The 2018 Lexus GX 460 is a large, plush three-row sport utility vehicle that transports seven occupants in style but has the ruggedness to venture off road. It’s largely unchanged from the 2017 edition.
Sales have increased yearly since the GX 460 was introduced in 2010. The luxury SUV segment is appealing to more buyers simultaneously seeking prestige and versatility.
Available in base, premium and luxury offerings, the GX 460 has uniform specs. All trims include 4.6-liter, 32-valve, V8 engines with 301 horsepower, six-speed transmissions and all-wheel drive. Second-row captains chairs are the only major interior design option. The improved leisure reduces the seating capacity to six.
Regardless of seating choices, comfort remains a Lexus strength. There are 10-way power-adjustable front seats, a second-row bench seat with a 40/20/40 split, and a third-row bench seat with a 50/50 split. Other seating options include perforated leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats and a power-folding third row.
In some respects, driving a luxury SUV is a contradiction. Transporting office supplies, lumber, children en route to sporting endeavors or golf clubs seems illogical in leather seats and other top-line equipment. But it’s a thing now, and the Lexus does it well.
The GX 460’s smooth ride is immediately noticeable, and it’s enhanced by the SUV’s high seating position. It helps give the Lexus a superior view of the road. Sizable, well-placed mirrors, lots of glass and low doorsills help. The large camera screen and its superior graphics add to the strong visibility marks.
The high seats have one caveat: the step-up into the vehicle is higher than in other SUV sand crossovers. Grab handles help the process.
Despite more than 300 horsepower and V8 power, the Lexus isn’t particularly quick. It advances from 0-60 miles per hour in a pedestrian 7.8 seconds. The transmission is smooth between gears and the GX 460 is surprisingly nimble while scooting around town. The turning radius is short and the steering wheel has an impressive telescoping adjustment.
The Luxury trim, included in my test vehicle, featured standard equipment from other trims, including 10 airbags, a rearview camera, active head restraints and Bluetooth for handsfree telephone calling. There’s also cruise control, a moonroof, 18-inch wheels, power front seats and an 8.0-inch touchscreen. The heated, mahogany steering wheel and shift knob add class.
But there’s no bargain in any Lexus vehicle, most notably in the GX 460. The Driver Support Package ($4,340) includes a superior Mark Levinson sound system, Lane Departure Alert add more than a dozen other items. The Sport Design Package ($1,950) includes 18-inch, split six-spoke wheels, heated, tilting and sliding captain’s chairs and more than a half-dozen additional items. The rear-seat entertainment system adds another $1,970.
The powerful SUV has three substantial miscues. Its gas mileage ratings are woeful: 15 miles per gallon in city driving, 18 miles per gallon during freeway treks.
The design of front grille is polarizing. It’s ultra-modern and appreciated more by younger buyers than traditionalists. The sharp-edged, non-uniform shape is described with tempered criticism as upside down. It’s also been lambasted as reminiscent of mouth and teeth of the creature in the Alien movies.
The tailgate is the biggest issue with the new GX 460. It has a traditional vertical glass opening for quick access to the cargo area. But the gate operates horizontally from left to right. It’s an illogical and potentially dangerous opening and closing procedure from the street side of the vehicle.
With its high base price and nearly $12,000 of options and fees, the 2018 GX 460 costs $75,072. It’s a lot of car for a lot of money, with the latter difficult to justify.
Article Last Updated: December 28, 2017.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.