Timeless classic. The field of traditional body-on-frame SUVs has shrunk tremendously over the past decade. Manufacturers such as Land Rover and Ford have switched to unibody construction to decrease weight while increasing body rigidity. That’s not a bad move – as long as off-road capabilities aren't lost.
As for the 2020 Lexus GX, it blends brand refinement with traditional versatility under its skin. The GX is sold as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado in most global markets. It also shares its platform with the off-road-worthy Toyota 4Runner, thus there's enough hint of its parentage to reassure anyone desiring an off-road maven.
Rugged and off-road capable. The GX’s off-road strength isn’t its only asset. If you need to tow, the GX pulls up to 6,500 pounds. That’s laudable in a segment where the mere crossovers struggle to pull thousands of pounds less.
Now back to off-roading. You can take the GX to places most competing models can’t go, but only as long as you keep one important point in mind: the grille sits low and is prone to digging into the ground if you’re not careful. That can be a costly mistake as you move over any obstacle.
We also like that Lexus offers a crawl control system. This handy technology allows the GX to move at a sedate pace automatically or free itself from muck or mire. This feature can prove invaluable to anyone who frequents slop and glop.
When driving around town, the GX’s aged 4.6-liter V8 engine puts down 301 horsepower, which is low. Indeed, some competing V6 engines offer more power and do so without boosting.
The six-speed automatic transmission transmits energy to all four wheels, but you should also know that it only gets an EPA-estimated 15 miles per gallon city, 19 mpg highway, and 16 combined.
Strong standard safety equipment. Lexus helps out buyers by not hiding active safety features in add-on packages. The GX comes standard with adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, and more.
Comfy ride, tight third row. Despite its truck-based platform, the Lexus GX supplies a comfortable ride. Opt for the available load-leveling rear suspension for enhanced comfort.
Inside, the cabin is ideal for five, but cramped for third-row passengers. The seats are comfortable in the first two rows for adults, while the third row is ideal for children. Instead, we think most buyers will keep the rear seat folded, as that supplies 46.7 cubic feet of storage capacity against the very limited 11.6 cubic feet behind the third row.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Lexus GX attracts a niche segment of buyers, many of whom frequent country clubs and playhouses, and aren't likely to find the trail less traveled.
The GX’s interior cossets the most discriminating passengers and does an admirable job of insulating the cabin from most exterior noise.