2011 Lexus GX 460 - Click above for high-res image gallery Despite the rise of the crossover, there's still a market for traditional SUVs. Moreover, some buyers don't want to sacrifice luxury to get the capability that a full-frame, truck-based sport utility offers. Lexus makes the GX 460 for consumers who want a blend of opulence and a sure-footed, full-frame, locking-transfer-case 4x4 architecture that's not afraid to pull a substantial trailer and won't roar loudly enough to cause permanent hearing damage. While the Lexus RX grabs the hearts of buyers looking for an L-Finesse crossover, the GX 460 is an alternative choice if you're considering an LR4 or Range Rover Sport, the most direct competitors in terms of architecture and market segment. Taking price and mission into account, a disparate field of rivals ranges from the BMW X5 and Audi Q7 to the GMC Yukon Denali or even the Ford Expedition King Ranch. The GX 460s footprint and price puts it in between larger crossovers and even bigger SUVs, perhaps an awkward place to be, but sales goals are modest. So does the GX 460's tinge of uniqueness help it stand out from the herd? Have the changes made since being knocked for potential instability been effective? Continue reading Review: 2011 Lexus GX 460... %Gallery-116960% Photos copyright ©2011 Dan Roth / AOL The GX 460 is styled with common Lexus features. Swept headlamps and a wide-slat grille is ugly to some and nondescript to others. Prominent blocky wheelarches are meant to convey ruggedness, though the effect can be heavy-handed on the relatively short wheelbase that the GX 460 shares with the Toyota 4Runner. Not likely to win any beauty contests, the GX 460's styling doesn't leave a lasting impression, though it's instantly identifiable as a Lexus. Saying the GX is a Lexus on the outside means the styling is tame and blends easily into the background. The Lexus-ness means a lot more when talking about the interior. High quality materials and excellent assembly quality are on display everywhere, though the metallized plastic on the center stack looks more Scion than Lexus. Padded and stitched leather covers the door panels and even the dashboard. It looks and feels finely crafted and sends the right messages to the rugged luxo-roader set. Shiny Bubinga wood accents on the door panels, dashboard and steering wheel are richly toned, and perforated leather facilitates ventilated and heated power-adjustable front seats. Outboard second-row seats are also heated, and Lexus makes much of its available upgrade to semi-aniline leather without saying much about why it's better. For the record, semi-aniline leather is dyed all the way through and treated with a protective topcoat, versus plebian pigment-slathered hides. The GX 460's seats could be upholstered in fetid banana leaves and they'd still be all-day comfortable. There's not much in the GX 460 interior that feels cheap. Indeed, most switchgear feels fluid-damped, and nearly everything around you is padded or soft-touch. With the button-heavy center stack, steering wheel and …
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