The Lexus GX 470 is positioned between the automaker's car-based RX 350 and the premium-luxury LX 470. The 2007 version will look identical to the 2006 model on the outside, though there are some changes for the interior.
Roll-sensing side curtain airbags became available during 2004, and a rear backup camera was offered with the optional navigation system. A Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System also became available. With KDSS, hydraulic control acts upon the stabilizer bars to reduce roll stiffness in response to changing conditions.
There is a Sport Package that incorporates KDSS, smoked front and rear lenses, a dark graphite finish on the 17-inch alloy wheels and black bird's-eye maple wood trim inside.
The styling of the GX 470's exterior is intended to resemble other Lexus vehicles. Integrated fender flares and illuminated running boards are installed.
The GX 470's wheelbase and length are a bit shorter than the LX 470's. It is slightly taller and 2.4 inches narrower than its costlier companion. A power sunroof is standard. Alloy wheels hold 17-inch tires. Rear Adaptive Height Control raises the vehicle for extra clearance and lowers it for easier entry and exit.
Lexus is adding an optional rear seat entertainment system that has a larger, 9-inch screen, plus an optional Mark Levinson premium audio system. Also for 2007, Lexus adds an enhanced optional navigation system with Bluetooth, voice activation and a rearview camera, and there's a new input plug for MP3 players or other audio devices.
Seating for five is standard, but the GX 470 can seat up to eight when equipped with an optional third-row seat. Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-upholstered seating and trim, power-operated front seats, an in-dash six-CD changer, a leather-trimmed power-adjustable steering wheel and an overhead console with an integrated HomeLink transmitter.
The Digital Lexus Link system, which connects the vehicle to a communications network for security and convenience assistance — much like GM's OnStar — is available. The service requires a paid subscription for an upgraded service. The base service is free for one year and provides safety assistance, including calling if the airbags deploy.
Under the Hood
The 4.7-liter V-8 produces 263 hp and 323 pounds-feet of torque. The engine uses a five-speed automatic transmission, and the GX can tow up to 6,500 pounds when equipped with the optional towing package.
Full-time four-wheel drive includes a center differential that splits power 50/50 between the front and rear wheels. A Low-range mode is present.
Side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags for the first and second rows, Active TRAC traction control and antilock brakes are included. Lexus' Vehicle Stability Control electronic stability system uses throttle intervention and/or individual wheel braking. Downhill Assist Control aids steep offroad descents.
The pleasant, enjoyable GX 470 shines brightest when traveling off-road. Active TRAC stays quite busy when going uphill, while Downhill Assist Control is amazing. Unless you touch the gas or brake pedal, Downhill Assist Control keeps the vehicle moving very slowly.
This SUV rides smoothly most of the time, but it takes an occasional bump with a jolt. Other than a slight driveline drone, the GX 470 is quiet. The seats are supportive and almost as comfortable as those in the LX 470.