2006 Lexus GX 470 Review


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2006 LEXUS GX470

SEE ALSO: New Car Buyer's Guide for Lexus

By Annabelle Frankl

“…Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

160 miles. 4 hours 11 minutes. This is the readout on the GX470’s navigation system, one that’s easy and intuitive to use and has me en

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route to Aspen from Denver, CO in no time at all. Admittedly it’s not too far but it can be quite an arduous drive if the clouds close in and the snow starts to fall. With a peak elevation of 10,850 feet along the way, there’s no lack of ‘weather’ to help put this luxury utility vehicle – as Lexus prefers to call it – through its paces.

Traffic is backed up out of Denver, crawling at a snail’s pace, and allows me time to get used to the truck’s interior, with it’s numerous features. It really is a great, rich-looking cabin, with plenty of leather surfaces, plus a Sport Package that adds Black Bird’s Eye Maple trim and dark graphite finish to the mix. Classic Lexus, basically, where everything is where it’s supposed to be and understated elegance is aimed at and attained. There’s no shortage of buttons on the dash and console; although climate and audio controls can be done on the touch screen, there are ‘normal’ buttons too. Finding an ‘optimal’ driving position is easy given the amount of power-adjustable parts and the front bucket seats are well-cushioned and comfortable.

Visibility is excellent and the GX470, although not as big as Lexus’ full-size LX470, sits you up fairly high on the road. A generous greenhouse gives the truck a nice, airy feel and between the power, heated mirrors and optional back-up camera, obstacle avoidance is optimized.

With traffic cleared I’m able to put my foot down and start heading uphill into the Rockies. The GX470 is powered by a 4.7 liter 270HP V8 with Variable Valve Timing. Teamed to a 5-speed electronically controlled automatic, there’s no shortage of power for passing slower vehicles, even as the altitude begins to climb. The route takes me past various resorts – Winterpark, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, Vail – and the mountain pass becomes steeper and more curvy at various points. The GX470 has wonderful road manners, the 17” alloys and 265/65SR17 Mud & Snow tires keeping a firm traction on the tarmac and the variable gear rack and pinion steering offering good feedback.

Various electronic aids are fitted as standard – Adaptive variable suspension, Vehicle Stability Control, ABS, Active Traction control, plus a Downhill Assist Control and Hill-Start Assist control. As I head up the hill the weather closes in suddenly and the snow starts to fall. By the time I reach the journey’s peak altitude, there’s a good covering of snow on the ground and some fairly slippy conditions. But, the GX470 is absolutely happy and at home and I don’t for a moment have any trouble. My progress continues as if the sun is still shining; I’m just slightly hampered by other vehicles who aren’t so sure-footed – or tired – in these conditions!

For those traveling in numbers, the GX470 offers seating for 8, with the two rear-most seats either folding up to the side and out of the way, or allowing you to remove them entirely and make the most of the cargo area. My GX470 has a 2nd row CD/DVD player plus wireless headphones…now if only I’d thought to bring a chauffeur along for the ride! The Mark Levinson 14-speaker, 240 watt premium Audio system included in the car’s Navigation / Audio package, provides excellent sound quality, although the placement of the 6-CD changer in the glove box feels a bit old school given the amount of vehicles that now integrate it into the dash.

Overall, superbly comfortable, very well-mannered on the road, even in slippery and snowy conditions and certainly cuts a stylish path through the well-heeled streets of Aspen, CO.

 

SPECIFICATIONS 

2006 Lexus GX470 

Base Price          $46, 225 
Price As Tested     $55, 407 
Engine Type         dual overhead cam, 
                           32-valve V8 with 
                           VVT-i variable valve timing 
Engine Size         4.7 liters / 285 cu. in. 
Horsepower          270 @ 5400 rpm 
Torque (lb-ft)      330 @ 3400 rpm 
Transmission        5-speed electronically-controlled automatic 
Wheelbase/Length    109.8 in. / 188.2 in. 
Curb Weight         4,871 lbs. 
Fuel Capacity       23 gal. 
Fuel Requirement    91 octane unleaded premium gasoline 
Tires               P265/65 SR17 Michelin 
Brakes, front/rear  vented disc / vented disc, 
                     ABS, EBD, Brake Assist standard 

Suspension, front/rear independent double wishbone, 
                     coil springs /live axle with 
                     4-link location and air springs 
Ground clearance    8.3 inches 
Drivetrain          front engine, full-time 4-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE

EPA Fuel Economy- miles per gallon city/highway/observed 15 / 19 / 16 0 to 60 mph 8.1 sec Towing capacity 6,500 lbs

OPTIONS AND CHARGES Navigation and Mark Levinson Audio Package - includes: Lexus DVD navigation system, backup camera with steering wheel voice command button, Mark Levinson 14-speaker 240-watt premium audio system $ 3,050

Sport Package - includes: black bird's-eye maple trim, dark graphite finish on center instrument panel, smoked bezel headlamps and foglamps, 17-inch alloy wheels w/dark graphite finish, roof rails with crossbars, dark-tinted backup lenses, chrome exhaust tip, Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) $1,800 Rear Seat Entertainment System – includes: CD/DVD player (in center console), 7” Screen, 2-Wireless headphones, Remote Control $ 1,560

Third Row seat – includes: Rear Air Conditioner $ 2,030

Cargo Mat $ 92 Destination charge $ 650

Complete specifications on the 2006 Lexus GX 470 Sport Utility and other vehicles are available at the New Car Buyers Guide!

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