Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
Derived from the Toyota 4Runner platform, the 2018 Lexus GX 460 utilizes an old body-on-frame design that has been abandoned by almost every competitor. Yet despite its aging architecture, the 2018 Lexus GX 460 is loaded with the latest technology, luxury and safety features, making it a highly desirable 7-passenger vehicle.
You'll Like The 2018 Lexus GX If...
If you need your luxury SUV to be as capable off-road as on, a 2018 Lexus GX 460 has the credentials you’ve been looking for. Loaded with Lexus’ best features, the GX knows how to pamper its passengers even when it’s getting down and dirty.
You May Not Like The 2018 Lexus GX If...
You can find roomier and more comfortable seating in an Audi Q7, Infiniti QX60 or Mercedes-Benz GLS. If you need off-road ability, the Land Rover Discovery is every bit the GX’s equal. Looking for a luxurious SUV without the exorbitant price tag? Check out the sleek Mazda CX-9.
The 2018 Lexus GX 460 SUV carries over with only minor changes. A Semi-Aniline bench seat is now standard on the Luxury grade, while heated and ventilated front seats are made available on the base GX. The Sport Design Package gains captain’s-chair 2nd-row seating.
The 2018 Lexus GX 460 has 3-row, 7-passenger seating; a 40/20/40-split 2nd-row bench seat and flat-folding 3rd-row seat offer numerous configurations for people and cargo. Front-seat comfort is terrific, the second row is adequate for adults, and the third best for children. The base version has NuLuxe upholstery while the Premium trim gets real leather. Instrumentation is easy to see, and controls easy to reach but there are lots of them; the instrument panel’s center stack contains the sound and climate systems and in the center console are controls for the 4-wheel-drive system. It’s all finished impeccably.
The GX 460’s tall, square-shouldered shape is clear evidence of its robust off-road intentions; no rounded-over aerodynamic teardrop this. But that tall shape pays dividends. Entry and exit are high, but the doors are big, and ample standard running boards make the step easy. Some may like, some may dislike the rear door; it’s a side-opening arrangement, hinged on the right, which can make loading from curbside awkward and is inconvenient when carrying long stuff home from the lumberyard. On the other hand, for loading luggage or groceries you don’t have to lean in over a swing-down tailgate.
Due to its rugged platform and tall ride height, the 2018 Lexus GX 460 can’t deliver the same sporty ride and confident cornering as a car-based crossover SUV, but the trade-off is a firm-riding SUV with impressive off-road abilities. With its fully boxed frame, tall tires and full-time 4-wheel drive, the GX 460 can feel a bit brutish on rough pavement, even with Lexus’ Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System helping to lessen body lean. The same system works off-road by providing greater wheel articulation and traction when needed, making the GX one of the few luxury SUVs that can actually tackle more than deep snow and gravel roads. The GX’s 301-horsepower V8 offers plenty of power for hauling, as evidenced by the GX 460’s 6,500-pound tow rating. Unfortunately, fuel economy is far from optimal, ranking near the bottom of the class. If these shortcomings matter to you, an Acura MDX or Mercedes-Benz GLS will probably be a better fit.
The 2018 Lexus GX 460 has a base Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) right around $52,700; fully loaded, it easily tops $70,000. At its base price, the GX costs more than every likely competitor except the BMW X5, which is slightly higher, so it’s not a bargain item. But it is a quality piece of work, with great fit and finish and a proven record of dependable reliability. We recommend the GX 460 with the Premium package for its value for the money. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the GX 460. While the Lexus starts several thousand dollars higher than most competitors, it holds its value exceptionally well. In fact, in the past it has won the KBB.com Best Resale Value Award for Luxury Mid-Size SUV/Crossover. Inexpensive? No. Great long-term value? Yes.
In base form, the Lexus GX 460 is well equipped with a synthetic leather interior, wood trim, 10-way-power front seats, dual-zone climate control, rearview camera, power moonroof and power-operated tilt/telescope steering wheel — always a nice touch. Entertainment and phone connectivity are provided by a 9-speaker AM/FM/CD display audio system with 8-inch touch screen and Bluetooth, dual USB inputs and the new Siri Eyes Free iPhone compatibility. On the safety side, there are 10 airbags, active headrests to reduce the severity of whiplash, and Lexus’ Safety Connect system with 24/7 emergency services.
While the base GX 460 is a good value we recommend the Premium trim; it’s only slightly over $4,000 more but includes leather, 3-zone automatic climate control with interior air filter, mahogany trim, LED foglights and Intuitive Parking Assist. We think that represents reasonable value for the money. Top-line Luxury models include Adaptive Variable Suspension, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, captain’s-chair 2nd-row seating, power-folding outside mirrors, wood and leather-trimmed heated steering wheel and power-fold-flat 3rd-row seats. Other available options include a 17-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound audio system, the Driver Support Package and a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system.
KINETIC DYNAMIC SUSPENSION SYSTEM (KDSS)The GX 460’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) uses stiffer anti-roll bars attached to hydraulic cylinders that can increase or decrease resistance. On-road, the system helps the GX attain a more civilized ride than it otherwise would have, and off-road permits greater wheel articulation.COMPREHENSIVE FULL-TIME 4-WHEEL DRIVEEquipped with one of the most capable off-road systems on any SUV, the 2018 Lexus GX 460’s full-time 4-wheel-drive setup is one of its principal selling points. The Torsen limited-slip center differential includes electronic locking for better front-to-rear power distribution, while Active Traction Control ensures all four tires remain connected to the road (or ground) below.
Under the Hood
The 2018 Lexus GX 460 has a 4.6-liter V8 of 301 horsepower and a 6-speed automatic transmission. With its off-road intentions, the GX 460 has an impressive full-time 4-wheel-drive system with a 2-speed transfer case and lockable center differential. This capability does not arrive without a price, and that’s fuel consumption; the EPA numbers are 15-mpg city, 18-mpg highway and 16 combined. If, like most people, you drive on the pavement your taxes paid for, there are many alternatives that are more refined and use less gas, such as the Audi Q7, Acura MDX, Mercedes-Benz ML 350 BlueTec, Infiniti QX60 hybrid and BMW X5. All will beat the GX 460 in fuel economy, but not in climbing over, around and through boulders and mud. 4.6-liter V8301 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm329 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/18 mpg
In the 2018 Lexus GX 460, you’ll find a capable luxury SUV with a bit of dual personality. Derived from the Toyota 4Runner platform, the GX 460 utilizes an old body-on-frame design that has been abandoned by almost every competitor. Yet, despite its aging architecture, the 2018 Lexus GX 460 is loaded with the latest technology, luxury and safety features, making it a highly desirable 7-passenger vehicle. And while its ride and handling pale when compared to newer SUVs such as the Audi Q7 and Acura MDX, the GX 460’s off-road and towing capabilities exceed all but the Land Rover Discovery. Factor in Lexus’ reputation for quality and high resale, and the GX 460’s appeal becomes obvious.