2021 Lexus GX Review

2021 Lexus GX - The 2021 Lexus GX 460 Luxury is rugged and luxurious


Price: $65,410

Pros-Go-Anywhere design. Luxurious. Roomy. Quick. Smooth ride. Off-road prowess.

Cons-So-so fuel economy. Tight third seat. Aging design. No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Bottom Line-A go-anywhere, luxurious mid-size SUV.

It would be hard to get stuck with the 2021 Lexus GX 460 Luxury, as a mighty Chicago snowstorm indicated the week I tested this rugged, luxurious SUV. The 8.1-inch ground clearance and an accomplished four-wheel-drive system were definite assets.

The $65,410 GX 460 Luxury, which is a top-line GX model, shrugged off treacherous snowy, icy roads in near sub-zero temperatures as if it were July Fourth. Lexus says you can tackle the Rocky mountains with this mid-size SUV or take a comfortable highway trip in it. An adaptive variable suspension helps deliver a smooth ride, with bad bumps easily absorbed.

New features for 2021 include acoustic front side glass, Amazon Alexa and two additional USB ports (for a total of four such ports). But AppleCarplay and Android Auto aren't offered.

Handling is quite good for such a big, heavy fella. The full-time automatic four-wheel drive system helps, as does active traction and vehicle stability controls.

The 5,198-pound GX 460 Luxury has a smooth 4.6-liter V-8 that produces 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque. It works with a responsive six-speed automatic transmission. There's an automatic crawl control for extreme off-road conditions that provides a slow, steady pace over demanding landscape.

The 0-60 m.p.h. time is 7.8 seconds, and fast passing on highways is no problem.

Towing capacity is 6,500 pounds, which means that a variety of boats can be hauled. Trailer-sway controls helps keep things in line.

Estimated fuel economy isn't a bright spot: 15 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on highways. The fuel tank holds 23 gallons, and 91-octane fuel is called for.
The GX 460 is becoming a bit dated, having its last major redo about 11 years ago. It has old-style truck-based body on frame construction, although this isn't a drawback when rugged work is needed.

The hatch door swings out to the curb, which can be inconvenient when loading cargo. But the hatch swings open wide for easy access. Cargo room is decent with the third-row seat in place. Total cargo room with the second- and third-row seats flipped forward is 64.7 cubic feet.

The GX 460 seats seven passengers when the regular second-row and third row seats are in place.  The split third-row seat folds conveniently into the floor, although it's best suited for children. My test vehicle had second-row captain's chairs that slid forward and allowed easy access to the third row.

However, access to any row calls for extra effort because the GX 460 is tall at nearly 74 inches. Narrow illuminated running boards help provide entry for shorter folks, but can get in the way for taller ones with large shoe sizes. The view is good once inside the quiet interior, which has easily read gauges, manual dashboard controls if a driver doesn't wish to use the 8-inch touchscreen and many luxury items you would expect in a Lexus.

Such equipment includes a pushbutton start, tilt-telescopic wheel, lots of wood, leather and brushed aluminum trim, heated front seats, three-zone climate control, a 17-speaker, 330-watt surround sound audio system and a panoramic view system that lets occupants see front, rear, side and even under-vehicle views.

Safety features include a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, high-speed dynamic radar cruise control and lane departure alert, besides lots of air bags.

Resale value for the Lexus GX is quite good. This is said to be the last year for this SUV, at least in its present form. If there's a successor, let's hope it's at least as capable.


Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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