Lexus GX 460 SUV has been around for a very long time, and although it doesn’t follow the same formula as most modern luxury crossovers—it’s built on a separate frame, like old-style, pickup truck-based SUVs—its charms lie in its off-road capability and a quiet cabin. Speaking of its cabin, the GX 460 offers space for up to seven thanks to three rows of seats, so families can explore nature or take road trips in relative comfort. A 4.6-liter V-8 is the only engine choice and, while it isn’t particularly fuel-efficient, it makes 301-hp and drives all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Where the GX 460 shows its age the most is in its available technology features. An 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard, but the software interface isn’t as up-to-date as in more modern Lexus models such as the LS and ES sedans or the UX subcompact SUV; it even lacks common connectivity features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But aside from the Land Rover Defender, the GX 460 is one of few options remaining in the mid-size luxury SUV segment that can legitimately be used off-road.
What’s New for 2021?
Lexus has made few changes to its aging GX SUV for 2021, but it has added a Premium Plus trim between the mid-range Premium and top-spec Luxury models. It comes standard with a power-operated third-row of seats and a Mark Levinson premium stereo system. The GX’s infotainment system now offers Amazon Alexa compatibility. A heated wood-and-leather steering wheel is now optional on the Premium and Premium Plus models.
The base-model 2021 Lexus GX460 comes with enough standard features to please most buyers in this segment. This SUV rolls on standard 18-inch wheels and all models are equipped with exterior amenities such as automatic LED headlights, daytime running lights, illuminated running boards, and heated power-adjustable side mirrors with integrated turn signals. Ten-way power-adjustable front seats and a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering column are on hand to help you find an ideal position behind the wheel. The cabin is also home to standard features such as keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, faux-leather upholstery, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. All GX SUVs come with driver-assistance amenities such as blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 2021 Lexus GX 460 continues to offer just one engine: a 4.6-liter V-8 that generates 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque. This powerplant is teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Lexus’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System is standard, and this setup aims to boost traction during off-road adventures. During our testing, the 2021 Lexus GX 460 cruised from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The GX won’t win any awards for fuel economy. According to the EPA, this all-wheel-drive SUV achieves mileage of just 15/19 mpg city/highway. That puts it well behind rival luxury SUVs such as the Lincoln Aviator, which gets 17/24 mpg when equipped with all-wheel drive.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Lexus gave the GX 460 its last full redesign all the way back in 2010, and this is perhaps one reason for the somewhat dated appearance of its cabin. The interior is home to wood and leather that looks appropriately deluxe, but there are also some hard plastics that seem out of place in a vehicle in this price range. Front-row passengers enjoy pleasant accommodations and a lofty seating position, but the second-row seats are surprisingly flat and hard, and the third row is a cramped space best left for kids. To its credit, the GX does a great job of keeping road noise out of the cabin, and the interior remains tranquil even when the vehicle is being driven at high speeds. This Lexus provides 11.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row and 46.7 cubic feet behind the second. With the second and third rows folded, cargo space jumps to 64.7 cubic feet.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The GX offers an appealing range of tech amenities. Base models come with a nine-speaker audio setup and an infotainment system governed by an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Standard Bluetooth connectivity facilitates hands-free phone calls, and all models come with SiriusXM satellite radio.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 Lexus GX 460 hasn’t been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, this SUV comes equipped with driver-assistance features that can help you avoid accidents. Key safety features include:
Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
Standard lane-departure warning
Standard adaptive cruise control