2021 Lexus GX

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
December 3, 2020

Buying tip

The Off-Road package makes the most of the GX 460’s abilities, but this lineup is best realized in base trim for typical drivers.

features & specs

GX 460 4WD
GX 460 Luxury 4WD
GX 460 Premium 4WD
15 city / 19 hwy
15 city / 19 hwy
15 city / 19 hwy

The 2021 Lexus GX is an off-road warrior with a dash of sophistication, but lags in everyday use.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Lexus GX? What does it compare to?

A rugged off-roader with a soft side, the 2021 Lexus GX 460 is an old-school seven-seat SUV loaded up with luxury. It’s best shopped against the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Infiniti QX80, Volvo XC90, and GMC Yukon. 

Is the 2021 Lexus GX a good car/SUV?

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The GX is very good at the things likely low on most buyers’ priority lists. We rate it at 5.0 out of 10 thanks to both the positives and the negatives associated with its trucky roots. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Lexus GX?

The GX, which is based on a design that dates way back to the 2010 model year, sees mostly minor options shuffling for 2021, though insulated front side glass and Amazon Alexa compatibility are now standard fare.

The GX is unmistakable in the looks department thanks to a grille so big that Weber might see Lexus as a new rival. Inside, the cabin is relatively narrow and tall against rivals and controls are scattered somewhat haphazardly, though materials are top notch.

Underhood, look for a gutsy 301-horsepower 4.6-liter V-8 linked to a 6-speed automatic and a two-speed transfer case. Power is ample, though so is thirst. The GX handles like the truck it is, even if it rides more like a land yacht with its soft suspension. Off-roady bits are grouped in an option package that adds various cameras, traction control modes, and more. 

There’s good room for four adults inside, and kids will fit in the third-row jump seats in a pinch. Ample cargo space is offset by the inconvenient side-hinged door and the tall lift-over commanded by the high-riding suspension. 

The GX is behind the times when it comes to active safety tech, but at least the basics like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are standard fare. 

How much does the 2021 Lexus GX cost?

At around $54,500, the base GX is a lot of metal for the money, if not necessarily a great bargain against some rivals. Oddly, leather upholstery requires stepping up to the hefty $65,500 Luxury trim level, but we’d stick with the base truck for the best overall value in this lineup. 

Where is the 2021 Lexus GX made?

In Japan.


2021 Lexus GX


Though now familiar, the Lexus GX 460 is still a jarring sight.

Is the 2021 Lexus GX a good-looking car?

The 2021 Lexus GX is bold and brash, which apparently works for buyers since Lexus has no problem clearing dealership lots of its middle SUV.

We’re short of enthusiastic, though, and we wind at a 4 for styling. 

The GX was lightly updated last year with new texturing to its oh-so-big grille, a pinched spindle design that works better on the brand’s cars than its SUVs. An optional Sport Package adds 19-inch alloy wheels that seem especially at odds with the GX’s rugged underpinnings. 

Inside, the GX is a mishmash of cluttered switches and a single screen that reveal this design’s dated bones. At least Lexus offers a number of interior hues, meaning buyers can dress the seats in everything from ivory vinyl to rich brown leather.

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2021 Lexus GX


The Lexus GX is a formidable off-roader, if that matters to you.

Is the Lexus GX 4WD?

Yes, every GX 460 comes standard with four-wheel drive including a two-speed transfer case for more serious mud-plugging. 

Opt for the Off-Road package unfortunately only available on the range-topping GX 460 Luxury and you’ll net Crawl Control as well as a slew of traction control modes.

All this gear is there because the GX 460 is a close relative of the Toyota 4Runner and a Toyota SUV sold globally that is routinely called upon for warzone duty. Most of this probably doesn’t matter while negotiating a parking spot close to the Nordstrom door at Scottsdale Fashion Mall, of course. 

How fast is the Lexus GX?

Underhood, you’ll find a gutsy 4.6-liter V8 rated at 301 horsepower that’s teamed with a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The GX is quick enough for any situation, and a stab at the throttle is accompanied by a racy, distant snarl from underhood. It’s also the figurative sound of lots of fuel leaving the tank, of course.

The GX rides on a separate ladder frame rather than the unibody construction favored by most rivals. This helps this SUV stay steady off-road or while towing up to 6,500 pounds of cargo.

The trucky suspension is kept in check thanks to a surprisingly trick sway bar system that pairs oversize tubes with hydraulics to keep the GX pleasantly flat when cornering, even though steering can wander and the truck still feels fairly to very top-heavy, depending on the number of kinks in the road. 

Overall, we peg the GX 460 at 5 out of 10. The point it gains for powertrain strength gets lost in its lousy handling.

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2021 Lexus GX

Comfort & Quality

Spacious and well-equipped, if not exactly luxurious, the GX 460 ticks all the typical big SUV virtues.

Stretching 192 inches between its bumpers, the Lexus GX 460 offers acceptable space and comfort inside for four passengers, or more in a pinch, and it has a roomy cargo area. It scores 8 on our scale, a tick behind most luxury SUVs, thanks to good front and rear seats, and cargo space.

The front seats are comfortable and provide a commanding view out, while row-two passengers will find decent space in either a three-piece bench or individual captain’s chairs. Row three requires some finagling to access and is best suited to kids.

Those third-row jump seats get in the way of cargo space and block the view rearward. Overall, the GX can swallow 65 cubic feet of cargo, which is still quite a bit. Annoyingly, that cargo area is accessed by a curb-side-hinged rear door rather than the power liftgates we’ve come to expect.

The GX’s interior comes dressed in synthetic leather unless you step up to the Luxury trim, which tosses in soft semi-aniline hides. Real wood trim on the dash has a classy look, though.

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2021 Lexus GX


The 2021 GX 460 comes standard with the crash-avoidance gear we expect to see, but little more.

How safe is the Lexus GX?

The 2021 Lexus GX 460 is a heavy, bulky SUV that should hold up well in crashes, though it hasn’t been tested. As a result, it’s scoreless here.

Standard fare includes 10 airbags, automatic emergency braking that can detect pedestrians, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and lane-departure warnings. Absent are features that allow for hands-off driving or that help nudge a wayward GX back into its lane.


2021 Lexus GX


The 2021 Lexus GX misses some key convenience tech.

The Lexus GX 460 rates 5 out of 10 on our scale. It’s lavish in some ways but light on smartphone connectivity. If Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are must-haves—and we can’t blame you in 2021—keep shopping. 

Which Lexus GX should I buy?

The Lexus GX lineup spans three trim levels: base, Premium, and Luxury. For most buyers, the $55,000 or so base is plenty, though consider opting for heated and cooled front seats.

The Premium trim opens up Mark Levinson audio and power-folding third-row seats, but you’ll spend upward of $60,000 to get those features, eroding an already questionable value equation. 

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Lexus GX?

Lexus wants around $71,000 for a fully loaded GX 460.

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2021 Lexus GX

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Lexus GX 460 is a guzzling dinosaur.

Is the 2021 Lexus GX good on gas?

Absolutely not. The 2021 Lexus GX won’t be winning any awards for its fuel efficiency. We rate it at 2 out of 10. 

The EPA says to expect 15 mpg city, 19 highway, 16 combined. We’ve seen similar figures in real-world use.

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Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 5
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety N/A
Features 5
Fuel Economy 2
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