WMA-formatted CDs. Everyone, from rear-seat passengers to the driver, can watch a movie on one of the screens, including the navigation screen when parked.
Inside, the GX 470 is roomy, quiet and comfortable, with an optional third-row seat that expands capacity to eight. Its cabin is swathed in leather and walnut. An overhead-cam V8 and smooth five-speed automatic transmission provide sufficient power for towing, trail-bashing, or carving corners on a coastal highway.
Power is provided by a 4.7-liter V8, rated 263 horsepower and a substantial 323 pound-feet of torque, driving through a five-speed automatic transmission. Underneath, the GX 470 has body-on-frame construction like commercial or military trucks, with a solid rear axle and serious four-wheel drive features such as a locking center differential and two-speed transfer case. Its full-time four-wheel drive features electronic traction control (A-TRAC) and automatically dispatches torque to the tires with the best grip. An electronic system called Downhill Assist Control (DAC) helps the GX 470 safely negotiate slippery inclines, while Vehicle Stability Control helps steady the GX 470 in slippery turns.
We've found the Lexus GX 470 highly capable in rugged terrain. Its electronic features make unskilled drivers look like experienced off-road pilots while enabling experienced off-road drivers to go even farther. In short, the GX 470 can go just about anywhere its driver is willing to point it. Its rugged design means it holds up well when punished repeatedly over rough roads, good for drivers who frequent the backcountry or launch boats over rugged terrain.
The 2008 Lexus GX 470 is offered in a single, well-equipped trim level ($47,315). Standard features include leather upholstery, power heated seats, a wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, rain-sensing wipers, automatic dual-zone climate control, HomeLink universal transmitter, an 11-speaker stereo with six-CD changer, rear-seat audio with remote control and headphones, a glass sunroof, illuminated running boards, and a 115V AC power outlet in the cargo area. The standard wheels are 17-inch alloys wearing 265/65HR17 tires.
The optional Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System ($1,750) enhances on-road handling without compromising off-road capability. A Sport Package ($1,800) combines KDSS with smoked front and rear light bezels, a chromed exhaust tip, and dark graphite finish on the wheels and roof rack. Inside, dark graphite trim is added to the center console and instrument panel, and the standard brown walnut wood trim is replaced by black bird's-eye maple. The carpet is black, too, instead of the standard gray or ivory.
The optional navigation system ($3,250) includes a Mark Levinson audio upgrade, Bluetooth wireless technology that links compatible cellular telephones to the GX for hands-free communication, and a reverse-camera system to help spot objects (and children) behind the vehicle. Options include a third-row seat combined with rear air conditioning ($485); a rear-seat entertainment system with two headphone sets ($1,650); and a tow-hitch bracket ($50).
Lexus Link ($900), which comes with a one-year subscription, combines GPS satellite and cellular phone technology to connect the driver to a concierge desk 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.
Safety features that come standard include 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. A tire pressure monitoring system comes standard. We recommend getting Lexus Link for its safety benefits. The GX 470 has the latest electronic control systems, including four-wheel traction control, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), a Torsen limited-slip center differential, and Adaptive Variable Suspension with adjustable height control.