2015 Lexus GX460 Luxury review notes: Ready for some dirt

Photo: 2015 Lexus GX460 Photo 1

Lexus‘ midsize SUV good for the pavement, but at home off-road

EDITOR WES RAYNAL: The GX is the safari-ready Toyota Land Cruiser Prado in the rest of the world, while the truck we call Land Cruiser is the Land Cruiser V8 elsewhere. Got that?

Anyway, the GX is sort of a mix of old and new. The platform is old-school full-frame 4Runner (not Tundra, as I’ve seen reported elsewhere) while the interior is modern(ish), trimmed in wood and soft-touch materials, and is muy comfortable. The seats are nice and soft and wide for my fat butt. It’s also huge in there, easily swallowing coolers full of drinks for 100-something people at a grad party.

The ride is gentle and friendly regardless of suspension setting. Comfort mode is perfect for potholed Detroit. Normal firms things up a bit. The Sport setting (ironically named, in my opinion) firms things up further, but is still just fine in terms of comfort. I locked ’er into sport and left it there.

No complaints about the V8 — it’s silky and plays well with the trans, moving this heavy dude along nicely. The overall driving experience is low on sporty fun but high on refinement, as it should be with a Lexus. Even over terrible pavement (or I would imagine some off-roading) the GX is smooth and comfy. And by the way, I bet this is a lot better off-road than we’d guess.

Athletic it ain’t. Silky and comfy it definitely is.

Photo: 2015 Lexus GX460 Photo 5

CONTENT DIRECTOR RORY CARROLL: What a novelty, an SUV that doesn’t feel like it would be totally lost if it had to leave the pavement. The GX460 is an SUV in the tradition of the best old Range Rovers, Gelandewagens and Grand Cherokees — it’s a seriously capable vehicle in a luxury wrapper. I didn’t get much time with it, but I spent all of it wishing I was somewhere that only a real SUV could take me. I think that’s supposed to be the point of these things.

Inside, the GX460 is typical Lexus. It’s not that they’re necessarily bad, but materials and assembly are closer to Cadillac, Lincoln and Infiniti than Mercedes and Audi. For the longest time, I thought that Lexus was behind the Germans in some refresh cycle and that Lexus interiors would eventually leapfrog to the front of the pack. But having driven a few all-new Lexus products in recent months, it seems not to be a matter of being behind so much as a conscious choice to build cars differently from their competitors. As far as comfort and utility, the interior delivers, but it’s not going to impress anyone.

That said, if it was between the GX460 and German crossover with better road manners and a fancier interior, I’m taking the GX460 every time. I guess I’m not ready to resign myself to the possibility of a life devoid of adventure.

Photo: 2015 Lexus GX460 Photo 9

Options: Dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system ($1,970), Mark Levinson premium audio ($1,145)

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