The Toyota 4Runner has always held a special place in my heart for its boxy styling and off-road prowess, but until now, I never had the chance to drive its more luxurious cousin, the Lexus GX 460. Granted, the GX actually has more in common with the foreign-market Land Cruiser Prado, but all three SUVs ride on the same body-on-frame platform. Originally an answer to the luxury SUV craze from the early 2000s, the GX hasn't changed all that much since its introduction more than a decade ago. It's a big SUV with plenty of space and crammed with just about all the luxuriousness Lexus could fit into a 12-year-old vehicle, but, more importantly, it still has the chops to go places many vehicles in its segment wouldn't dare venture. And just for good measure, Lexus tacked on its new signature spindle grille in what has to be its most pronounced appearance yet. I've had a chance to drive most of the latest Lexus products (including the IS, ES and GS) to see just how competitive Toyota's luxury arm has gotten in recent years, but after spending a week with the 2014 GX 460, it's refreshing that, for now, Lexus has resisted the urge to follow some of its rivals in replacing rugged, body-on-frame SUVs with softer, car-based crossovers. Driving Notes Slotted in between the popular RX crossover and the fullsize LX 570, the GX 460 is positioned in somewhat of an odd segment. On one end sit luxury crossovers like the Infiniti QX60, Mercedes GL-Class and Audi Q7, ready to tackle the daily driving and maybe some occasional gravel roads, while on the other end, the GX and Land Rover LR4 are more traditional SUVs with the ability to go a little deeper into the wilderness. In reality, off-road excursions in the GX will likely be very rare, and as such, my off-roading time in the GX was limited to driving on the fine sand beaches of north Florida, which did little to slow down the GX with the low range engaged and the center differential locked. Even with the big wheels, plastic fascias and integrated running boards, the GX still has decent ground clearance, as well as good approach and departure angles, not to mention an adjustable air suspension. This isn't to say the GX can tackle the Rubicon Trail or anything, but it is surely a more competent off-road vehicle than most other midsize and fullsize utility vehicles currently out there. Like the 4Runner, there's even a Crawl Control feature available, but it wasn't equipped on this tester. I had already expected the GX to be able to handle itself in messy situations, but where it really surprised me was on-road. For as big, bulky and rugged as this SUV is, it delivered a smooth, Lexus-spec ride. Speed bumps and expansion joints do little to upset the GX's balance, and the luxurious interior makes the GX feel like an excellent long-distance hauler... with the exception being …
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|MPG||15 City / 20 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||301 @ 5500 rpm|
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