There is, however, one standout value in the small group. The 2023 Lexus GX is something astonishing — an SUV that can cocoon you away from traffic in sumptuous surroundings or take you up a dune or down a rocky path without getting stuck.
You might be able to do the same in a Land Rover Defender 130 or a Mercedes-Benz GLE upgraded with all-wheel drive (AWD) and some rugged options. But neither of them can do it for the GX’s starting price of $59,275 (including destination charge).
And the starting price is all you’d need to pay to get a nicely-equipped GLX. The best-selling model of the most rugged Lexus is the base model. Upgraded Premium and Luxury editions are lovely, but most buyers find the standard GX 460 to be more than luxurious enough.
The GX 460 has the bones of a real off-roader — it’s built on the same frame as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, a legendary off-road SUV not sold in the U.S. But it adds high-end features like simulated leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system packed with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and more.
And it comes with the peace of mind of buying from our 2023 Most Trusted Luxury Brand award winner. Lexus also took home Best Luxury Brand in our 5-Year Cost to Own Awards, meaning you’ll recoup much of your investment when it’s time to trade in your GX.
Let’s see what the 2023 Lexus GX 460 has to offer.
2023 Lexus GX 460 — $59,275
- 4.6-liter V8 making 301 horsepower
- Independent double-wishbone-type front suspension with coil springs, gas-pressurized shock absorbers, and stabilizer bar
- Four-link rear suspension with coil springs, gas-pressurized shock absorbers, and stabilizer bar
- Full-time 4-wheel drive with Torsen limited-slip center differential with electronic differential lock
- NuLuxe simulated leather upholstery
- 10-way power-adjustable front seats
- Dual-zone automatic climate control with interior air filter
- Power moonroof
- Privacy glass
- Roof rails
- Heated, power-folding outside mirrors
- 10.3-inch high-resolution touchscreen multimedia display
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration
- Lexus Enform Wi-Fi with a 3-month trial included
- Lexus Safety System with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert, and high-speed dynamic cruise control
- Trailer sway control
It’s the kind of feature list that leads most buyers to buy the base model, seeing no need to move up to something more expensive. Higher trim levels get you access to features like a 330-watt Mark Levinson premium sound system and a panoramic view monitor. They’re nice additions but not necessary.
Let’s take a closer look at some of our favorite features.
Serious Off-Road Skills
The GX is just a different kind of machine than most modern SUVs. Many luxury SUVs are built like cars, using a unibody architecture that makes for a lovely on-road ride but seriously limits capabilities off-road. The GX is built on a rugged truck frame, able to flex to keep the wheels in contact with undulating terrain.
Standard 4-wheel drive — not part-time all-wheel drive — makes it more rugged and capable on the trail, too. Add in a 2-speed transfer case, a Torsen limited-slip differential, and downhill assist control, and it sounds like we’re talking about a high-end pickup truck, not something that competes with BMW models for the attention of luxury buyers.
That’s the point. There are fewer than a handful of true luxury SUVs built to handle the rough stuff. The GX is one of the best of them, with a Lexus badge and all the reliability that comes with it.
The few truly rugged luxury SUVs in 2023 tend to come with less power than the GX. The Land Rover Discovery, for instance, may have the chassis and suspension to go many places the GX goes. But it does it with a standard turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The Defender 130 has a V8 option, but it’s pricey.
An old-school, mechanically simple and torque-rich V8 is standard equipment in the GX. That matters over the long haul as it keeps maintenance simple and power readily available.
Lexus Safety System+
If you haven’t been car shopping in a few years (and most of us haven’t), you might be shocked to know the kind of safety technology that comes on even base model luxury cars in 2023. The Lexus Safety System+ adds a lot of peace of mind to the driving experience.
It includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert, a blind-spot monitor, and even a rear cross-traffic alert that can save you from an accident when reversing out of a parking spot. Dynamic radar cruise control can keep you at a safe distance from the car ahead in traffic, speeding up and braking to match its speed.
A rear-seat reminder prompts you to check for children and pets if you opened a rear door before starting your drive.
Standard Trailer Sway Control
The GX can go places only trucks and dedicated off-road SUVs dare on the trail. It can also haul like one. A 6,500-pound towing capacity and standard trailer sway control make trailering easier than with many competitors.