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2021 Lexus GX Performance

U.S. News Best Price Program

2021 Lexus GX Performance Review


Performance: 6.4

The 2021 Lexus GX is a great off-roader. However, its on-pavement ride isn't as smooth as most competitors, and it takes a while to accelerate.

  • "While modern rivals employ carlike unibody chassis construction, the GX stays with the traditional and very durable truck-based body-on-frame approach. Along with standard all-wheel drive, this contributes to a rugged, highly capable off-road aspect, plus strong towing ability (up to 6,500 pounds). What it doesn’t do is provide the kind of sophisticated ride found in the Volvo XC90, for example. The tall body also results in a fairly high center of gravity, so the GX isn’t going to zip around corners like a car." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "While body-on-frame construction doesn't allow for a truly supple ride, it gives the GX 460 a stronger backbone for better off-road and towing capability." -- Edmunds (2020)
  • "Acceleration is adequate, although it's unusual to see a V8 these days with such a low power rating; you'll feel the lack of juice at higher speeds." -- Autotrader (2018)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Engine: 4.6-liter V8 with 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: four-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed automatic

The GX's powertrain setup is strong enough for most folks' commutes. However, it may take a hard press on the gas pedal to get this SUV up to speed.

  • "The 4.6-liter V8 delivers plenty of power, but also uses plenty of gas." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Stout enough to enable a maximum towing capacity of 6500 pounds, the engine is responsive, smooth, and quiet, even with the driver’s foot fairly deep into the accelerator. Six speeds may seem a little behind the times in a world of 8-, 9-, and 10-speed automatics, but the transmission still serves the GX 460 well." -- Consumer Guide (2019)
  • "The GX's transmission shifts very smoothly, which gives this SUV a refined demeanor. But the throttle pedal and transmission seem to play dumb when you want to accelerate smartly. The throttle requires more pedal force than it should to accelerate and even more to trigger a downshift." -- Edmunds (2019)

MPG Estimates

The GX gets an EPA-estimated 15 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway, which is poor for a luxury midsize SUV.

Handling and Braking

This Lexus delivers a comfortable ride over smooth roads, but its firm suspension makes the vehicle shake a bit over bumpier roads. The GX also has clumsy handling and numb steering.

However, it boasts tremendous off-road capability thanks to its standard four-wheel drive and independent suspension. An Off-Road package is available in the GX 460 Luxury trim. It adds crawl control, a transmission cooler, a Multi-Terrain Monitor (which employs cameras underneath the GX to let you see the terrain you're driving over), and Multi-Terrain Select, which allows you to change driving modes to accommodate surfaces such as rocks, mud, and sand.

  • "On the move, the GX 460 is pleasant, with a soft ride and excellent noise suppression. In curves, though, it starts to feel tall and narrow." -- Autotrader
  • "While it wears the same badge and grille as every other Lexus it clearly isn’t designed to be a plush, on-road conveyance. The GX 460’s body-on-frame chassis, 4-wheel independent suspension and somewhat numb steering system are tuned for off-road terrain, and its on-road ride reflects this through a somewhat bumpy ride quality on anything but smooth pavement." -- Kelley Blue Book (2020)
  • "The GX 460 is generally smooth and airy without being floaty or buoyant. But ripples and patches in the asphalt often create a mild jostling motion and head toss as if elements of the suspension are too taut and won't let the system relax." -- Edmunds (2019)
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2021 Lexus GX

MSRP: $53,100 - $64,365

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