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MSRP: $52,155 - 63,530

2018 Lexus GX Review

The 2018 Lexus GX might look prim and proper, but it's actually a stout SUV with superb towing and off-roading abilities. However, it sits near the bottom of the luxury midsize SUV class. Its trucklike handling might be too rough around the edges for some, and it doesn't have the most updated technology.

Pros & Cons

  • Outstanding off-road capability
  • Good towing capacity

 

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Unexceptional cabin comfort and features
  • Small, inconvenient cargo area
  • Weak acceleration

 

Is the Lexus GX a Good SUV?

You won't find many luxury midsize SUVs that are lavish enough to shepherd you to posh events and brute enough to tackle challenging off-road courses. The 2018 Lexus GX is one of those odd balls, however. It feels planted no matter the terrain, despite its trucklike ride. The GX is a decent vehicle overall, but it lacks what most shoppers look for in a luxury SUV: a relaxing ride, good fuel economy, and high level of comfort and sophistication. You’ll find these in many other rivals.

Should I Buy the Lexus GX?

If you like the Toyota 4Runner for its trucklike ruggedness and off-road prowess but wish it was a bit more upscale, you will probably like the Lexus GX. It not only comes with finer-quality materials, but it also has a standard four-wheel-drive system, off-road-ready components, and a heavy-duty build quality. If you’re looking for the ride and feel of a pickup truck, you'll be pleased with the GX. If not, then you’re better off with a more elegant and refined luxury SUV like the Volvo XC90. You can also reduce your spending by selecting the smaller and more refined Lexus RX.

Compare the GX, XC90, and RX »

Should I Buy a New or Used Lexus GX?

There are no major changes for the 2018 Lexus GX. You can save money by getting get an older model with similar features. Since the GX's second generation arrived for 2010, there have been small changes throughout the years. For 2014, the GX gained a new infotainment system and refreshed exterior styling. Siri Eyes Free connectivity became standard for 2015, and second-row captain's chairs became available for 2017.

If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Lexus GX. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about incentives on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Lexus GX »
We Did the Research for You: 40 Reviews Analyzed

Our Lexus GX 460 review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 40 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision. This 2018 Lexus GX overview includes relevant reviews and data from the 2010 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been helping consumers make informed car-buying decisions since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. We don't accept expensive gifts, trips, or incentives from car companies, so you can trust that our reviews are impartial. Additionally, a third party handles all ads on our site.

How Much Does the Lexus GX Cost?

The 2018 Lexus GX appears in three versions: the GX 460 ($52,155), the GX 460 Premium ($56,300), and the GX 460 Luxury ($63,530). Its retail price is similar to that of a base Mercedes-Benz GLE or Land Rover Discovery.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

Lexus GX Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Lexus GX or Mercedes-Benz GLE?

If off-roading excursions are rare for you, consider the Mercedes-Benz GLE over the GX. The GLE is a 2-row SUV that can comfortably carry a party of five in its lavish cabin. More than that, the Mercedes-Benz has higher predicted reliability ratings, tons of advanced safety features, and exceptional crash safety test results.

Which Is Better: Lexus GX or BMW X5?

If you're looking for on-road agility, skip the GX and go for the BMW X5. The X5 has a roster of muscular engines, athletic handling, and a smoother ride than the GX. Its interior materials are far nicer as well. The X5 offers superior fuel economy and better infotainment features. We named the X5 our 2018 Best Luxury 3-Row SUV for Families.

Which Is Better: Lexus GX or Acura MDX?

The Acura MDX is a remarkable value in the luxury midsize SUV class. Its starting price is about $7,900 lower than the GX’s, but the MDX has a long list of standard infotainment and safety features that require few, if any, upgrades for the average shopper. While the MDX has a slightly lower predicted reliability rating, it’s still a better SUV overall.

Compare the GX, GLE, and X5 »

GX Interior

How Many People Does the GX Seat?

You can seat seven people in the base GX 460. It's outfitted with split-folding bench seats in the second and third rows and power-adjustable front seats. Comfort is decent in the front seats, but adults will find that the GX becomes less accommodating the farther back you sit. Opting for the available second-row captain's chairs is a good compromise if you regularly carry larger passengers. GX 460s with this option can carry six people.

GX and Car Seats

The GX 460 has three clearly marked tether anchors in the second row. Its two sets of lower anchors are recessed deep in the seat cushions, but otherwise installing a child safety seat takes little effort.

GX Interior Quality

The GX comes standard with NuLuxe, a synthetic leather upholstery, and high-grade elements like perforated leather seats and mahogany wood trim appear in upper trim levels. The GX's styling is handsome, but in its eighth year, it's starting to feel long in the tooth.

GX Cargo Space

With 64.7 cubic feet with both rear rows folded down, the GX 460 has a smaller maximum cargo capacity than most 3-row SUVs. Its rear tailgate swings out toward the passenger side, making curbside loading an awkward affair.

GX Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The GX 460 comes with an 8-inch touch screen, voice commands through Siri Eyes Free, and access to lots of music sources. While the interface isn't overly complicated, its graphics and copious amount of buttons make the system feel dated, especially alongside high-tech rivals like the Audi Q7.

Read more about interior »

GX Performance

GX Engine: Good for Towing

Under the hood of every Lexus GX 460 is a 4.6-liter V8 engine. Cranking out 301-horsepower, this V8 is meaty enough to tow up to 6,500 pounds (a higher rating than the BMW X5 and Acura MDX). It isn't as adept when it comes to accelerating briskly, and its six-speed automatic transmission downshifts in a lazy fashion, adding to the SUV's languid, heavy demeanor.

GX Gas Mileage: Not Great

With its V8 engine, the GX 460 is one of the thirstier models in our luxury midsize SUV rankings. It gets 15 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway.

GX Ride and Handling: Outstanding Off-Road, Hefty On-Road

A four-wheel-drive system comes standard in the GX 460, and options like crawl control (a system that maintains a low speed) are available. Its truck-style construction helps it tackle off-road terrain better than a crossover SUV. This also results in a stiffer ride on the highway, though it doesn't feel overly harsh. Steering takes little effort, but overall, the GX handles with less poise than almost all vehicles in the class.

Read more about performance »

GX Reliability

Is the Lexus GX Reliable?

The 2018 GX has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power, which is average for the class.

Lexus GX Warranty

The 2018 GX comes with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

GX Safety

GX Crash Test Results

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has fully evaluated the 2018 Lexus GX, which is normal for select luxury vehicles.

GX Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard in the GX. Available safety features include forward collision warning, automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, a driver attention monitor, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, and a wide-view front and side camera system.

Read more about safety »

Which Lexus GX Model Is Right for Me?

Every 2018 GX 460 comes with the same engine (a 4.6-liter V8), the same transmission (a six-speed automatic), and four-wheel drive. The main difference among the three trim levels – GX 460, GX 460 Premium, and GX 460 Luxury – is the level of features in each. If you relish the feel of genuine leather, you'll want to start with the midlevel GX 460 Premium. This model marks about a $4,200 price increase over the base trim. Not to worry if that's too rich for your blood; the entry-level GX 460 comes nicely equipped, and you have the option to add navigation, advanced safety features, and heated and ventilated front seats.

Lexus GX 460

The Lexus GX 460 ($52,155) includes an 8-inch touch screen, two USB ports, a 120-volt power outlet in the cargo area, Siri Eyes Free, a nine-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, NuLuxe upholstery (Lexus' synthetic leather), 10-way power-adjustable front seats, and a rearview camera.

Lexus GX 460 Premium

Standard features in the $56,300 GX 460 Premium include perforated leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, tri-zone climate control, navigation, smartphone integration via the Enform App Suite, rain-sensing wipers, and front and rear parking sensors.

Lexus GX 460 Luxury

Prices for Lexus' range-topping GX 460 Luxury model start at $63,530. Unlike the standard configuration, this is a six-seat SUV with captain's chairs in the second row. Also included is a power-folding third row, an adaptive variable suspension system, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

See 2018 Lexus GX specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Lexus GX is one of the few SUVs in this price range that fuse luxury accommodations, seating for seven, and outstanding off-road chops. It is also predicted to be one of the most reliable vehicles you can buy. Fans of pickup trucks will appreciate the GX's rugged four-wheel-drive abilities and trucklike handling. For many, though, these traits create an SUV that's too coarse for everyday driving. Add unexceptional cabin features and technology, and the GX falls behind many swankier, more modern rivals.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Evaluated in isolation, the 2018 Lexus GX 460 will probably wow you with its luxury-lined cabin, expansive features and smooth on-road ride. The trouble is that it has a rather dated design with diminishing appeal. In comparison, virtually every one of the GX 460's three-row luxury SUV rivals offers superior driving manners, interior space, power and fuel economy. They have even more features and are even more comfortable. Of course, there are still some things to like about the GX 460, including its rugged, trucklike construction, commanding driving position, and the latest and greatest off-roading hardware Lexus has to offer. … At the same time, its trucklike construction significantly reduces its interior space and cargo-carrying versatility. … In the end, there's just not enough to the 2018 Lexus GX 460 to warrant a recommendation. It's compromised no matter how you look at it." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2017 Lexus GX 460 luxury midsize SUV is reassuringly old-school. This is a tough, go-anywhere kind of vehicle, featuring truck-like construction and standard all-wheel drive with a dual-range transfer case. In contrast to most modern luxury crossovers, which employ unibody platforms optimized for the suburbs, the GX is based on the same body-on-frame platform that underpins Toyota's 4Runner SUV, prioritizing off-road performance like every SUV used to do. Naturally, the GX also feels civilized. Thanks to a soft suspension, fancy features and standard 3-row seating, it can function as a high-end family vehicle. It's perhaps surprising Lexus didn't use richer interior materials in this costly conveyance, but the smooth V8 engine provides some consolation. Don't expect precision handling in corners, though. The GX is happiest when pointed straight ahead." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "With a leather-lined interior as well as robust body-on-frame construction, the GX 460 is Lexus' answer to those seeking a cushy SUV that can still perform off-road when necessary." -- Left Lane News (2017)
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