Were that not enough for your resident sybarite, the GX may also be equipped with Lexus' DVD-based navigation system (the CD changer moves to the glovebox), rain-sensing windshield wipers, roof rack, towing package (currently rated at 5000 lb but expected to go to 6500 soon), and a wood-and-leather wheel and shifter you won't want to let go of.

An optional flip-down LCD screen provides rear-seat entertainment, including video games, DVD, and wireless headphones. The optional Mark Levinson sound system includes a center-channel and subwoofer driver among 14 speakers, digital signal processing, and 240 watts of amplification. It's possible to have the rear seaters watching a DVD and listening on wireless headphones, while the front seats watch a DVD on the nav screen with audio through the Levinson system--so much for roughing it, though only while the vehicle is parked.

One of the few things on the GX not new is the engine, the proven 4.7-liter four-cam V-8. Up 5 horsepower from last year to 235, this engine's forte is torque, with 250 lb-ft available at 1100 rpm and all 320 on call by 3400 rpm. One-touch starting is now employed for convenience, and it won't crank if you don't hear it running and try again.

The gearbox, on the other hand, is new and now has five speeds, so first gear is much shorter, there's less space between any two gears except fourth and fifth, and the overdrive is taller. The shifter now uses a zig-zag gate, so there are no buttons to push to lock out overdrive or get out of reverse, and no repeated slapping it sideways or back-and-forth like manumatics. Just put the shifter in the slot you want and there you are. Lexus estimates a 0-60 time of 8.5 seconds, and since the GX is lighter than the LX or Sequoia four-speeds previously tested, this seems realistic. For winter conditions, there is a "2nd Gear Start" button on the dash behind the key, but if you put the shifter in second, that's where it starts out from.

All GX 470s are full-time four-wheel drive, the on-pavement aspect controlled by a TorSen center differential. Baseline bias is 40/60 (f/r), but it can vary as much as 29/71-53/47. The center differential is lockable via console switch, and this necessarily defeats the skid-control system, but enthusiasts won't find themselves using this trick because the skid control is relatively unobtrusive--it's still there, but a damp crosswalk corner won't invoke it.