$20,834 - $22,270

2011 Lexus GX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Lexus GX was new.


Performance: 7.4

The redesigned Lexus GX offers a smooth ride, a powerful and fuel-efficient V8 engine and competent off-roading abilities. However, a few reviewers still complain that its body-on-frame construction leads to a less-than-serene experience.

  • "Unfortunately, the GX doesn't shine on-road. The no-feel steering and mushy brake pedal kill cancel any chance of this ride appealing to driving enthusiasts. The vehicle's nose dips during even modest brake applications and there's noticeable squat during acceleration." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Sounds complicated for sure, but the GX's ride quality on pavement and off-road is exceptional. Anyone who says a body-on-frame vehicle can't be forced to dance hasn't driven a GX.” -- Edmunds
  • "With all the stability control, ABS and other systems aboard, it's nearly impossible to get into trouble with the GX 460, but it's hard to find any fun either." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "During our mild off-roading, we found the vehicle to be confident in the dirt. On the highway, the GX's ride is comfortable, and it handles well in the turns. It doesn't have the same level of ride comfort as a crossover, (but it's closer than you might think), and you will feel some bumps here and there." -- Truck Trend

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Lexus GX 460 has a 4.6 liter V8 that makes 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Reviews oppinion on the GX's acceleration is mixed.  Some say the engine isn’t up to the GX’s weight; others say it is.

According to the EPA, the new GX is rated for 15 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. While those numbers aren’t great when compared to crossover SUVS, you won’t find better fuel economy in a luxury off-road vehicle. A plus is the Eco indicator light and graph, which let the driver know when the vehicle is being driven in the most fuel-efficient manner. For better fuel economy, you’ll have to give up the GX’s off-road skills and look at a crossover.

  • "Despite GX 460's considerable heft, acceleration is strong and exceptionally smooth in both around-town and highway driving. The transmission downshifts promptly for good passing punch." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Acceleration is adequate, but with 5300 pounds to lug around -- 500 or so more than before -- and a gearbox that's hesitant to downshift except under full throttle, the GX460 feels like it could use Toyota's larger 5.7-liter V-8." -- Car and Driver
  • "This powertrain has impeccable manners. It's quiet, smooth, and throttle responsive. Versus the V-6s common to the competition, Lexus has a definite advantage here." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "It's not until you pin the throttle down on a freeway on-ramp that the limitations of the V8's power become obvious. There isn't much noise and the power delivery is smooth, but the shove in your back quickly turns into a gentle nudge as your pace increases." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Test drivers offer mixed reviews on the GX's on-road handling. Its body-on-frame platform, shared with the Toyota 4Runner, means it doesn’t ride as smoothly as car-based crossover SUVs. Consider the Audi Q7 crossover for a smoother ride and a cheaper starting price.

  • "The traditional truck-type construction results in handling with marked cornering lean.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "We didn't get much time to sample dynamic behavior during our drive outside of San Diego, but the GX felt competent enough cruising down twisty back roads-considering the standard 18-inch wheels and high-profile tires-and the various suspension settings made a noticeable difference in ride quality." -- Car and Driver
  • “Around town, the light-effort steering and quick throttle response make the GX feel small, easy to drive and perfectly suited to the country club environment it will no doubt live in during most of its life. It doesn't have the impenetrable, military-grade feel of the Land Rover either.” -- Edmunds
  • "The compromised nature of the suspension is most apparent under hard braking where the GX's nose tends to dive like a dolphin. It's nowhere near dangerous, but that dive indicates just how tough it is to get the balance between off-road excellence and on-road competence right." -- Popular Mechanics


The Lexus GX shines off the beaten path, thanks to its standard with full-time four-wheel drive. Crawl Control, an optional feature, controls vehicle acceleration and braking at low speeds over difficult terrain. It is available with a variety of options packages, most of which add thousands of dollars to the GX’s price tag.

  • "The chassis package works remarkably well off road. Huge disruptions are taken in stride and the suspension never crashes noisily into the bump stops. The GX is also compact enough to slip through tight confines without littering trails with sacrificial parts." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "An available Crawl Control system can replace the latter and lets the vehicle creep over obstacles at driver-adjustable speeds below 3.7 mph. The system on our preproduction model, however, was anything but smooth, jerking noticeably as we crept back down the hillside, while the transfer case hesitated and grinded violently when we engaged low range.” -- Car and Driver
  • "While stopped at the bottom of a steep hill, we pressed the Crawl Control's appropriate console-mounted buttons (including one that allows you to set your speed from 1 to 3.7 mph). Then its feet off the pedals as the GX 460 clambered up the hill and then down the other side -- all we had to do was steer.” -- Edmunds
  • "But off-road, the GX 460 really works. The suspension is supple, and the ride is composed even when bounding over basketball-size ruts and football-size rocks. When the going gets tough, the GX 460 will crawl over obstacles with precision and dignity.” -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Another cool feature for off-roaders: the optional wide-view front and side monitor, which displays in the 8.0-inch touchscreen nav, uses cameras in the grille and under the passenger-side mirror to aid parking. However, you can set it to automatically stay on at speeds below six mph, especially useful if you're trying to get around rocks and debris while on the trail." -- Truck Trend

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