by Tony West and Bill Payne
Lexus keeps killin the SUV game with model after model of functional premium luxury in each segment. The 2014 GX460 is a turbo 7-passenger truck with beastly road performance and highly functional off-road technology.
Lexus’ 2014 GX460 LUV packs a mean punch. The hard body exterior adopts the chrome spindle grille with standard LED headlights with washers, LED daytime running lights, and LED fog lights, and 18-inch wheels. The stout muscular framed GX got many compliments on the upgraded design. Where this luxury utility vehicle shines is with its fully capable on and off-road performance. The GX460 offers features that aid handling, suspension, torque, and tire slip in any and all road conditions. Let’s start under the hood.[divider]
Monster Truck Powertrain
The 2014 GX460 offers a 4.6 liter V8 engine, 32-valve, with variable valve timing. The V8 engine costs a lot to fuel. It’s no wonder, the GX roars when I start it, then attacks the road like an uncaged bear. The GX460 boast 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque. The GX460 didn’t accelerate like a truck, it was more like a turbo-powered sedan. Accelerating was not as much fluid as it was aggressive.
The V8 is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Manual mode is aggressive too. A drawback, however, is the EPA. Some may say a combined EPA of 17 mpg’s is not bad, but I’d trade some of the growl of the GX460 to save a few bucks at the pump. Cornering and turning the GX was strong and precise thanks to the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension, especially navigating through potholes, craters, and black ice from the Arctic winter. I was able to swerve and miss obstructions, and if I did hit a deep pothole, the air suspension overcompensated.
Full Time 4-wheel drive has full sized truck capabilities but with better technology. It uses an electronically controlled transfer case and Torsen limited center differential. That’s when stuff gets really fun! The limited center differential can be electronically locked and auto adjusts torque power ratio to front and rear wheels as road conditions call for. So when I was trying to ride over that three-foot snow bank the plow trucks buried the GX460 under, I had a few ways to do it: Option 1-let the Torsen distribute power 50:50 to the front/rear wheels. Option 2- I could adjust my rear height to Hi. There’s so much handling technology in the Lexus GX460, I’m confident I could drive through anything, except water.[divider]
Outstanding Capabilities in a High-Tech Shell
The Lexus GX460 doesn’t just talk a good game. The highly capable LUV has a 6,700 lb tow capacity and a high-tech interior. Driver’s can adjust the ride height from Normal to Hi- 40 mm higher on bumpy roads and to Low- 20 mm lower for loading. Hill Start Assist is standard. Downhill Assist is optional along with Active Chassis Control and Vehicle Stability Control. Four-wheel drive can even be adjusted from H4 which is normal mode, to L4 for max power off-road, climbing steep hills, or for riding in sand or mud.
The optional Crawl Control was my favorite tool. Crawl Control has five settings that adapt throttle and braking in various road conditions; low for rocks, medium for up-slopes, and high for mud, sand, snow, and gravel. The Craw Control will ease the GX460 over a rough off-road surface at a fixed low speed without pressing the accelerator or brakes. So the GX460 won’t slip going over that 50 foot ice patch, or that extremely rocky hill. Adaptable Variable Suspension offers three adjustable settings for handling: Normal, Sport, and Comfort modes.
Safety features in the GX460 perfectly support the on and off-road technology. Dynamic Radar Cruise Control uses a sensor to assist with vehicle distance control even with towing. Also optional is the Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. A multi-terrain ABS system prevents wheel lock in near any road conditions. Brake Assist will apply braking in an imminent collision. Also available is the Pre-Collision System. 2nd Start, another cool feature, assists with accelerating over very slippery surfaces. And Active Traction Control prevents slipping and spinning. The GX460 also has Trailer Sway Control. Safety Connect with Automatic Collision Notification is optional.[divider]
Interior Highly Functional Luxury
Inside the spacious GX460 is a leather and wood trimmed highly functional cockpit. The GX460 offers heated and ventilated front seats (10-way adjustable driver seat), moonroof, 3-zone climate control, and an optional Mark Levinson 17-speaker sound system.
The GX460’s interior has the right touch of luxury and dynamic effectiveness. Semi Aniline leather and Mahogany Wood trim give a subtle touch of Lexus luxury. The 8-inch touchscreen is used for navigation and the back-up camera. And the GX460 has rain sensing wipers, auto dimming mirrors, and power folding mirrors.
The 2nd row is has heated seats that recline and fold flat. The 3rd row is very small as is the trunk with the 3rd row up. The Lexus GX460 also has a heated wood steering wheel. The interior also has an optional rear seat entertainment system that features two TV screens on the front headrests.
Where the GX460 fell short was with its simplistic center stack that has fewer buttons forcing drivers use to the touch screen for functions that should be a push of a button. I missed the fan speed button, the AC button, the bi-level button for the vent, and the radio button.
The 8-inch touchscreen is great for navigation, Bluetooth, even for Lexus Enform and AppSuite. But it’s distracting to have to switch back and forth for nearly every function. It was even hard to find a trunk release button.
Drivers utilize a Multi Information Display dash that also left some things out. Helpful is the included information like tire angle, fuel range, average fuel consumption, warnings, and the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control settings. But other information like oil life, average mpgs, tire pressure, and navigation would be helpful in the dash too.
The 2014 Lexus GX460 – hard body LUV was an exhilarating ride on and off-road. That really says everything about this 60k turbo truck. The GX460 fully-loaded sells for $62,000. It’s worth every penny. I’m not the biggest fan of turbo sport LUV’s but the GX gives truck drivers of every demographic everything they could ask for and then some.