The 2022 Lexus GX 460 is a unique SUV among its peers. That’s mostly due to the fact that this second generation was introduced all the way back in 2009, first in China, and the following year in North America, being closely related to the Toyota 4Runner as well as the global-market Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. Despite its age, it has soldiered on as one of the most popular models in the brand.
Last year it saw a 15 percent increase in total sales over the previous, though, through October this year, deliveries are down 6.2 percent compared to 2021. Still, why are people still flocking to this old-school SUV? We took one on a 2,000-mile road trip to see if we could find out. Here’s how the GX 460 stacked up after all those miles.
Aggressive And Angular
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The GX has a presence about it. The ‘Spindle’ grille at the front is its most prominent feature. It flows backward from that point with hard angles and sharp design details that smooth out as they traverse the length of the body. The rear fenders for instance are much softer than the front end. Still, the back end isn’t totally devoid of rigid shapes. The rear window and tail lights do their best to bring the two ends of this SUV together.
Most GXs come with 18-inch wheels but the top Luxury trim adds 19s. Speaking of which, we drove one step below that, the Black Line Special Edition. It adds a black headliner, dark chrome exterior accents, black-accented 18-inch wheels, unique bumpers, and a black ash wood-trimmed interior.
As a person who’s not very interested in SUVs of this size, it grew on me over the week-long trip. Every passenger made positive remarks about it too. The GX certainly doesn’t make it that obvious that it shares a platform with the Toyota 4Runner.
A Familiar Family Space
The GX 460 contributes to Lexus’ reputation for its high-quality interiors. The panel gaps are tight, the switchgear feels good to use, and the little details are pleasing to the eye and the touch. The driver seat feels like a command center thanks to well-labeled buttons, knobs, and switches on each side of the wheel along with the wheel itself.
The black ash wood trim found in both the front and second-row looks and feels great too. The whole cabin benefits from outstanding sound deadening. It’s incredibly quiet regardless of speed and conditions outside. The sound system is good too but we’d ditch the trackpad and the older 10.3-inch infotainment system for the new one in the latest Lexus RX if at all possible.
Seating is a bit of a mixed bag. The front chairs are very supportive and feature some of the most aggressive bolstering in the segment. That bolstering is a bit wide for me but wider people will surely appreciate it. We’d love to see more adjustments from Lexus as our test vehicle had 8-way power-adjustable seats and most rivals go a lot further in order to tailor seat fitment to their driver. Still, it was easy enough for front occupants to get comfortable during the long trip.
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The second-row outboard seats are also very good. While they lack power adjustment, they’re still 4-way adjustable with manual slides and a manually-reclining seat back. Second-row legroom is great too thanks in part to scalloped front seat backs that add knee room. The middle seat in the back is a bit rough though if we’re honest. It’s not as well padded and as we had a total of five in our party, it meant using the third row for seating as opposed to cargo.
That third row is tight for most adults. It’s even tighter when you also need to use some of that space for cargo. And that’s because with the third row up in the GX 460 there’s almost no room whatsoever behind it. We managed to stuff some bike wheels, a bike repair stand, and a few other miscellaneous tools in that space but nothing else. With all three rows in place, there are only 11.6 cubic feet of storage back there.
One thing we can praise regardless of location in the GX 460 is the climate control. Sure, there might only be three zones but the system is strong and quiet at the same time. Roof-mounted climate vents also add to the efficiency. The overall experience in the GX is one of supreme comfort and calm. It’s an insulated and cozy place to spend time, especially if you’re in the third row with luggage next to you.
A Naturally Aspirated V8
Pop the very large hood of the GX 460 and you’ll find a lot of plastic. Beneath that lies a 4.6-liter V8 that develops 301 hp (224 kW) and 329 lb-ft of torque (445 Nm). It routes power to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox. Much like other aspects of the GX, it seems antiquated on paper. It gets an EPA-estimated 15 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway. That’s only good enough for 16 mpg combined.
We can confirm those numbers are spot on. It’ll actually pull a bit more than 19 mpg on the highway if you’re extremely careful though. We’re just glad it’s no worse. Rivals, like the Genesis GV80, in its most fuel-hungry configuration, get an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway for instance.
To our surprise, the V8 doesn’t feel nearly as old as those statistics might suggest. Around town and on the highway we found it to be very smooth, torque-rich, and rewarding. Punch it hard from a slower speed and it’ll take a healthy moment or two to downshift. Once it’s in the optimal gear it’s pretty fast for being so big. You can shortcut that system by moving the old-school gear lever into ‘Sport’ and downshifting before mashing the go pedal. If there’s anything slowing the GX down it’s the gearbox, not the engine.
Refined Ride Control
Put simply, the 2022 Lexus GX 460 is easy to pilot. That’s true whether the trip is short and sweet or literally spans multiple states at a time. Much of that ease comes down to refined driving dynamics. This might be a two-and-a-half-ton behemoth but it doesn’t feel like it. It doesn’t float or dart around the road. It feels lighter and smaller than it actually is. Some of that comes down to the excellent Kinematic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS).
To put it simply, instead of fixed stabilizer bars, the GX leverages split stabilizer bars that are automatically controlled in real-time to increase road holding ability or off-road articulation. The experience of going from highway speeds to off-road trails with no major difference in ride comfort is somewhat shocking. It’s an awesome system that we have a separate deep-dive article about.
And it’s this SUV’s ability to conquer both pavement and trails that make it stand out in its field. Sure, there are a few others that can accomplish the same tasks. And some have better features. But the GX has a proven record of hardcore reliability built up over the decades. That’s worth quite a lot on its own.
On top of that, steering input for an off-roader is met with intuitive responses from the front wheels. The accelerator and brake pedal likewise provide predictable and deft feedback and control. It’s not to say that these systems are perfect, but they provided a much better experience than we initially expected. Compared to similar vehicles in the same segment, the GX gives up very little in terms of its on-road experience and literally drives away from others on off-road trails.
Every 2022 GX 460 regardless of trim comes with Lexus’ Safety System+ suite. It includes dynamic cruise control, lane-departure warning, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, intuitive parking assist, and automatic high beams. During our trip, we had the chance to test most of these features, and most work very well.
The list of good performers starts with the dynamic cruise control. It has multiple distance settings and smooth operation in all settings. We also liked the pre-collision system which worked especially well when we were reversing. Not only does it spot crossing traffic but it alerted us to crossing pedestrians just as it should.
The automatic high beams were a bit of a mixed bag. They don’t have any delay at all so the moment they see a spot where the brights can be used they’ll pop on. That includes moments where an oncoming car is very clearly visible to you the driver but not yet to the system. The result is sometimes flickering and flashing high beams at times when they’re simply not appropriate. At the same time, when we were putting in hundreds of miles on the highway it was nice to set them and forget them.
The only disappointing feature was the lane-departure alert which seemed to have a mind of its own. At times it would alert immediately upon touching the lane marker and other times it would do nothing at all as we navigated from one lane to the other without signaling. It’s worth noting that most rivals have more safety tech from lane-keep assist or navigation-based dynamic cruise control that will slow for turns.
The 2022 Lexus GX doesn’t have all of the fanciest new tech available on the market. It doesn’t have a fuel-sipping futuristic powertrain. And it’s not dramatically less expensive than rivals to make up for its shortcomings. What it offers though is something that can’t be easily overlooked. And that’s rock-solid reliability and familiarity.
Owners won’t have to worry about some fancy feature failing on them unexpectedly. And that includes those who plan to take their GX far off-road too. Those qualities are big factors that contribute to the GX’s high residual value and why it’s one of the best off-roaders for those who plan on keeping it long, long after the warranty runs out.