If you are looking for an SUV good in the city with both superior towing capability and a dependable off-roader, the 2019 Lexus GX460 may be the SUV for you. The GX 460 Luxury model I drove for a week had an MSRP of $63,555. With the Sport’s Design Package that included 18-inch split six-spoke alloy wheels, heated second row captain’s chairs and a driver support package with Mark Levinson Audio, the total sticker price came to $68,870. The interior is roomy with semi-aniline leather trimmed seats. Seating six comfortably due to the second and third row captain seats, both rows easily clip forward to maximize cargo space. While the third row is comfortable for kids or vertically challenged adults, tall adults will not want to ride there for long.
The dash is by no means luxurious, especially given the price tag. But it is spacious and there is plenty of room for everything. While there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, the 8-inch touch screen is easy and simple to use and pairing up your phone is quick and painless. The Mark Levinson Audio provides crisp, clear sound. The steering wheel is Mahogany with leather trim and the shift knob is happily a standard one – that is placed exactly where it should be – in front of the center console. USB ports are also conveniently placed easily reachable in front and the center console storage is enormous.
Behind the third row seating is 11.6 cubic feet of space. The third row is extremely easy to fold and when down reveals 46.7 cubic feet of storage. With both rows down, there is 64.7 cubic feet of space. While not gargantuan, it is more than enough to satisfy the retail dreams of big box shoppers, stealth sports enthusiasts or long haul luggage airport runners.
The cargo door is oddly hinged on the right side of the vehicle – a swing gate – as opposed to the roof – a lift gate – as is the case with most SUVs. While this didn’t bother me in terms of access or ease of loading, it was slightly annoying. The swing gate also lacked any automatic open/close switch feature making loading and unloading sometimes a bit challenging. That said, the swing gate did seem a bit lighter than most cargo doors in SUVs of this size, so it did not require an FBI-style shoulder slam.
If you are seeking an SUV with serious towing capability, the GX 460 has a towing capacity of 6,500 pounds. However, there is a price to pay at the pump for that undeniable ability to seriously schlep. On that note, the GX 460 will certainly not win any green awards. The EPA-estimated highway mileage is 15 miles per gallon, with 18 miles per gallon in the city and 16 miles per gallon combined.
Standard features in this model includes a 4.6-liter V8 engine with 301 horsepower, 329 pound-feet of torque, a six-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. Nevertheless, even with its curb weight at just over 5,100 pounds, I found this SUV moved quicker than other SUVs in its weight class especially during inner city driving.
Though the GX 460 is a terrific off-roader, it also shines as a city dweller’s daily ride and highway cruiser. Driving throughout L.A.’s notorious traffic was a breeze with good maneuverability, though at two quick stops, the brakes felt a bit sticky. On a 150-mile round trip freeway ride, the front seats of this SUV provided superior comfort to both driver and my front seat passenger.
If you are seeking a well rounded, dependable and comfortable SUV that offers very good performance both as a city slicker and provides smooth highway driving that likewise performs beautifully off-road, you will be very happy with the Lexus GX 460. Nevermind that you will regularly be seen at the gas station.
Julie L. Kessler is MoneyInc’s Travel & Luxury Editor and writes travel stories for various major media outlets. She is also an attorney and legal columnist based in Los Angeles and the author of the award-winning book “Fifty-Fifty: The Clarity of Hindsight.” She can be reached at Julie@VagabondLawyer.com