Staying Power: The 2021 Lexus GX460

Checking my exhaustive records, I find that I have driven and reviewed six Lexus GX460s in just under eight years. If you parked the 2021 next to the 2013, the 2014, the 2015, the 2017 and the 2018, I would be at a complete and total loss to tell one from the other. And that's not a bad thing at all.

The simple truth is that the 2010 Lexus GX460 was such a great, traditional SUV that it is able to traverse long spans of time without needing a significant mid-cycle refresh, much less a clean-sheet fresh start.

Under the hood lives, as it has for a decade-plus, Lexus' 301-horsepower 4.8-liter V8. It's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and has full-time four-wheel drive. That's why the EPA fuel economy estimate is a sobering 15 miles per gallon city/19 highway. Of the three things we might lobby for changing, a smaller turbocharged engine with equal or greater power and a transmission with more gears would be two.

Still, this is powerful enough to climb the steepest Sierra Nevada mountain grades and surefooted enough that my wife and I drove it to Lake Tahoe in early November precisely because there was a snowstorm rolling in. We wound up just getting flurries, but I know the GX460 well enough to know there are few cars I would want to be at the wheel as much as the GX even if it were a blizzard.

The 2021 Lexus GX460 comes in three trims, GX460, GX460 Premium and GX460 Luxury, which was our tester, and which carries a base price of $64,365. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights at that price are the Lexus Safety System+, including high-speed dynamic radar cruise control, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert and intelligent high beam headlamps; navigation, semi-aniline power heated and ventilated front seats, three-zone automatic climate control, a power moonroof and a nine-speaker premium audio system.

I mentioned a third thing I'd change, and that's the GX460's infotainment system. By 2021 standards, it's slow, the graphics scream "2010" and it does not accommodate Apple CarPlay.

Our test vehicle also had several extra-cost options including a Mark Levinson 17-speaker surround sound audio system for $1,145; the Off-Road Package (multi-terrain and panoramic view monitors, transmission cooler, fuel tank protector, crawl control and multi-terrain select) for $1,570; the Sport Design Package (19-inch dark gray metallic alloy wheels, second-row tilt/slide captain's chairs, a unique lower grille surround, front and rear bumper spoilers, dark gray exhaust tip chrome detail side mirrors and scarlet taillights) for $2,020; a tow hitch with ball mount for $655, door edge guards for $155; a cargo net, cargo mat, wheel locks and a key glove for $325 and 3M paint protection film for $430.

With $1,025 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the 2021 Lexus GX460 Luxury is $71,690.

The price doesn't rattle me at all. A bargain next to a comparably-equipped example of its archrival, the Land Rover Discovery. Yes, the Discovery was all new for 2017. But apart from a more efficient powertrain and a contemporary infotainment/navigation system, I'd take the Lexus GX460 just the way it is.

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