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2016 Lexus GX: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader May 2016

Yes, the 2016 Lexus GX 460 is still in production. Based on the same body-on-frame platform that underpins Toyota's 4Runner SUV, the GX prioritizes off-road performance, like every SUV used to do. Featuring tough, trucklike construction and standard all-wheel drive with a dual-range transfer case, this is a go-anywhere kind of vehicle, in stark contrast to most modern luxury crossovers that employ unibody platforms that are optimized for the suburbs.

Naturally, the GX also feels civilized. Thanks to a soft suspension, fancy features and standard 3-row seating, it can function as a high-end family vehicle. It's perhaps surprising that Lexus didn't use more opulent interior materials in this costly conveyance, but the smooth V8 engine provides some consolation. Don't expect precision handling in corners, though. The GX is an old-school SUV that's happiest when it's pointed straight ahead.

What's New for 2016?

The subscription-only Lexus Enform Remote and Lexus Enform Service Connect systems are now available.

What We Like

Off-road-appropriate hardware; compliant ride; standard 3-row seating; plenty of luxury and technology features

What We Don't

Uncomfortable seats in the second and third rows; cumbersome on-road handling; unremarkable interior quality; low fuel economy

How Much?

$51,730-$63,105

Fuel Economy

The GX 460 comes with a 4.6-liter V8 engine making 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque. This is linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission. A standard full-time all-wheel-drive system includes a dual-range transfer case for proper off-road use.

Fuel economy is estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 15 miles per gallon in the city, 20 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Lexus GX 460 premium midsize SUV comes in base and Luxury trim levels.

The base GX 460 ($51,730) includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, roof rails, LED low-beam headlights, keyless entry with push-button ignition, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel with automatic tilt away, 10-way power front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, driver's seat memory functions, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, electro-luminescent gauges, a rearview camera, slide/recline second-row seats, a trip computer with a 4.2-in display, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 120-volt outlet in the cargo area, Bluetooth (for both phone and audio), Siri Eyes Free voice command functionality and a 9-speaker audio system with an 8-in touchscreen display, a 6-CD changer, satellite radio and iPod/USB connectivity.

A Premium package adds high-gloss 18-in wheels, LED fog lights, a mahogany interior trim, perforated genuine leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, tri-zone climate control with a smog sensor, a wood and leather steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, voice controls and enhanced Bluetooth. This model also has a hard drive-based navigation system that features Lexus Enform, which lets you either plan trips from home using a Lexus-exclusive online search called eDestination or leverage your smartphone for this purpose with the downloadable Enform mobile app.

The Luxury ($63,105) includes all of the above, plus an adaptive air suspension, power-folding/auto-dimming exterior mirrors, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a heated steering wheel, semi-aniline leather upholstery, a power-folding third-row seat and a cargo area tonneau cover.

The Luxury model is also eligible for a 330-watt/17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, a dual-screen rear entertainment system and wide-view front and side parking cameras. Additional options include dynamic cruise control and Crawl Control for automated low-speed off-roading.

Cargo capacity measures 11.6 cu ft. behind the third-row seating. If you power-fold that row into the floor, you'll have a more reasonable 36.5 cu ft. With the second-row seats folded down, the GX can haul a healthy 91.9 cu ft. However, the unusual cargo door is hinged on the passenger side, so it opens toward the curb on American roads, which is not the most convenient design for curbside loading.

Safety

The GX 460 comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and 10 airbags (front, front-side, front-knee, rear-side and full-length side-curtain). All models include Safety Connect, which uses the same 24-hour response center as the Enform system to summon help if the unexpected occurs.

No agencies within the United States have performed crash tests on the GX to date.

Behind the Wheel

The interior frankly lacks the top-quality materials that have become a Lexus hallmark over the years. In particular, the dashboard doesn't look or feel like it belongs in a vehicle that costs more than $50,000. Still, everything seems to have been put together well. And the electro-luminescent gauges serve as a reminder that this is more than just a fancy Toyota. Also, while the central control panel has many buttons, they're clearly marked in large white type, so there are no ergonomic missteps.

The standard third-row seat is mounted low, so longer-legged passengers will likely have their knees in their faces. The second row isn't particularly supportive or comfortable either. For anyone who's planning to use more than two rows on a regular basis, purpose-built people carriers such as minivans or the Ford Flex with EcoBoost could be a better choice.

When on the move, the GX 460 is a mixed bag. Its tall, slim build works well for tight off-road trails, but also makes the GX feel a bit claustrophobic. That feeling doesn't inspire confidence in corners, where the GX could hardly be more out of its element. In a straight line, however, the soft ride and excellent noise suppression create a pleasant cruising experience. Potholes are often barely noticeable thanks to the long-haul, off-road-ready suspension.

Acceleration is adequate, although it's unusual to see a V8 these days with such a low power rating; you'll feel the lack of juice at higher speeds. The GX can tow up to 6,500 pounds with the optional trailer hitch, which is more than car-based crossover SUVs can handle, but not that much by trucklike SUV standards.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 BMW X5 -- With superior handling and an optional third row, the X5 is the driver's SUV in this class. But don't even think about it if you're the off-roading type.

2016 Ford Flex -- Neither Lexus nor Ford would put the Flex in the same category as the GX, but with the optional 365-hp EcoBoost V6 under the hood, the luxurious Flex outdoes the Lexus in almost every way -- unless you're heading for the trails.

2016 Land Rover LR4 -- The surprisingly affordable LR4 impresses with its sumptuous interior, muscular V8 and adult-friendly 3-row seating. Naturally, its off-road performance is exemplary.

Used Audi Q7 -- With standard 3-row seating and premium appointments, this model is a logical alternative. Certified pre-owned pricing could save you thousands when compared with a brand-new GX.

Autotrader's Advice

If it has to be a GX, then go for the Luxury model with the optional Mark Levinson audio system. It's not exactly a bargain, but the Luxury's generous amount of standard features and fabulous Levinson sound will compensate.

Find a Lexus GX for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
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Used 2016 Lexus GX Models
Used 2016 Lexus GX Models
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Used 2016 Lexus GX Models
Used 2016 Lexus GX Models
$40,900
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Certified 2016 Lexus GX Models
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$41,600
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Used 2016 Lexus GX Models
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Lexus GX: New Car Review - Autotrader