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2020 Lexus GX460 Review: The Daily Driven Off-Roader

The 2020 Lexus GX 460 traces its roots to the Prado seeing as in 2002, Lexus decided to produce a luxurious version of the highly capable SUV.

The original Land Cruiser can trace its roots back to 1950 when the United States government hired Toyota to produce a vehicle with similar specifications to the original Willys Jeep. The result birthed one of the world’s most successful line of off-roaders still in production almost 70 years later. In the mid-1980s, Toyota decided to build a smaller version of its iconic Land Cruiser, called the Land Cruiser Prado.

This week’s tester, the 2020 Lexus GX 460 traces its roots to the Prado seeing as in 2002, Lexus decided to produce a luxurious version of the highly capable SUV. The one we are testing this week sticks to a very simple formula, a robust powerplant, a comfortable ride, and a body on frame design equally happy on the road or off the beaten path. Furthermore, the luxury carmaker is no stranger to building some of the most reliable cars on the market. This level of heritage and off-roading prowess comes at a price, however, which in this case is $71,000, so let’s see how this iconic machine fares as a daily driver.

This second-generation GX 460 has been on the market since 2009 and Lexus has done their absolute best to try and keep the design looking fresh. Gone are the standard halogen headlights and small front grille design, replaced by Lexus’ enormous front end which most models share. Flanking its big mouth are two updated headlights equipped with LED daytime running lights.

Outback, the changes are slightly more subtle but equally as effective. New tail lights as well as a redesigned rear bumper help spice up the overall aesthetic. Our tester came fitted with the optional Sport Design Package (a $2,020 option) which is responsible for these neat exterior touches. The standard GX looks significantly more dated without it so we suggest opting for it. While some SUV’s are all show and no go, this is certainly not one of them.

The reason why all these new touches work so well has largely to do with the soft lines of the GX’s original design which have aged very well. This by no means looks like a 10-year-old vehicle from the outside, the inside, however, is another story.

A Classy But Dated Cabin

Transitioning to the inside of the 2020 Lexus GX immediately reveals its age. The interior remains largely unchanged, at least from a visual perspective, since its original release in 2009. The quality of the materials is certainly up to the standards expected of a Lexus and no intrusive rattles are depicting poor build quality. It just feels very dated, especially when looking at the center of the dashboard and the infotainment system which although has been updated, does not look it.

Digging further into the infotainment reveals some extra gremlins, mainly to so with the navigation system which turned up a blank screen a couple of times while navigating Miami’s southern edge. It is also worthwhile mentioning that this 2020 model did not come equipped with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. The major pluses in the interior were the large plush seats which were supremely comfortable and the nifty toggle switches for the off-roading components.

Directly to the right of the shifter, you’ll find four switches that control your ride height, ride stiffness, four-wheel-drive mode, and a hill descent feature. This is where the GX’s goods come into play. The switches are very easy to use and allow you to control your off-roading experience with ease.

A Heart That Won’t Stop Beating

Speaking of goods, under the hood you’ll find an absolute peach of an engine. It’s a 4.6 liter V8 producing 301 horsepower and 329 pounds-feet of torque. These figures may not seem like much considering the 5,4000+ pound curb weight but it manages to be incredibly smooth and did not feel lacking in any scenario. That is not this powerplant’s party piece, however, in a world of hybrid, turbo, and overly complicated engines, this V8 is as simple as can be and promises to be one of the most reliable cars currently available. The Land Cruiser line has long been praised for being bulletproof and this Lexus aims to continue that tradition.

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