The Lexus GX 460 is a premium luxury SUV with a dual purpose — it’s a family commuter during the week, but can transform easily into a trail-driving 4×4 on the weekend. And it can carry up to seven people.
This dual purpose is made possible by a combination of a rugged body-on-frame construction and an advanced standard Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which helps to significantly reduce body lean without needing stiffer springs and dampers. The GX 460’s 301- horsepower 4.6-liter V-8 provides 329 pounds-feet of torque, making it an excellent tow vehicle.
And the towing gets easier for the 2014 model with the addition of standard trailer sway control. If trailer sway is affecting handling of the GX 460, this feature uses the Vehicle Stability Control to help bring it under control. The 6,500-pound towing capacity is sufficient to pull a big boat, personal watercraft, motorcycles, horses or even a racecar.
First on the GX 460’s roster of full-capability chassis systems is the standard fulltime four-wheel drive that uses an electronically controlled transfer case and a TORSEN torque-sensing limited slip center differential. The TORSEN differential distributes power 40:60 under most driving conditions and changes the ratio as needed based on wheel slip. The system offers a low range for off-road driving, and the center differential can be electronically locked.
The 4WD has some on-road performance tricks, too. Tracking through curves, the system can change the torque split to 30:70 to enhance vehicle tracking. If the rear wheels spin, the center differential can change the ratio to 50:50 to help control the slippage. It’s also ready for sudden changes in road-surface conditions, such as driving through a puddle or over an ice patch. The GX 460’s sophisticated full-time 4WD system includes a low range for secure offroad travel, and it is supported by such modern technology as optional Crawl Control, Downhill Assist Control (DAC), Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). All help the GX 460 to keep going when the pavement ends and when faced with steep inclines.
For 2014, the GX 460 gets the signature Lexus spindle grille for a more distinctive appearance, and the change is also functional thanks to the addition of LEDs (light emitting diodes) for the headlights, daytime running lights (DRLs) and available foglights. The GX 460 Premium model becomes the GX Luxury for 2014 with the addition of Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intuitive Parking Assist and 18-inch split six-spoke design wheels with a Liquid Graphite finish. The base MSRP on the 2014 Lexus GX 460 is $49,995.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.