Stepping into the brand-new 2010 Lexus GX 460 for the first time, it's hard not to feel a bit nostalgic.
Why? Among mid-size utes, the Lexus GX 460 is the last one standing; it's the only vehicle this size that sticks with the body-on-frame construction long preferred those who do heavy towing, and by some off-roaders.
Luxurious mid-size sport-utility vehicles like it used to be much more common, even trendy. Going back through the past decade, there were vehicles like the Infiniti QX4, Acura SLX, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Lincoln Aviator, and GMC Envoy Denali. Nearly all of them offered dressed-up, reasonably roomy interiors, along with some measure of off-road prowess and towing ability, qualities that in truth were seldom used by buyers. In recent years, automakers (and shoppers) have come to recognize that, instead favoring modern car-based crossover vehicles and focusing on larger truck-based luxury utes like the Infiniti QX56, Cadillac Escalade, or Lincoln Navigator.
Slotting below the Land Cruiser-based LX 570 in the Lexus lineup, the 2010 Lexus GX 460 is all-new this year, itself based on the Toyota 4Runner. While the 4Runner offers four-cylinder and V-6 engines, the GX offers a V-8, power-folding third-row seats, plus a host of luxury and technology options and much-improved refinement—while allowing impressive off-road and towing ability. The GX reemerges more polished and refined than ever and doesn't give away any secrets about its construction in the way it drives, which we'll get to shortly, and while you might guess that it's a truck-based ute by the way it looks, Lexus hasn't skimped one bit on the styling, design details, or materials.
Styling: L-Finesse On steroids
Throughout the GX, designers have blended the gentle, organic, and aerodynamic styling of the Lexus L-Finesse designs of recent years with a "machined steel bar" theme, giving it a more sculpted, solid look that separates it from the cars and crossovers. In back especially the design is clean and uncluttered, thanks to the narrow vertical taillamps and a new wiper design that's hidden under the roof spoiler. Alongside, the GX looks the most 'trucky,' with carved-out fenders and the very tall, imposing beltline. Lexus likes to think of the interior as "tough premium," with the GX combining the expected chunky trim and bulkier door handles with soft, luxurious materials.