With dimensions that straddle the midsize and full-size segments, the GX 470 from Toyotas luxury division is positioned between the car-based RX 330 and the full-size premium-luxury LX 470. The Lexus GX 470 is based on an all-new separate-body platform, and it promises the luxury appointments and workmanship of a Lexus sedan. The full-time four-wheel-drive system and 4.7-liter V-8 engine are borrowed from the larger LX 470.
Roll-sensing side curtain-type airbags and a tire-pressure monitor will become available during the 2004 model year, and a rear backup camera will be offered with the optional navigation system. A new Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System will also be offered.
Billed by the automaker as contemporary and aggressive, the styling of the GX 470s monochromatic exterior is intended to resemble other Lexus vehicles. Integrated fender flares and illuminated running boards are installed. Green-tinted front glass offers ultraviolet-ray protection.
The GX 470s dimensions are a bit smaller than those of the LX 470; the GX 470s 109.8-inch wheelbase and 188.2-inch overall length are 2.4 and 4.3 inches shorter, respectively. Slightly taller than its costlier companion, the GX 470 is 2.4 inches narrower. A power sunroof and roof rack are optional. Alloy wheels hold 17-inch tires. Adaptive Height Control raises the vehicle for extra clearance in offroad terrain and lowers it for easier entry and exit.
The GX 470 carries five people but can seat eight when equipped with an optional third-row seat. Standard features include automatic climate control, leather-upholstered seating and trim, a premium audio system with an in-dash six-CD changer, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and an overhead console with an integrated HomeLink transmitter.
An optional factory-installed DVD entertainment system features a high-resolution screen from TFT. Additional options include rear air conditioning, a Mark Levinson audio system, a DVD-based navigation system and rain-sensing wipers.
Under the Hood
Borrowed from the LX 470, a 4.7-liter dual-overhead-cam V-8 engine produces 235 horsepower and 320 pounds-feet of torque; it drives a five-speed-automatic transmission. With the optional towing package, towing capacity increases from 5,000 to 6,500 pounds.
Full-time four-wheel drive includes a center differential that splits power 50/50 between the front and rear wheels; no driver intervention is necessary. A Low-range mode can be used for steep offroad inclines.
Side-impact and side curtain-type airbags, Active TRAC traction control and antilock brakes are included. Lexus Vehicle Skid Control system helps to control traction when cornering by making use of throttle intervention and/or individual wheel braking. A Downhill Assist Control system becomes active on steep offroad grades.
The GX 470 is pleasant and enjoyable, and it shines brightest when traveling off-road. The Active TRAC traction control system stays quite busy when going uphill, while Downhill Assist Control is amazing. Unless you touch the gas or brake, Downhill Assist Control keeps the vehicle moving very slowly and when that happens, speed resumes after a moment.
The GX 470 rides smoothly most of the time, but it takes an occasional bump with a jolt. Throttle response is noticeably stronger than the LX 470s, but acceleration at low speeds can be awkward at times.
The seats are supportive and almost as comfortable as those in the LX 470. Other than a slight driveline drone, the GX 470 is quiet.