CarTest! Expert car reviews and advice | home
CarTest! Expert car reviews and advice | CarTest Contents | New Car Reviews | Used Car Reviews | What is your car worth? | Automotive NewsBriefs | Award-Winning Models | Find the Best Vehicle | Automotive Advice | Save on Gas | Driving Tips & Maintenance Advice | Safety Research & Insurance Tips | Tire Advice | Road Trips | Auto Racing | Classics & Collectibles | Newsletter | About Us | SEARCH CarTest!
©CarTest.ca. All rights reserved.
2010 Lexus GX 460
High on luxury, utility and life
Toyota at work on safety recall of vehicle stability control system in response to criticism from Consumer Reports. Also see GX 460 recall and repair response information below.
By Malcolm Gunn and Bill Roebuck
Your passion for the Great Outdoors and the desire to get there in style yields a surprising number of automotive choices for 2010. Why surprising?
Despite high gas prices and economic setbacks that have taken a big bite out of big sport-utility sales, there are actually few casualties. In some cases even, manufacturers are developing new models.
That means the seven-passenger Lexus GX 460 off-roader can still power its way along or off the beaten path, only now it does so in a more competent and fuel-efficient manner.
(Editor's note: see sidebars at bottom of this story regarding the GX460 recall.)
Fundamentally, the new GX hasn't strayed from its original mission that began for the 2003 model year. It's still based on parent Toyota's 4Runner's tough ladder-frame chassis. Of course, the GX 460 has its own sheetmetal, but maintains a close resemblance to its GX 470 predecessor. In fact, most people might have a tough time distinguishing the two. Close inspection, however, reveals the GX 460's fenders and door panels are more streamlined, the hood is more shapely and the roof rails are less obtrusive. The subtle body changes put the GX in line with its bigger, gutsier and pricier LX 570.
The GX's interior has been spruced up with newly shaped seats, floor console and control panel, As well, the three-way split-folding second-row seats can be moved fore and aft up to 10.5 centimetres for more leg room and easier access to the twin power-folding third-row seats. Leather coverings are standard, as are heated and ventilated front seats.
The nomenclature change to GX 460 from 2009's GX 470 reflects a powertrain change. A 301-horse 4.6-litre V8 that connects to a six-speed automatic transmission replaces the aging 263-horsepower 4.7-litre/five-speed automatic duo. The extra grunt will come in handy as the new GX is saddled with an extra 180-plus kilograms to lug around. Despite that handicap, the fuel-economy rating has improved to 14.1/9.8 l/100 km city/highway (the old mark was 15.3/11.4) and zero-to-60 mph (96 km-h) times have, says Lexus, dropped to 7.8 seconds from 8.1. The extra transmission gear is likely the biggest contributor to the improvement. Meanwhile, maximum towing capacity remains unchanged at 2,950 kilograms. The bigger question might be whether Lexus, a leader in gas-electric hybrid technology, intends to build a hybrid version of the GX. Lexus offers hybrid versions of most of its cars while Cadillac offers a competing hybrid Escalade sport-ute.
Four-wheel-drive with a low range and a locking center differential continues as standard equipment. The system splits the torque on a 40:60 basis, front to rear, during optimum driving conditions. However when making tight or sharp turns, the rear bias adjusts to 30:70 and will switch to 50:50 if rear-wheel-slippage is detected.
For added utility, the GX features a Rear Adjustable Ride Height Control to keep the vehicle level when heavily loaded. There's also standard Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, consisting of front and rear stabilizer bars that modulate their degree of firmness, or disengage entirely for maximum suspension travel during off-roading. An Adaptive Variable Suspension with normal, comfort (soft) and sport (firm) settings is optional.
There are a few available off-road-specific items borrowed from the Toyota 4Runner. Crawl and Downhill Assist Control holds the GX to a maximum set speed when heading down a steep hill. The system can also keep the GX at a preset pace while negotiating rocky or muddy terrain. All the driver has to do to slow down or stop is touch the brake pedal. These features show the level of commitment Lexus has to off-roaders, but most buyers won't come close to fully exploiting the GX's talents.
No, most drivers will be after typical Lexus pampering. The GX has dual-zone climate control, power sunroof, integrated running boards, multi-adjustable power front seats, a 17-speaker premium sound system with Bluetooth short-range networking, backup camera and plenty of wood trim.
Being a Lexus, the GX's 10 airbags can be augmented with a radar-based cruise control that maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Lane-Departure Alert warns inattentive drivers, while a camera focused on the driver can issue warnings and even apply the brakes if he or she appears to be nodding off at the wheel.
In tight times, new-vehicle shoppers tend to buy only what they need. The fact is that few of us actually need seven-passenger seating and the off-road capability that the GX 460 offers for a base price of $70,400 (including destination charges). But for buyers who demand the utility, power, prestige and luxury, the new GX 460 is a near-perfect fit.
What you should know: 2010 Lexus GX 460
Type: Four-door, four-wheel-drive, seven-passenger luxury utility vehicle
Engine (hp): 4.6-litre DOHC V8 (301)
Transmissions: Six-speed automatic
Market position: The GX is one of a few luxury off-roaders that can competently handle most off-road adventures, even though most research suggests that few will ever leave the pavement. Over engineered for its final use? Perhaps, but that doesn't seem to stop urban buyers.
Points: Body-on-frame construction built to take a pounding; Flip-up tailgate glass handy for toting extra-long items; Better base V8 adds power and fuel economy, Surprising weight gain over previous GX inhibits performance, fuel economy; Obviously impressive list of standard and optional safety features.
Safety: Front airbags; front/rear side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; front-knee airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control.
L/100 km (city/hwy): 14.1/9.8
Base price (incl. destination): $70,400
Base price: $73,800
Nissan Armada-based wagon is big inside and out. Stout standard V8.
Base price: $60,000
Handling and performance top the list of the X5's strong points.
Base price: $51,500
Roomy wagon scores points for styling and fuel economy. AWD optional.
Malcolm Gunn is an automotive writer based in Moncton, NB, and a regular contributor to CarTest! Bill Roebuck is the editor of CarTest!
Posted April 18, 2010. Updated April 19, 2010. © CarTest.ca TM