$45,909 - $52,642

2017 Lexus GX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Lexus GX was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 7.1

The 2017 Lexus GX receives poor reviews for its performance, though it’s praised for its off-roading skills. Power and acceleration are weak when coming up to speed or on the highway, and fuel economy is among the worst in the class. Handling and ride quality are also unimpressive, with average comfort and unsteady cornering abilities.

  • "The Lexus GX 460 SUV gives you three rows of seating, rugged body-on-frame construction, a capable four-wheel-drive system and standard V8 power. If you're driving one, chances are you'll be able to tackle just about any terrain you encounter with ease." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2016)
  • "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. To help keep things in check, the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System can reduce body lean with its massive anti-roll bars or, when desired, can relax that control for increased suspension movement and superior traction when in the rough stuff." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The standard powertrain in the 2017 GX is a 301-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and four-wheel drive. The EPA estimates the GX’s fuel economy at 15 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway, which are very low estimates for the class.

The GX’s engine power and acceleration are only satisfactory for slower driving and quickly become inadequate when speeding up or at high speeds. A high curb weight contributes to the GX feeling underpowered. The transmission shifts smoothly but sometimes downshifts too late.

  • "Don't expect much in the way of straight-line speed. The GX 460's 301 hp is respectable, but in a vehicle that weighs nearly 5,200 pounds, it's outmatched when hitting a freeway on-ramp or going to pass on the highway (especially while towing). The six-speed automatic transmission is smooth, though occasionally it can be hesitant to downshift." -- Edmunds
  • "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)
  • "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 SUV." -- Autoblog (2014)

Off-Roading

The GX has excellent off-road capabilities, with standard four-wheel drive and other necessities like a limited-slip differential and traction control. An optional feature called Crawl Control maintains acceleration and braking, holding the GX to a slow speed over rough terrain.

  • "All seems right with the world when you leave the pavement behind, though. The Lexus GX 460's 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
  • "Few SUVs anywhere offer as capable a drive system as the GX 460. It includes a Torsen torque-sensing limited-slip center differential with electronic locking to distribute power evenly between front and rear wheels, and Active Traction Control to maintain traction at all four wheels, no matter the surface or weather." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "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 (2016)

Handling and Braking

Professional test drivers are split on the GX’s handling and steering characteristics for on-road driving. Some say it has a smooth and comfortable ride, while others think that aiming for off-road excellence hurts performance on pavement, with steering and brakes that are a bit slow to respond. Additionally, some critics say steering is unresponsive, and the car’s height makes it feel unstable through turns.

  • The GX is built on a trucklike body-on-frame architecture to allow for better off-road performance. But, as with trucks, this negatively affects handling and ride quality. Overall, the GX's handling is secure, and the optional adaptive suspension helps smooth out the ride, but crossover-based SUVs such as the Acura MDX will feel much better on the road. … steering and brakes on the GX are a bit slow to respond, likely a result of Lexus' attempt to tune them for both on- and off-road use." -- Edmunds
  • 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 that with computer-controlled dampers that automatically adjust to road conditions for improved responsiveness and ride comfort. Also included are adaptive stabilizer bars that firm up to reduce body roll during daily driving and can disconnect for better wheel articulation in the rough stuff." -- Left Lane News (2016)
  • "On the road, the GX 460 is a mixed bag. Its tall, slim build may work well for tight off-road trails, but it also makes the GX feel a bit claustrophobic, as if it hasn't yet expanded to its full width. That feeling doesn't inspire confidence in corners, where the GX could hardly be more out of its element." -- Autotrader (2015)

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