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.