Lexus GX 460
The GX 460 has a very simplified model lineup; the GX 460 and GX 460 Premium are the two models offered, with the key technical difference in the Premium being its more towing or hauling-friendly rear air suspension and adjustable-height (rear) adaptive variable suspension.
There's a single powertrain on offer in the GX 460, and it has the bases covered for those wanting a luxury utility vehicle with enough power and durability to tow or even do light off-roading. The 4.6L V8 engine makes 301 horsepower and comes hooked up to a 6-speed automatic transmission. A full-time 4-wheel drive system is standard on the GX 460; the system includes a Torsen limited-slip center differential and an electronic locker to help with mud, sand, or snow, but an automatic mode for most driving sends about 60 percent to the rear wheels and can vary the distribution to help if some wheels have more traction.
The adaptive variable suspension system that comes with premium models includes Normal, Sport and Comfort modes, while the adjustable height control helps keep the vehicle level when towing. And for those who plan to go off-road, the standard Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System uses hydraulic pressure to help the body stiffer and more level on the road yet allow more wheel movement during off-roading.
The GX 460 comes with a full roster of ten airbags, along with stability control and Brake Assist, and both Crawl Control and Downhill Assist Control can help maintain poise and traction when off-roading, freeing up the driver to focus on steering. There are also several advanced safety-tech features available here, including Lane Departure Alert, which sounds a buzzer when you wander out of a marked lane, and both adaptive lighting and an intelligent high beam lighting system. On the Premium model, there's an optional Driver Attention Monitor Package, bringing helpful wide-view monitors.
Inside, the GX 460's interior is spacious but definitely truck-like. You sit rather high, with a good view outward. Front seats are very comfortable and supportive, while the second row is adult-sized and slides fore and aft several inches. There's a small third row, with a motorized system to raise the seat. Some might find it either unusual or novel that the GX's rear hatch opens to the side, rather than upward.
The interior of the GX is lavishly appointed with leather upholstery, heated-and-ventilated front seats, a power moonroof, memory driver's seat settings, a dual-zone climate control, and a garage-door opener. Also standard on the GX is a 9-speaker sound system that includes integrated Bluetooth hands-free and music-streaming connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio, and an iPod interface via USB. An display screen with trip computer and rear back-up camera display are standard.
While the model lineup is simple, there are quite a few options--and possibilities to make the bottom-line price nearly $10,000 higher. Highlights include a lighting package, with HID headlamps and adaptive front lighting; a Comfort Plus Package with heated outboard second-row seats, semi-aniline leather upholstery, tri-zone climate control, and added wood and leather trim; a rear DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones; and Intuitive Park Assist. A hard-drive-based navigation system with XM NavTraffic and NavWeather is paired together with an awesome Mark Levinson audio system with 17 speakers plus DVD audio and video. The latter also adds voice controls and the new Lexus Enform suite of infotainment services and apps.