- Lexus-quality interior
- Towing capacity
- Surefooted off-road handling
- Disappointing styling
- V-8 is worked hard by heft Near-useless third-row seat Skimpy leg room in second row
- The 2008 Lexus GX 470 is based on the Toyota 4Runner, but a distinctive look inside and out, and a big new engine, give it passable luxury credentials.
The 2008 Lexus GX 470 brings off-road credentials to the Lexus brand, but its skimpy rear-seat room and sluggish performance tarnish the image.
The 2008 Lexus GX 470 is based on the Toyota 4Runner, but a distinctive look inside and out, as well as a big new engine, give it passable luxury credentials.
The big disappointment with the GX 470, however, is that it looks like a scaled up Suzuki XL-7 in profile. The GX's interior is sumptuous in the way a Lexus's interior should be, though. The leather upholstery is rich, the instrumentation lights up with electroluminescent lushness, and the wood veneers look expensive.
Power for the 2008 Lexus GX 470 comes from the familiar 263-horsepower, 4.7-liter, DOHC, 32-valve V-8 that has been a mainstay of Toyota trucks for a decade. The 4.7-liter V-8 is backed by a five-speed automatic transmission that shifts silently and neatly. With 4,675 pounds to slog around, the V-8 has to work hard and can feel taxed. It's not quick, but there's enough thrust aboard to sustain speed in most situations. Lexus rates it to tow up to 5,000 pounds, but don't expect it to haul half that without straining. Fuel economy lags as a result of the heavy-duty use; it gets 14/18 mpg.
The Lexus GX 470's front suspension is an independent system of double wishbones and coil springs, while the solid rear axle uses control arms and (unlike the 4Runner) air springs with adjustable height control. There's good travel at every wheel and a dual-range full-time four-wheel drive system is standard. Off road, the GX470 is surefooted, thanks to all manner of electronic systems meant to help prevent mishaps. On road, the GX is quieter than any 4x4 should be. The steering feels good if not overly communicative, and ride motions are nicely controlled in normal traffic, but heavy crosswinds can be felt.
Elsewhere inside the Lexus GX 470, there's not a great deal of room. The third-row seat is practically useless, but front seat passengers are treated regally, and the second-row seat is well shaped, if not endowed with an overabundance of legroom. Shoulder room is also scant throughout the cockpit. A DVD entertainment system, a navigation system, Bluetooth, and a Mark Levinson sound system are available.
Stability control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, and front-seat side and head/curtain airbags are standard. A rear backup camera is included the optional navigation system.