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2011 Lexus GX 460 Comfort & Quality

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Comfort & Quality
Those who are accustomed to truck-based SUVs will feel right at home in the 2011 Lexus GX 460. There's a nice, high seating position in front—so much so that at least looking ahead and to the side you don't feel that the beltline is so tall—and the front seats and driving position in the GX 460 remind us why so many drivers were won over by SUVs in the past decade. Seating in the GX 460 is superb in front, with nicely padded seats affording plenty of support plus good headroom and legroom and a general feeling of spaciousness.

The second row of seating in the 2011 GX 460 is split and slides fore and aft more than a foot in all so that third-row occupants can get in and out more easily, and so that second- and third-row passengers can compromise for the best allocation of legroom. The back row is also split, with an all-new design that should be more convenient for occasional third-row users; the sections are electrically operated and can be brought up or down in a half-minute or so by holding down a button just inside the side-opening rear hatch.

Aside from the handy power deployment, the upside of this new third-row arrangement is that it's actually doable for adults for short stints—if you're willing to accept a seating position that places your knees up near your chest. But there's also a big downside to the new design: While the third row in the old GX could be removed, making the GX feel more like a vehicle that was retrofitted with the power third-row arrangement on a budget, from an existing vehicle, than an all-new one. There's very little cargo space behind the third row when it's up.

The well-appointed interior in the GX 460 offers pleasant materials with plenty of space for the first two rows; cargo space is disappointing, though.

The look and feel of the interior appointments in the GX 460, overall, is top-notch. The GX has more unique interior pieces (compared to the related 4Runner) than ever before. The controls felt better designed and less cluttered than those in Lexus cars, and we loved the redesigned steering-wheel controls and nice, legible gauge layout and cleanly laid-out center-stack for audio, climate, and nav functions. The only odd thing is the sliding panel that partially covers audio controls.

Road and wind noise are remarkably absent from the GX cabin, though you do hear the V-8 whenever accelerating, even lightly, and more than expected for a luxury vehicle. There's definitely more side head-toss in the GX compared to car-based crossover models, but otherwise ride quality is excellent; Premium-grade models also get an Adaptive Variable Suspension that allows Sport, Normal, and Comfort modes, but in either case ride quality is quite good.

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