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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2016 LEXUS GX 460 REVIEW


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HEELS ON WHEELS

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel


INTRO TO THE GX 460 VEHICLE
The Lexus GX 460 represents a more traditional luxury SUV, making quite an impression through prominent exterior styling and a decked out interior. Loaded from head to taillight, the vehicle can deliver locations upon verbal request and even apply the brakes for you – yet proves to have major off-road capabilities with its advanced performance technology.

I drove a 2016 Lexus GX 460 with the 301-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 engine with 329 lb-ft of torque teamed to a six-speed automatic and full-time four-wheel drive. Available in one model, all GX 460 vehicles are equipped with a fold-flat third row; standard leatherette upholstery and interior surfaces; multi-zone climate control; a power moonroof; a rear back-up camera; Lexus Premium nine-speaker audio system; push-button start; eighteen-inch alloy wheels. The starting price for a Lexus GX 460 is $50,780 without options.

Viewed for its luxury, the Lexus GX 460 actually has excellent tough-terrain abilities and is often mentioned in off-road magazines. Competitors are few for the special category but include both the Land Rover and Range Rover.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: Plush is the optimal word to describe the interior. Aside of the mentioned standards, my test drive included the several options and packages including the Premium (heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, eight-inch navigation display screen, Lexus Enform multimedia system) and the Luxury Package (safety technology like rear-cross traffic alert, blind spot monitor, a heated steering wheel, rear auto-leveling air springs). I also had the dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system and the upgraded Mark Levinson audio system that included a wider view backup camera angle. Unlike a traditional SUV liftgate, the GX 460 rear door swings open to the side like a refrigerator; some will find this annoying as it doesn’t feature a remote closure option from the key fob. The pop-up third row is cramped and difficult to get to.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2016 Lexus GX 460 is not rated by the National Highway Safety Transportation Association (NHSTA) or by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). In terms of seatbelt ease of use for smaller kids, I could have my five-year old do it with no help – not all cars design for families actually have seat belts that are quick to clip in for children.

Cost Issues: With a base price of $50k, the Lexus GX 460 isn’t exactly an affordable way to roll. With options, the final price of my test drive came to $67,825. I think moms who are searching for that safe feeling will opt for the GX 460, as it does possess a domineering presence. I find the crossovers are more manageable to park than these body-on-frame beasts, and have just as much luxury and technology.

Activity & Performance Ability: The powertrain hasn’t changed much in six years – it doesn’t need to, and its off-road ability simply cannot be matched. Overall, the ride inside the GX 460 is smooth, controlled and capable with that extra power only felt through a V8 engine. Adaptive suspension with three modes can help firm up the road feel. When properly equipped, the Lexus GX 460 can tow up to 6,500 pounds.

The Green Concern: Fuel economy estimates are 15-city/30-highway driving for an average of 17-mpg – pretty typical for a V8 engine. If you go with the Lexus RX 450h hybrid crossover, you can retain an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 31-city and 30-highway for a combined claim of 30 miles-per-gallon with front-wheel drive, which I was able to retain during a recent week-long test drive.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
Put simply, the 2016 Lexus GX 460 is for families that actually need real capability in an SUV and do plan on using it and also appreciate luxury and have the cash to support it, as this vehicle can get pricey with the many must-have options. You won’t find a V8 engine in any of Toyota’s other SUVs, so if you’re brand loyal prepare to be steered into this one.

©2016 Katrina Ramser Parrish

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