2005 Lexus GX 470

Change year or car

Change year or car

$46,225

starting MSRP

2005 Lexus GX 470

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2005 Lexus GX 470 trim comparison will help you decide.

2005 Lexus GX 470 review: Our expert's take

By G. Chambers Williams III

If the baby Lexus SUV, the RX 330, is too carlike for you, and the top-of-the-line model, the LX 470, is a bit of overkill, then you just might want to consider one of my favorites — the GX 470, which is positioned midway between the two.

The biggest difference between the GX 470 and the smaller RX 330 isn’t just the price; the GX is a real truck-based SUV that has lots of luxury features, and whose price makes it a bit more practical than the LX 470 and other more-expensive competitors.

Starting at $46,225 (plus $650 freight), our test vehicle for the week — the 2005 GX 470 — offers true off-road capabilities that are lacking in the RX 330. That’s because while the RX 330 is based on the chassis of the Toyota Camry/Lexus ES 330 sedans, the GX 470 is a truck underneath, and is designed for all type of weather and all road surfaces.n With this SUV, if you’re so inclined, the fun begins where the pavement ends. You can take it just about anywhere.

Toyota took its newest-generation 4Runner, which debuted for 2003, and created the GX 470 as a fancier Lexus version to give luxury SUV consumers an option to such vehicles as the Mercedes-Benz M500 and the BMW X5, both of which also are heavy-duty luxury SUVs that can be taken far off-road. For 2005, the GX 470 also competes directly against the new Land Rover LR3, which essentially the same starting price and the same kind of on- and off-road capabilities. As the more-expensive LX 470 — $65,000-plus — competes directly against the new Range Rover Sport and the higher-priced Range Rovers, the GX 470 is positioned directly opposite the LR3.

The current 4Runner is the latest version of the venerable and long-running Toyota sport utility line that originally (in the mid-80s) was nothing more than a compact Toyota pickup with the bed closed in to add a second seat and protected cargo area. Some critics of the idea of creating another Lexus sport utility from the new 4Runner thought that the better choice would be to create a third Lexus SUV model from the Toyota Sequoia, which is a truck-based vehicle designed to emulate the Ford Expedition.

We still may see such a Lexus — Toyota officials have said that their new San Antonio truck plant, which opens next year, eventually might also build a new full-size Lexus SUV.

But for now, we have the GX 470, and if you want a vehicle like the 4Runner but with a bit more standard content and the presitious Lexus name, this is as good as it gets.

In its third year, the GX 470 got a few changes for 2005, including a bit more power for the 4.7-liter I-Force V-8 engine — up to 270 horsepower from last year’s 235. This is a version of the V-8 engine also used in the Toyota Tundra pickup and the LX 470, as well as in the new 4Runner (the first V-8 in that line).

The extra power comes from adding variable valve timing with intelligence, as well as a new electronic throttle-control system, the company said. Torque also was boosted slighty, to 330 foot-pounds, up from 320 last year.

Also new for ’05 is a sport package ($1,800, included on our test model, that gives the GX 470 black bird’s eye maple interior trim, chrome exhaust tip, and a new “kinetic dynamic suspension.” smoked front and rear light bezels, as well as 17-inch alloy wheels and a roof rack, both with a dark-graphite finish.

The kinetic suspension uses a “simple hydraulic-control system acting on both front and rear stabilizer bars” to reduce “the degree of roll stiffness” in response to varying road conditions, the company said in a technical description of the system.

The optional navigation system ($3,050), which also was included on our vehicle, comes with Bluetooth wireless capability for 2005.

With its decent styling and Toyota/Lexus’ legendary quality, the GX 470 is a great choice for luxury SUV buyers who want a vehicle that is considerably more rugged the the car-based crossovers such as the Infiniti FX45, yet still very refined.

While the RX 330 is favored by female buyers or primary drivers, more than half of GX 470 buyers or primary drivers are men, with a median age in the mid-40s, and most of them married. At this price, the car attracts consumers whose average household incomes range from $150,000 to $210,000, the company said.

Although most people are loathe to take a $50,000-plus vehicle off road, one of the top selling points for the GX 470 is that it can go just about anywhere at just about any time, thanks to its full-time four-wheel drive, which includes low-range gearing for serious hill-climbing or mud-running. Lexus owners typically enjoy such leisure activities as snow skiing, so they’ll appreciate a vehicle such as the GX 470, which can get them to thje slopes during the middle of winter.

Helping the GX 470 make its way over rugged trails are such features as its torque-sensing center differential and a hill-descent feature that allows the vehicle to crawl safely down steep trails with no braking necessary. There also is a special hill-hold feature that will keep the vehicle from rolling backward (with no pressure on the brake pedal) if the vehicle is paused on a steep uphill grade. The vehicle has a standard body-on-frame truck platform, but nevertheless is designed to ride like a car on the highway.

There is room for up to eight people in the GX 470 with the optional third-seat package ($2,030), which also includes a rear air conditioning unit. That’s an improvement over the previous-generation 4Runner, which had no third seat capability. The GX 470 is 188.2 inches long — compared with 192.5 for the LX 470, and it weighs 915 pounds less than the LX. That means that with the same engine, there is a bit more zip because there is less weight to move down the highway.

The engine is connected to a smooth-shifting five-speed automatic transmission, which is shared with the 4Runner. In fact, the whole vehicle is very close to what you get in a 4Runner Limited model, which sells for about $9,000 less than the base price of the GX 470.

If saving money is more important than any perceived status you might get from the Lexus name, you could opt for the 4Runner. Either way, you can be assured that you are getting a quality vehicle that will hold its value longer than many other brands.

Our review model, with just about everything you can get on the GX 470, rang up at $55,538. But really, you can get a very nice GX 470 without all the extra gadgetry for the $46,225 base price. Among the other extras on our vehicle was a rear-seat DVD entertainment system ($1,560), with a pair of wireless headphones and remote control. The LCD screen folds down from the ceiling. This is great for the kids, particularly on long trips. The navigation system also brought a wonderful Mark Levinson audio system, which includes a 14-speaker, 240-watt premium stereo with a six-disc CD changer in the glove box.

Standard equipment on the GX 470 includes the fulltime four-wheel drive, rear adjustable height control with automatic leveling, four-wheel power disc antilock brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels with mud and snow tires, front and side airbags, vehicle stability control, theft-deterrent system, automatic headlights with integrated foglights, rain-sensing intermittent wipers, rear wiper and washer, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather interior with bird’s-eye maple trim, heated/power front seats, power tilt and telescopic steering column, one-touch power up/down windows, power/heated outside mirrors with manual fold-away, overhead console with storage and map lights, cruise control, power door locks with remote control, and a separate rear-seat audio system (allows the rear passengers to listen to something other than what the folks in front are listening to, and is separate from the rear DVD system).

Cargo space is limited with the third seat in place — just 13.2 cubic feet — which could be a problem on a long trip with a full crew. But if you don’t need the rear seat, fold it to the side to increase cargo space to 39.8 cubic feet, or remove it entirely to get 49.7 cubic feet of space.

A tow package on the GX 470 allows it to tow up to 6,500 pounds.

Fuel economy is not as bad as it is in some luxury SUVs. EPA ratings are 15 miles per gallon in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.

G. Chambers Williams III is staff automotive columnist for the San Antonio Express-News and former transportation writer for the Star-Telegram. His automotive columns have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1995. Contact him at (210) 250-3236; chambers@star-telegram.com.

– – –

At a Glance: 2005 Lexus GX 470

The package: Luxury, midsize, four-door, V-8 powered, four-wheel-drive, five- or eight-passenger, sport utility vehicle.

Highlights: All two years ago, this is the third SUV in the Lexus lineup, and is basically a high-end clone of Toyota’s truck-based 4Runner midsize sport utility vehicle. For 2005, the V-8 engine gets 35 more horsepower. The vehicle comes with leather and wood interior trim and lots of other amenities. It offers trucklike ruggedness and reliability in a package that combines great off-road capability with good on-road ride and handling.

Negatives: Cargo space limited with third seat in place; pricey when compared with a comparably equipped 4Runner.

Engine: 4.7-liter V-8.

Transmission: 5-speed automatic.

Power/torque: 270 horsepower/330 foot-pounds.

Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.

Overall length: 188.2 inches.

Curb weight: 4,740 pounds.

Towing capacity: 6,500 pounds.

Cargo capacity: 13.2 cubic feet (third seat in place); 49.7 cubic feet (with third seat removed).

Major competitors: Lincoln Aviator, Infiniti Q56, Acura MDX, Saab 9-7X, Cadillac Escalade, Land Rover LR3, Range Rover Sport (normally aspirated), Volkswagen Touareg V-8, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz ML500, Porsche Cayenne (normally aspirated).

Fuel capacity: 23 gallons.

EPA fuel economy: 15 miles per gallon city/19 highway.

Base price: $46,225 plus $650 freight.

Price as tested: $55,538, including freight and options.

On the Road rating: ****1/2 (four-and-a-half stars out of five).

Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.8
  • Interior design 4.8
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value for the money 4.5
  • Exterior styling 4.6
  • Reliability 4.9

Most recent consumer reviews

4.9

Lexus is so reliable

Love the trunk capacity. Used this vehicle to move in/out kids to college and into their first apartments. Couldn't have done it without this vehicle.

5.0

Best car I've ever owned

Powerful, comfortable, quiet - this car has had it all. I have almost 200k on mine and I'm about to purchase another one. Fifteen years old and it still runs and drives like new. Very few problems over the years, totally reliable.

4.0

GX470 is a Luxury Tank that will take you anywhere

Picked this one up used with 188k miles on it over a year ago. Just turned 200k miles and simply love the abilities this truck brings to table. It has all the luxury of a high end SUV but underneath it's an off road monster that can handle any weather and any terrain; amazing capabilities!

See all 21 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
72 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
72 months/70,000 miles
Roadside assistance
48 months/unlimited distance

Compare the competitors

2006

Toyota Land Cruiser

$56,215

starting MSRP

2005

Toyota Sequoia

$32,570

starting MSRP

2005

Lexus LX 470

$65,225

starting MSRP

See all 2005 Lexus GX 470 articles