In 2003, Lexus filled a gap in the midsize luxury utility market with the GX 470. Unlike most rivals, it was a true truck-style SUV, so it could take both on-road posh and off-road pounding in style.  Well now, an all new GX has arrived, and it remains true to its heavier, body-on-frame concept.  So does that make it a throwback, or once again just unique?

The seven-passenger 2010 Lexus GX 460 takes the latest Toyota 4Runner, and adds the kind of robust power and luxury appointments that the brand’s well-heeled fans expect. GX size is little changed. Its 109.8-inch wheelbase is the same, while the 189.2-inch overall length is up an inch. A two inch lower height is the biggest difference.

With hints of the brand’s new L-Finesse styling theme, the GX is equal parts brawn and beauty. The three-bar grille and larger HID headlights are harder to miss than ever. The more prominent front bumper houses a twinned set of intakes and fog lamps.

GX trademarks-an uptick in the rear glass and pronounced fender flares-are also more exaggerated. Likewise, the trendy LED tail lights perched atop a useful rear bumper with step.

Lexus has also walked a fine line on the interior. Luxurious, with plenty of wood and leather, yet still rather serious. The steering wheel and dash are vaguely truck-like yet also attractive. Supportive front buckets include 10-way power, heat, and ventilation. A class-leading complement of 10 airbags is standard.

The compact gauge cluster now includes a 4.2-inch information screen. A nine-speaker stereo and power sunroof are also standard. The second row is a flexible 40/20/40 bench. Seat heat is optional for the two outside positions. Optional too is a DVD system with LCD screens on front-row headrests.

Lexus took legroom from the second row and added it to the third row. Still, the 50/50 power split bench is only fit for children. And it leaves a scant 4.2 cubic feet of cargo volume. Fold the second and third rows down for a modest 64.7 cubic feet. But the side-opening rear hatch does add a flip-up glass panel for loading small items quickly.

The GX 460 has only one powertrain. It’s a new twin-cam 4.6-liter V8 shared with the Toyota Tundra. Here it delivers 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque, bettering the outgoing GX 470’s 4.7-liter V8 by 38 horses and 6 pound-feet. Lexus claims a 0-60 time of 7.8 seconds.

The automatic transmission adds a sixth gear and sequential manual shift, while the full-time two-speed transfer case has a lockable center differential. Hill Hold Control and Down Hill Assist are included, with Crawl Control available. Taken together, they make the GX a far more capable off-roader than any crossover.

The same goes for towing. The GX 460 is still tow-rated at 6,500 pounds. That’s almost twice the typical midsize crossover.

And, those loads are better controlled with the Lexus Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System standard. KDSS limits body roll on-road, but allows increased wheel travel over obstacles when the asphalt ends. The Premium GX adds adjustable shocks with load leveling.

We tried it all at the launch of the GX 460 in Del Mar, California, where we split time between smooth blacktop and a dusty, winding dirt track. The GX is at home on both. Ride is indeed more truck than car-like, but it should be. The new V8 hides its load-hauling Tundra roots well: power delivery is silky smooth. On the blacktop, the GX 460 took corners fast and flat, an impressive feat for a 5,300-pound SUV. And off-road, it absorbed bumps and ruts like a seasoned pro.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 15 mpg city and 20 highway on premium. Still, even with more power, that’s a 13% bump over last year. On sale now, the base Lexus GX 460 starts at $52,845, and a Premium GX will set you back $57,640. Adding options like navigation will drive the price much higher.

The 2010 Lexus GX 460 is indeed both a throwback and unique. It’s the midsize Lexus utility for those that still want the towing and off-road capabilities that were the reasons SUVs became popular in the first place. So, even though it fills a shrinking niche, it does so with precision.


  • Engine: Twin-cam 4.6-Liter V8
  • Horsepower: 301
  • Torque: 329 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 7.8 Seconds
  • EPA: 15 MPG City/ 20 MPG Highway