The GX is one of two large-sized body-on-frame offerings of Lexus. In the local market, it goes against the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE; all of which are unibody in construction. While often compared to its 'cousin' the Toyota Prado, of which it is based on; some may refer to it as an "overpriced Toyota". Does the Lexus badge add more zing to the GX? We drive it to see how much more it can offer.
Currently in the its middle of its lifecycle thanks to a 2014 update, the GX was adorned with the brand’s signature 'spindle' grill which was first introduced with the LF-Gh concept in 2011. It also received a new set of headlamps which features LED lighting and daytime running lights. The tail lamps were also slightly tweaked with clear lenses and LED illumination along with the rear bumper. Finishing off the exterior changes is a new set of wheels.
While the spindle design is a debatable topic amongst many, I personally like how it brings the GX's design up to the times flanked with the headlamps. It is a good execution of the 'L-Finesse' design, coupled with Japanese minimalism.
The interior is virtually the same as the pre-facelift version. With the current model gaining a new touchscreen entertainment system with navigation. Timeless as it may seem, I personally think it begins to show its age, especially with newer offerings from its German competitors.
Audio playback is through the Lexus premium audio speakers; the optional Mark Levinson speakers would have sweetened the deal a lot more though. Despite that, it does offer the basic modern connectivity features in the form of Bluetooth audio and telephony, iPod, AUX and USB.
Under the hood, is the carried over 4.6-liter 1UR-FE V8 which outputs 301 PS and 446 Nm of torque. Initially introduced in 2005 as a replacement for the venerable 2UZ-FE V8 engine for the Middle East market, the engine was eventually fitted to global models in 2010.
The potent engine is quiet and smooth with a lot of power on tap. However, if you don’t control your foot on the throttle, you may be alarmed at the rate consumption of the this V8-powered 4x4. The fuel expenses will remind you that it is sends fuel to eight cylinders while slogging along Metro Manila traffic. While the transmission seems well-matched with the engine, having an extra gear could help with efficiency.
With a really (really) light foot in minimal traffic, I managed to get about 4.8 kilometers to a liter. With traffic or a heavier foot, you’d be glad to even log about 3 kilometers to a liter. As the saying goes, luxury comes at a price, In the case of the GX460, it's in the form of fuel economy. Fortunately, highway consumption numbers were quite comforting at 7.5 kilometers to a liter.
Suspension consists of a double-wishbone front and multi-link rear which are very capable both on and off road, if going to the outdoors in luxury is your thing. The KDSS (Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System) active suspension control automatically adjusts for selectable Sport, Comfort or Normal drive modes. It also comes with height adjustment where you can raise or lower the vehicle depending on driving condition.
You’ll love 'comfort' mode where it is best used in speeds of 60km/h or below (city driving) and it virtually absorbs whatever Philippine roads may throw at it (ghetto not included, of course). In sport mode on the highway, it moves confidently with a good amount of roadholding considering its heft.
While technically not as old, the Lexus GX 460 is beginning to show wrinkles here and there when placed alongside the competition; especially when we step inside. Officially on its eighth year as a second generation model and fourth year through its facelift, the GX still manages to charm its way with the firm and delicate character only found in a Lexus. And thanks to the JPEPA, it offers a nearly one million (Pesos) of reasons as well with its pricetag of 5,588,000, way below the mid six million range the competition sells in.