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Preview: Next-Generation Lexus GX 460 (Sort of...)

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2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

Enlarge Photo

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

Enlarge Photo

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

Enlarge Photo

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

Enlarge Photo

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

Enlarge Photo

The Lexus line of SUVs is a complex thing, with models outside the U.S. wearing multiple names, including Land Cruiser, Prado and combinations of the two. But to simplify things, what you see here is a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado--essentially a beefed up, luxury version of the 4Runner--and therefore a preview of the basic outlines of the next-gen Lexus GX, which is expected to be called the GX460.

So far the version of the vehicle revealed ahead of this week's Frankfurt auto show is only the European Prado variant, but the U.S. Lexus-branded version should stick fairly close to the corporate basis on the technical side of things. The 2010 Land Cruiser Prado can thus be taken as a preview of the features and abilities, not to mention the basic design template, for the next-gen Lexus GX. Both three-door and five-door variants will be available, though some markets will only get one or the other. It's not yet known if Americans will see both.

Proving the vehicle is still meant to see some off-road use, Toyota has fitted a range of new electronic aids. "Multi-terrain Select " helps automatically optimize traction and control on  a variety of surfaces, while "Multi-terrain Monitor" acts like a sort of bionic spotter, its set of four cameras feeding real-time images to the driver to help keep the SUV on the right path.

The "Steering Angle Display" feature takes the familiar technology used to help millions parallel park and uses it to give a predictive look at where the vehicle will go based on the current position and steering input, making it easier to clear complex or tricky rock crossings or other obstacles.

Currently, the GX470 sports a 265-horsepower 4.7-liter V-8 engine and scores 14 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. That's expected to change for the upcoming model, with the badge changing to an unconfirmed GX460, hinting that changes under the hood are on their way, too, possibly including the 268-horsepower V-6 also found in the next-gen 4Runner.Inside, the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado--and therefore the vehicles based on it as well--gets more space thanks to a lower floor and flush-folding rear seats that no longer swing into the side, but collapse under the cargo deck. Upgraded audio in the form of a 14-speaker, 7.1-channel JBL Synthesis surround sound system, a hard-disc drive navigation and audio library, and the usual Bluetooth and other suspects make for a fun and flexible family/commuter as well.

Keeping things safe, Toyota has fitted a full complement of seven airbags including driver's knee airbags, plus a full slate of electronic aids such as stability control, active torque control, downhill assist control, and hill-start assist control.

Pricing hasn't been announced for the next-gen Lexus GX for obvious reasons, but it will likely start near the current model's $47,615 base price. Sales of the Prado will start in Europe in December, but there's still no timeline for the updated GX's debut in the U.S.

[Toyota]

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