- The 2020 Lexus RX receives an update with revised styling and a new infotainment system.
- The GX has been on sale largely unchanged since the 2010 model year.
- The RX is a car-based crossover, while the GX is a body-on-frame truck.
Lexus builds two midsize SUVs, and they couldn’t be more different. On one end of the spectrum is the RX, a car-based crossover that’s one of the bestselling luxury vehicles in the United States and has been for years. The RX offers a comfortable ride, luxury car features like a panoramic sunroof and even a hybrid model rated at 30 miles per gallon in combined driving. An RX ‘L’ model is available that is four inches longer than the regular RX and comes with a tiny 3rd-row seat. On the other end is the GX, a rough-and-ready body-on-frame off-roader. The GX comes with full-time 4-wheel drive with traditional low-range gearing, a solid rear axle and a number of trick off-road features. It also uses an old and inefficient 301 horsepower V8 engine, good for just 16 mpg combined. The GX comes standard with a third row, and while a little tight, it’s much more usable than what you’ll find in the RX L. While they’re both considered SUVs, these two vehicles couldn’t be more different. Below, we’ll compare them in a number of categories to better highlight the differences between them.
While they both wear Lexus’ corporate ‘predator’ grille design, the RX and GX couldn’t look more different. The RX’s car-based roots are clear in its relatively low ground clearance, egg-shaped profile and steeply raked windshield and rear hatch. The GX 460 is a boxy old-school SUV. It’s got a tall, upright greenhouse and a blunt front and rear end. While excessive body cladding means it isn’t as capable as it could be, the GX offers good ground clearance and respectable approach and departure angles — far better than what you get from the RX. See the 2020 Lexus RX models for sale near you or See the 2020 Lexus GX models for sale near you
The differences between these two vehicles continue on the inside. The RX’s interior is smooth and car-like, while the GX’s is rugged and utilitarian. The RX, in fact, boasts an all-new 12.5-in infotainment system for 2020. It’s controlled via either Lexus’ mouse-like Remote Touch interface or a touchscreen, which is a new addition.
Like the RX, the GX offers many of the features you’d want in a luxury SUV: a premium audio system, heated and ventilated seats and more, but it lacks the polish of most modern luxury vehicles. Given that it’s been on sale for ten years now without a redesign, the GX uses clunky controls and an infotainment system that is obsolete by modern standards. The silver lining here is that everything is built to the highest quality and fits the vehicle’s rugged, utilitarian image.
The GX comes standard with a third row, meaning it can seat up to seven people or six when fitted with 2nd-row captain’s chairs. The RX L, which is four inches longer than the regular RX, comes with a third row, but the RX wasn’t really designed to seat more than five passengers. Thus, the RX L’s third row is impossibly small and hardly suitable for anyone. Strangely, Lexus doesn’t offer a proper 3-row family crossover in the vein of the Acura MDX or Volvo XC90.
The RX is available in both hybrid and nonhybrid form. The nonhybrid is the RX 350, which uses a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 295 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, though all-wheel drive is optional. With AWD, the RX L, which is most comparable to the GX, returns 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg combined.
The RX’s hybrid model is the RX 450h. It uses the same 3.5-liter V6 as the regular RX but pairs it with a hybrid motor for a total output of 308 hp, sent to all four wheels via a 6-speed automatic. AWD comes standard. Fuel economy is respectable: The RX 450h L is rated at 29 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/29 mpg combined.
The RX is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds across the board.
The Lexus GX 460 comes with just one powertrain, and it’s an old one. Under the hood of every GX 460 sold since the model debuted for the 2010 model year is a 4.6-liter V8 engine making 301 hp and 329 lb-ft of torque — not a lot for a V8, especially one as thirsty as this. Full-time 4WD comes standard. The 2020 Lexus GX is rated by the EPA at just 15 mpg city/18 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined. The GX is rated to tow up to 6,500 pounds — 3,000 pounds more than the RX.
The 2020 Lexus RX is far and above more technologically advanced than the GX. While both vehicles offer active safety features, the RX’s offering is the more sophisticated of the two and includes advanced tech like lane tracing assist and traffic sign recognition. Additionally, the 2020 RX has a much better infotainment system than the GX. In fact, the GX’s is one of the most dated systems in the industry. It’s laggy, unintuitive and lacks Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
What it lacks in cabin tech, the GX makes up for in off-road features. It comes with a solid rear axle, an optional adjustable air suspension, Toyota’s clever sway bar disconnect system known as KDSS, a center-locking differential, Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain Select. Altogether, it’s one of the more capable off-road SUVs on the market, assuming you’re willing to risk damaging the bodywork on your $70,000 truck. The RX, by comparison, uses a basic AWD system similar to what you’d find on other mainstream crossovers.
The RX has a base price just north of $45,000 and reaches about $60,000 when loaded. The GX starts at just over $54,000 and tops out at about $72,000 in fully loaded form.
The RX and GX are meant for different buyers. The RX is a car-like crossover. In fact, it’s arguably the original crossover SUV and prioritizes ride comfort and efficiency. The GX, on the other hand, is an old-school body-on-frame SUV. Though the two vehicles don’t actually share that many components, it’s fair to think of the GX as a luxury version of the 4Runner. That said, the GX is highly compromised as it hasn’t received a substantial update in years. While the RX will feel plenty modern to most buyers, the GX is long overdue for a redesign and is inefficient and lacking in the modern technology most buyers look for, especially at this price point. So with that, assuming you don’t need the GX’s utility and awesome off-road capability, the RX is the better choice for the majority of buyers. That said, if you really need a 3rd-row seat, you’re better off looking to one of Lexus’ competitors like Acura, Volvo or Audi. Find a 2020 Lexus RX for sale or Find a 2020 Lexus GX for sale