$38,911 - $45,174

2016 Lexus GX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Lexus GX was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 5.8

Most auto writers agree that the 2016 Lexus GX 460 has enough power for most daily driving, though some say it feels sluggish and could use more power at higher speeds. Reviewers report that the automatic transmission makes smooth shifts. The GX's suspension is tuned for impressive off-road ability, and its ride on pavement is less comfortable than that of some competitors, according to many test drivers.

  • "Though their numbers have rapidly diminished due to the popularity of the crossover, there still exist a few traditional, truck-like SUV models that can claw their way through treacherous trails and over steep hills - if that's the capability that you need, or would just feel safer knowing that you have, then you should give the GX 460 a close look." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "Despite its Lexus badging and posh interior, the GX 460's driving manners quickly give away the fact that this 3-row luxury SUV was built to conquer far more than freeways. The GX 460's fully boxed frame withstands the abuses of extreme off-road excursions, but it's not ideal on the asphalt where most drivers will use it most of the time. Overall ride quality is certainly acceptable, but it's not the pillow-soft refinement found in the 5-passenger Lexus RX." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Blessed with the proven on- and off-road DNA of its Toyota 4Runner and Land Cruiser cousins, the GX 460 is as adept at providing a smooth, quiet highway ride as it is nimbly working its way through a rugged, rock-strewn trail." -- Edmunds (2013)

Acceleration and Power

A 301-horsepower, 4.6-liter V8 engine powers the 2016 Lexus GX. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. According to the EPA, the GX gets up to 15/20 mpg city/highway, which is subpar for the class.

The GX's engine delivers adequate power for most situations, according to reviewers, but some note it can feel underpowered, especially at highway speeds. Critics agree the transmission makes smooth shifts, though a few report that it sometimes downshifts too slowly.

  • "On the positive side, the GX 460's strong 301-horsepower V8 and smooth-shifting 6-speed transmission will not only make it through rugged terrain but also tow trailers up to 6,500 pounds." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Acceleration from the mandatory V8 is adequate, though it's unusual to see a V8 these days with such a low hp rating, and you'll feel the lack of juice at higher speeds." -- Autotrader (2015)
  • "The GX 460's 4.6-liter V8 produces sufficient power for everyday driving, but can feel a little strained when called on to move the vehicle's bulk in situations like highway passing. The transmission is smooth, though it can occasionally be hesitant to downshift." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "Sure, you'd be wrong to expect stellar fuel economy from a big, rugged SUV, but the one area that really disappointed me about the GX 460 was the 460 part. Toyota's 4.6-liter V8 produces just 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque, and most of the time feels like it's struggling to motivate the 5,340-pounds (sic) SUV." -- Autoblog (2014)

Handling and Braking

Most test drivers agree that the 2016 Lexus GX sacrifices ride comfort and cornering ability on pavement for its off-road prowess. Still, a few think it feels composed over bumpy roads and note that its optional adaptive suspension improves comfort and handling. Some critics report that the GX's steering and brakes aren't very responsive.

  • "Ruggedly capable, with a robust fully boxed frame and off-road-oriented full-time 4-wheel-drive system, the GX 460 is less ideal on the pavement where most drivers will use it almost all the time, so do not expect the ride refinement and handling response of those luxury SUVs designed for asphalt rather than boulders." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "It can't match the handling sophistication of crossovers, but it's more wieldy than its off-roading prowess would suggest due to an available adaptive suspension … with computer-controlled dampers that automatically adjust to road conditions for improved responsiveness and ride comfort." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "[Y]ou'll likely find that many luxury crossovers feel more confident and sportier around turns. In the city, the GX 460 also feels subtly more trucklike than most of these crossovers, as its steering and brakes feel a bit slow to respond -- a consequence of Lexus' attempt to tune them for both on- and off-road use." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "For as big, bulky and rugged as this SUV is, it delivered a smooth, Lexus-spec ride. Speed bumps and expansion joints do little to upset the GX's balance." -- Autoblog (2014)

Off-Roading

Test drivers say the 2016 GX's standard full-time four-wheel drive, electronic locking center differential and two-speed transfer case help make it one of the most capable off-road SUVs in the class. The GX is also available with crawl control, which automatically controls the vehicle's speed so you can focus on steering.

  • "Few SUVs anywhere offer as capable a drive system as the GX 460. It … maintain[s] traction at all four wheels, no matter the surface or weather." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "This SUV packs the right gear for heading off the beaten path, including a two-speed transfer case for its four-wheel-drive system and a crawl control system that lets the driver set a speed from 1 to 3.7 mph that the vehicle will automatically maintain - even when traveling through ruts, clambering over rocks or traversing sandy inclines." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "Leave the pavement behind, though, and the Lexus GX 460's full-time four-wheel drive and available Crawl Control feature could very well make you feel invincible. Select one of Crawl Control's three speed presets, and the computer takes over both the accelerator and brake pedal, leaving you to concentrate on steering with a minimum of fuss." -- Edmunds (2015)

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