When we first drove the all-new 2010 Lexus GX 460 back in November 2009, we came away impressed with the premium SUV's high riding mix of leather-lined luxury and traditional body-on-frame toughness. We applauded Lexus' decision to keep the GX a true off-roader by retaining the solid rear axle and carrying over the boxed ladder frame from the Land Cruiser Prado and Toyota 4Runner. We clapped even louder when we found out the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) that was optional on the previous generation GX 470, is now standard on the GX 460. And after sampling the GX's smaller displacement but stronger and more fuel efficient 4.6-liter V-8 (pulled from the Toyota Tundra), well, were ready to give it a standing ovation.
But recently our hands (and those of roughly 9,400 GX 460 owners) have been quieted due to a model-wide recall. After a leading consumer magazine identified a handling problem with the new GX 460, Lexus quickly pulled back all models to address the issue. The problem in question involves the GX's propensity to hang its tail out during emergency cornering maneuvers and what was perceived to be an unacceptable lag in electronic stability control (ESC) system. After pulling the truck from dealer lots, Lexus says it has identified the GX 460's problem and solution -- though perhaps not quick enough for some critics -- and it is now back on sale. How has our opinion changed since the hubbub and recall?
Surprisingly not very much. While Lexus' swift response is understandable in light of Toyota's recent recall woes, the GX 460's performance and handling have not caused our opinion to, erm, slide much at all.
At the test track, we found the new 2010 GX 460 accelerates briskly, hitting 60 mph in an impressive 6.9 seconds. That is just over a full second faster than the GX 470 we last tested (8.0 seconds) in 2003. The quarter-mile marker also arrives much sooner -- the new model needs only 15.4 seconds at 89.7 mph to the GX 470's 16.1 seconds @ 84.8 mph. Braking is also much improved; our 5112 pound GX 460 needed only 114 feet to stop from 60 mph, which is astonishing for a vehicle that heavy. The 440 pounds lighter GX 470 we tested ages ago needed 131 feet.