2018 Lexus GX

Performance


$52,155 MSRP
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2018 Lexus GX Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.2

Underneath its refined appearance, the 2018 Lexus GX is all utility. This beefy SUV can off-road better than most in this class, though not everyone will be on board with its stiffer driving dynamics. Its V8 engine gives it powerful towing abilities (up to 6,500 pounds) but isn't especially brisk or fuel-efficient.

  • 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. In particular, its 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 (2017)
  • Because of its rigid chassis and off-road-oriented suspension, the 2017 Lexus GX 460 won't ride or handle like a sporty luxury sedan, and for this it makes no apologies. The rugged fully-boxed frame, big tires and full-time 4-wheel-drive setup make the GX 460 deliver a rather truck-like driving experience with steering that is sometimes slow to respond to input." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The 2018 GX comes with a 4.6-liter V8 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. This is one of the thirstiest powertrains in our ranking, achieving an EPA-estimated 15 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. Acceleration is respectable, but with the GX weighing in at over 5,100 pounds, this 301-horsepower engine doesn't feel very robust. The transmission's slow downshifts add to this uninspiring performance.

  • The GX 460's 4.6-liter V8 has only 301 horsepower but is energetic enough to propel it from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. In normal use, though, the GX can feel lethargic owing to its heavy curb weight and economy-minded throttle pedal and transmission calibration." -- Edmunds
  • If you're looking for a boulevard cruiser, you might want to look at a crossover SUV like the Mercedes-Benz GLS. But in areas where a luxury SUV is needed to work, the GX's 301-horsepower V8 and smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic have what it takes to tackle the most stubborn off-road obstacles and provide up to 6,500 pounds of trailer-towing tenacity." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "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)

Handling and Braking

The GX is one of the few luxury midsize SUVs that can tackle challenging off-road terrain without breaking a sweat, thanks in part to its standard four-wheel drive and 8.1 inches of ground clearance. It's built like a truck (which is a good thing for off-roading), but this translates to a ride quality that many shoppers will find too stiff for everyday driving. Overall, the GX doesn't take a lot of muscle to drive, but it feels quite hefty.

  • You don't have to turn the wheel much when parking and it'll make a tighter U-turn than you'd guess. The effort is neither too light not too heavy. Good at resisting crosswinds, too. But the response is dull and the feel is nonexistent — it's as if your fingertips have gone to sleep." -- Edmunds
  • On the move, the GX 460 is a mixed bag. Its tall, slim build works well for tight off-road trails but also makes the GX feel a bit claustrophobic. That feeling doesn't inspire confidence in corners, where the GX could hardly be more out of its element. In a straight line, however, the soft ride and excellent noise suppression create a pleasant cruising experience. Potholes are often barely noticeable thanks to the long-haul off-road-ready suspension." -- Autotrader (2017)
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