In Lexus' lexicon of premium SUVs, the GX 470 is positioned between the car-based RX 350 and the redesigned LX 570. A few more metallic finishes outside and inside differentiate the 2008 model from its former self. The GX 470 loosely competes with anything between a Volvo XC90 and a Lincoln Navigator.
Roll-sensing side curtain airbags, a navigation system and a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System are among the GX 470's options. With KDSS, hydraulic control acts upon the stabilizer bars to reduce roll stiffness in response to changing conditions.
The styling of the GX 470's exterior is intended to resemble other Lexus vehicles. Integrated fender flares and illuminated running boards are installed. Changes for 2008 include a new metallic finish on the grille, roof rack, door handles and tailgate molding. The taillights also have new lens coverings.
A moonroof 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.
Changes inside include new brown walnut trim and a metallic finish on the front doors and speakers. 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, powered 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 horsepower 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. Downhill Assist Control aids steep offroad descents.
Side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags for the first and second rows, traction control, an electronic stability system and antilock brakes are standard.
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 fairly comfortable.