True sport utilities are becoming fewer and further between. Most are now in the luxury realm, where the 2018 Lexus GX 460 definitely belongs. Sharing much in common with the Toyota Sequoia, the GX 460 is a large, three-row, ready-for-action SUV that emphasizes rugged capability. The GX is showing its age, but remains a stalwart and well-appointed luxury utility.
Quick Specs & Info
|2018 Lexus GX 460
|Class: Luxury 3-row SUV
|As Tested: Luxury
|4.6L V8, Auto
|4.6L V8, Auto
|MSRP as tested
The 2018 Lexus GX 460 carries on with the current generation’s build. This GX has been largely as-is for some time, but has seen a few upgrades through the years to keep it relevant. Like any true sport utility vehicle, the GX 460 is mostly about carrying a lot of people off the pavement while potentially towing something behind to use once you’ve gotten where you’re going.
These focuses mean that the 2018 GX 460 is probably less family-friendly and comfortable as a daily driver than are other crossovers available on the market. The excellent Lexus RX 350L, for example, is almost as roomy inside as is the GX, yet has a far more relaxed road presence and lower climb-in height. Unlike the GX 460, though, the RX is not capable of towing much of anything nor will it climb mountains like the big GX will. Therein lies the major differences.
The 2018 Lexus GX 460 comes in two trim levels. Packages can be added to each.
- Base – The base trim point for the GX 460 comes standard with a full-sized spare tire, running boards, LED lighting, the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System for off-roading, a sunroof, and keyless ignition an entry. Dual-zone climate, a rearview camera, simulated leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seating, a split-fold second and third row, two USB ports, a nine-speaker sound system, and 8-inch infotainment screen are also standard. Options include the addition of blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, LED foglamps, automatic wipers, a windshield de-icer, and heated/vented front seats. A Premium package adds that plus more.
- Luxury – The GX 460 with the Luxury trim packages all of the options for the Base model with added items like an auto-leveling suspension, power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors, a heated and wood-trimmed steering wheel, second-row captain’s chairs, and upgraded leather upholstery. This model can be augmented with an optional 17-speaker Mark Levinson stereo, a rear entertainment system, and several driver convenience and safety items like advanced cruise control and lane departure warning.
- Sport Design
– This package adds to either the base Premium or Luxury trims with cosmetic changes and styling elements.
Exterior and Interior Design
From the outside, the 2018 Lexus GX 460 shares much with the Toyota lineup’s Land Cruiser and Sequoia sport utilities. The GX 460 is pretty, for all its bulk, and has a lot of refinements that won’t be found on its Toyota kin.
The exterior of the GX 460 is beefy and heavily-built, with wide wheel wells and a flat roofline. A flat hoot complements those elements while a rounded, vaguely pointed Lexus grille helps soften them. Long headlamps and good body lines offer upscale refinement for the beefy packaging.
Inside, the 2018 GX 460 is businesslike in its demeanor, but in the way that a high-end, marble-faced bank would be, with lots of luxury and offerings of comfort to denote its status. This mixture may throw some off, being not as sophisticated as some newer interiors might be. It’s well done, though, with good materials quality and a certain beauty about its working parts.
We like the front seating, and adult-friendly, though not as comfortable, second row. The third row in the GX 460 is mostly for kids, with little room for anyone over five feet in height. We recommend the captain’s chairs in the second row to avoid the “hump seat” and to allow easier access to the third row.
Cargo space in the big 2018 Lexus GX 460 is very good at 65 cubic feet available in all (second and third rows folded). The cargo area is accessed by an odd swinging door that hearkens to yesteryear with little benefit and some occasional annoyance.
On the up side, Toyota recently upgraded the Entune infotainment system and the GX benefits from that with a much better interface. The apps suite is easy to use and responds quickly to most commands with good connectivity to a smartphone. An 8-inch touchscreen is standard in the Lexus GX 460 with navigation and a Mark Levinson stereo upgrade being available options.
Driving the 2018 GX 460
The 2018 Lexus GX 460 is powered by a burly 4.6-liter V8 that outputs 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque. This runs to a six-speed automatic transmission that runs full-time four-wheel drive. Towing is rated at up to 6,500 pounds, when equipped.
The output of the V8 is low and slow, taking its time to get up to speed. It offers a lot of torque, however, and good capability for the long haul and when heavy lifting is required. This isn’t a sports car, after all; the GX 460 is a big SUV.
Maneuverability is akin to a pickup truck, being boatlike in its wide turns and the long pauses in response to changes. This big SUV feel good on the road, however, with its luxurious ride quality and well-mannered powertrain. Getting around is smooth and the GX offers a solid feeling of capability and comfort.
Off the pavement, the 2018 GX 460 is as capable as anything in its class. Most who own this luxury SUV will probably never need the amount of capability it has, but will feel secure in knowing that it’s there.
Fuel economy in the GX 460 is, as should be expected, not exactly Prius-like. The GX has an EPA rating of 15 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. Those numbers are a bit optimistic for higher-altitude drivers like myself, with my week-long drive resulting in a return of about 15 mpg overall.
Competition in the true-SUV luxury market is relatively slim in the GX 460’s segment, with most being of the larger size and competing with the Lexus LX series. Key competitors include the Range Rover Discovery, the Cadillac Escalade, the BMW X5, and the Audi Q5. Nearly all of these options offer a nicer interior experience and more luxury options, but only a few have the kind of off-pavement and towing capability that the GX 460 employs. The Rover is a close match, but far more expensive than is the Lexus while the Escalade is cheaper and more in-your-face about its luxury interior.
- Off-road capabilityis largely unmatched (for the price) in the segment.
- Excellent controland a confident feel on the road.
- Solid stabilityand dynamics thanks to its build and drivetrain design.
- Outdated interiorwith sub-par ergonomics.
- Poor fuel economy.
- Not as refined as other, newer options.
The 2018 Lexus GX 460 offers a lot of good capability and solidity for today’s market. It’s muscular and stable, capable of pulling more trailer than most, and good at hauling stuff and kids easily. For the price, the 2018 GX 460 remains one of the best options in the luxury SUV segment.
Test Period Length and Limitations
The 2018 Lexus GX 460 was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week. During that time, a total of about 200 miles were put on the vehicle in varied driving conditions and under various passenger loads.