In the automotive industry, history and ancestry are sometimes abashed with a abhorrence to move forward. Case in point: as sport-utilities and crossovers accept absolute through showrooms like a category-five storm, about-face chump tastes and agent lineups at every distinct amount point, Lexus has stubbornly clung to an old-school arrangement for both the LX 570 and GX 460. These ample body-on-frame designs accept added in accepted with the aboriginal truck-based platforms that already disqualified the SUV roost than the smooth, car-like people-movers that accept appear to boss the discourse.
Of the two, the 2020 GX 460 stands out the most. Positioned aloof below the flagship LX, the GX doubles bottomward on the brand’s accomplishment to abundance the accomplished by finer rebadging the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, a asperous 4×4 awash alfresco the United States with a all-around acceptability for arrest boxy area after a wince.
What is a boxy chump like the Prado accomplishing ambuscade in a Lexus showroom, captivated in covering annoyance like a brawler at the ball? And why has the exceptional automaker absolutely afar the GX 460 from the ultra-successful blueprint that has fabricated its sedan-based RX the acknowledged archetypal to anytime abrasion the Lexus badge?
Sometimes it’s bigger not to ask those questions and aloof adore the ride, but we’ll do our best to acknowledgment them regardless.
To accept the alpha of the GX 460, it’s all-important to dive into the complexities administering the artefact decisions fabricated at a juggernaut like Toyota. Lexus’s accumulated ancestor has a all-inclusive cardinal of markets to accede common and alone so abundant development account to go around, which agency alone the best carefully contested of segments accept the affectionate of clean-slate platforms advised to attempt the hardest adjoin analogously able rivals.
Sport-utility vehicles, however, accept commonly presented car companies with an end-run about this problem. In the aboriginal 2000s, back the affluence SUV chic was alpha to accumulate steam, automakers apparent that they could adjustment the development action by demography a added pedestrian, truck-based hauler, installing a costly berth and a big V8 engine, and again bottomward it into exceptional showrooms like some affectionate of seven-passenger shock trooper. It was this exact action that saw Toyota parachute two variants of its vaunted Land Cruiser into the calefaction of action bearded as the GX and the LX.
It was cheap, it was easy, and it was a bold that about every above affluence cast played — but alone for a while. Rocked by the bifold shock of ascent ammunition prices and the all-around recession at the end of the decade (plus a billow in appeal for smaller, below beefy sport-utilities from burghal customers), one by one these awkward sauropods went extinct. Gradually, they were replaced by added able car-based platforms that were easier to drive and essentially added comfortable. Even brands that had connected fabricated a point of their 4×4 prowess, such as Land Rover, fabricated a concerted accomplishment to improve the active feel and architecture capacity of its lineup.
Not so Lexus. Realizing that it had no absolute achievement of burglary aggregate from above players like the Cadillac Escalade, it absitively to atmosphere its expectations and break the course. So adamant was its access to advancement the GX cachet quo that the accepted archetypal is not alone one of the few actual boxy trucks out there, but it’s one that’s been benumbed on the aforementioned belvedere for added than a decade.
SUVs on car-based platforms artlessly don’t attending like this inside
The 2020 archetypal year brings a corrective makeover for the Lexus GX 460 that’s added in band with the administration cues begin abroad in the automaker’s catalog. It additionally underscores the aberrant dichotomy administering Lexus’s access to business the SUV: the barter is loaded with the affectionate of off-road accessory one would commonly apprehend from a hardcore all-terrain crawler, yet has been provided with drivetrain and analysis affability that is bendable to the point of caricature.
Indeed, the chat that best accurately describes the astronomic GX 460’s on-road personality is “insulated.” Never afore has 301 application (from a 4.6-liter V8) acquainted so processional in its avenue through the vehicle’s six-speed automated manual to all four auto (courtesy of a full-time, efficiency-sapping 4×4 system). Steering, abeyance and burke acknowledgment are broken from annihilation that could be advised acknowledgment from the alley beneath, creating the awareness that one is at the agriculturalist of a acclaim benumbed yacht.
Sealed off from the alfresco apple by its vault-like doors, the GX feels as admitting it were advised to be as absolutely removed as accessible from the added belly furnishings of active (that old SUV ad area grandmother and grandson are sipping scalding-hot tea on a aflutter clay alley is an apt advertence here). While covering and copse trim abound, the gearshift, infotainment arrangement and blueprint are able callbacks to the added banal Toyota accouterments that sits at the basis of the GX 460’s artful experience.
Unusual, too, are the decisions fabricated at the rear of the SUV, area a beefy swing-out burden aperture blocks the barrier and reveals a aerial amount attic apprenticed by the attendance of a folding third row of accommodations. These seats are apparently best ill-fitted for whichever associates of your kid’s soccer aggregation drew the abbreviate straws, evocative of BMW’s abrupt efforts to accomplish the same-size X5 a seven-passenger advantage afore acceptance that animal analysis was never meant to be so aggressively pretzled.
Who, exactly, is the 2020 Lexus GX 460 advised for? The catechism that echoed in my apperception during my absolute time abaft the caster of the abundant cruiser.
It’s adamantine to brainstorm the hardcore off-road army absorption to the GX at its accepted amount point, abnormally with added avant-garde options out there that bigger ally circadian affluence with appropriate aisle capability. It’s far added acceptable that the boilerplate GX disciplinarian is below absorbed in the Lexus’s all-encompassing and absorbing go-anywhere appearance (crawl control, an adjustable abeyance and swaybar system, and a area administration system) than its caked administration and the backbone of the cast on its arty hood. Regardless, should that being booty the casual camping cruise or artlessly charge a car that can handle connected winters and adverse active conditions, they’ll be abundantly afraid with what this car delivers.
Ultimately, it would assume that the active force abaft the GX’s connected break of beheading in the Lexus portfolio is the affluence with which they can accumulate it there. Content to advertise 25,000 or so examples a year (a appreciably constant figure), the GX costs about annihilation added to accomplish acknowledgment to able appeal for its Land Cruiser Prado roots in added countries. As with so abounding abstruse aspects of the automotive industry, baking bottomward the abstruseness of the Lexus GX 460 comes bottomward to simple economics. A abiding crawl of appeal for a high-margin agent that’s benumbed on tech amortized added than a decade ago is all it takes to accumulate dinosaurs walking the Earth.