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The Lexus GX Had a Manual Transmission Shift Lever

Here’s something you probably knew: Every single example of the first-generation Lexus GX 470, sold from 2003 to 2009, was an automatic. The SUV was exclusively sold with a 4.7-liter V8, and it was mated to a 5-speed automatic, which was a pretty neat trick for 2003.

Meanwhile, here’s something you probably didn’t know: Every single example of the first-generation Lexus GX 470 looks like it has a stick shift. See the used Lexus GX models for sale near you

Bear with me, because this probably sounds like one of the stranger things you’ve read of mine. Here’s the situation. Despite the fact that every single GX 470 was an automatic, they look like they have a manual gear lever. In fact, it looks so much like a manual gear lever, I often tell my car-enthusiast friends, when we happen to see a GX 470 on the street, “Hey, look! That one has fog lights! That means it’s a manual!” Then, they walk over, look inside and, lo and behold, it does have a manual!

What they don’t know, of course, is that it’s a fake manual, and they all have fog lights.

Here’s my guess on why the GX 470’s automatic transmission lever looks like it’s from a manual. They sold the GX in foreign markets as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, and in some of those markets, they offer it with no equipment, plastic door handles, steel wheels, no tint and … a stick shift. I suspect they just gave it an automatic transmission, kept the lever the same and covered it in nice Lexus leather and wood.

This may be the tiniest piece of automotive minutia you’ll read this month, but come on, admit it: The next time you’re with someone and you see a GX 470, you’re going to do that little fog light trick. Find a used Lexus GX for sale

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Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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  1. I just test drove a GX 470 and it does not have a transfer case selector lever but it does have the boot with no lever or knob. 

    Any reason this might be? Thoughts?
  2. I own a 2003 Lexus GX470, and you’re right. The shift lever looks like a manual transmission. And I have to say that I love this truck. It’s comfortable, luxurious and it’s amazingly off road capable.

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