Kissing cousin to the 4Runner, the Lexus GX460 was the upscale version of Toyota’s popular SUV. It had a body-on-frame design and had more stuff and a higher price tag, but featured the same basic body style, wheelbase, seating capacity, and driving experience.
In 2010 it received a re-design and power was provided by a 4.6 litre V8 that delivered 301 horsepower, mated to a six-speed automatic only. This engine was used elsewhere in Lexus’ line-up, and featured plenty of available power, was almost completely silent in operation, and, on the scale of things, no worse on gas than most of the competition.
The GX460 also came with all-wheel-drive, a Torsen centre differential, hill-start assist, and skid plates for the fuel tank and transfer case. So you could take it off-road with some degree of confidence. On some models you could also get an upgraded traction control system, an off-road cruise control set-up called “Crawl Control”, and a multi-terrain select feature....among other things. This last feature allowed you to vary the vehicle’s ABS system and aforementioned traction control system to suit different driving conditions.
Unlike the 4Runner, which could be kind of spartan, luxury abounded in the GX460. Standard kit included heated and ventilated front bucket seats, leather interior, push-button start, back-up camera, XM satellite radio, voice-command navi system, and an “Eco” driving guide. This last feature lets the driver know when he/she is driving sensibly via a small green “Eco” light on the dash that lights up when you’re light on the throttle pedal. One note here: the GX460’s V8 needed premium grade gas.
Other extras included a dual screen rear seat entertainment system with headphones and remote, better quality leather interior, adjustable suspension, heated steering wheel, and a lane-departure alert.
One interesting feature of the made in Japan GX460 came in the form of a two-piece tailgate. Like most SUVs, the rear window is activated remotely, and opens upwards to allow you to reach in and store groceries and so on, but the bottom section swings outward to the right, as opposed to folding straight out. Total storage capacity was 1832 litres, and the second row seats featured their own heat controls, while the third row seats fold completely flat.
One safety recall to report from Transport Canada, and it concerns the vehicle stability control system. Under certain driving conditions, such as going through a corner too quickly, the back end could break away and the driver will lose control. Re-programming the software in the system will sort this out, apparently.
The US National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration has five technical service bulletins out there for the GX460. These include the now-infamous accelerator pedal brouhaha, an upgrade alert for the electronic control unit (ECU), an unintended acceleration note, and a couple of service procedure updates.
Some complaints from owners: “every time I apply the brakes, I hear a squeaking noise”, “the brakes seem extremely mushy”, “the vehicle has front-end vibrations at 60-65 mph”, and “while I was driving and almost home, the right front wheel of my vehicle exploded”.
Consumer Reports loves this one. “The ride is quiet and comfortable and off-road capability is commendable”, they say, and it receives a “good bet” award from this organization. It gets top marks in every category, with the sole exception of the audio system. Overal,l it garners the best used car prediction grade C.R. offers and is on their “best of the best” list.
Marketing researcher, J.D. Power, meanwhile, is equally enthusiastic, but with some reservations. They bestow top marks for the GX460’s body and interior quality, as well as its overall mechanical quality, but hold back when it comes to overall performance and design and overall dependability. It receives good marks in these areas, but not the best. Still, it is an award recipient for this organization’s initial quality study for midsize premium crossovers and SUVs for the 2010 model year.
Unsurprisingly, the GX460 has held up well in terms of resale and residual value. From a base price of just under $70,000 new, it seems to be going for $40,000 to about $50,000 these days, depending upon equipment level. The Ultra version, which has all the bells and whistles, is valued at about $5000 - $6000 more than the Premium model.
2010 Lexus GX460
Original Base Price: $69,500; Black Book: $43,400 - $48,950; Red Book: $41,500 - $47,200
Engine: 4.6 litre V8
Horsepower/Torque: 301 hp / 329 ft. lb
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 14.1 city/9.8. Premium Gas
Alternatives: Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5, Range Rover, Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti FX50, Mercedes GL Class.