The Lexus GX has always been a bit of an outlier in the brand lineup. Based on the Land Cruiser Prado, it was the one vehicle from Toyota’s luxury brand with genuine off-road chops. However, having launched in 2009, the GX is a bit long in the tooth. Coming in early 2024 is an all-new GX550 with a completely different look and feel that in many ways harkens back to Land Cruisers of yore and clearly looks like it is intended to challenge the four-door Land Rover Defenders.
Like the Land Cruiser Prado, the first two generations of GX had a rounder look about them than classic Land Cruisers up through the early 1990s. Those had a more distinctly boxy and rugged look to them. With the growing popularity of rugged, off-road capable SUVs, especially at the premium end of the market, the new GX is in many ways a throwback to those earlier Cruisers. Sure it has sharp edged headlamps and a spindle grille, but take those away, and it would feel right at home in the woods.
This GX has the A-pillars pushed back into a more vertical stance with a much flatter windshield, a taller greenhouse and an overall appearance that says, let’s play. The designers have kept the beltline relatively lower until about halfway back on the rear doors to provide better visibility when crawling along a trail.
The GX shares the GA-F platform with the latest LX and presumably with the next generation Prado when it appears. At 112.2-inches, the wheelbase is 2.4-inches longer than the outgoing GX and length has been stretched by 2.75-inches. The width has increased by at least 3.74-inches while the front overhang has been cut by 0.78-inch to improve the approach angle. The overall effect is a much more adventure-ready looking vehicle that seems like it would want to hunt down Defenders, Wranglers and Broncos.
Full-time four-wheel-drive is standard and the center differential has a Torsen limited slip unit with a locking clutch. The new Overtrail trim level adds an electronic locking rear differential as well and there is of course a two-speed transfer case.
Feeding into that transfer case is a 3.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6 and a 10-speed automatic transmission. With 349-hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, the V6 puts out 48-hp more than the 4.6-liter V8 in the last GX and maximum towing capacity is bumped to 8,000-lbs. At some point after launch, Lexus will add a hybrid system, likely based on the i-Force Max in the Tundra and Sequioa.
The inside is a major upgrade from the old GX which had a relatively small infotainment screen with software that was a couple of generations old. This doesn’t have the hose it down look of a Wrangler, but it’s a very different appearance from other Lexi. It’s a relatively vertical layout with a 14-inch touchscreen and the new-generation Lexus infotainment system that is a huge step forward from what came before. Android Auto and iPhone projection happens wirelessly and the gauges are in a 12.3-inch digital cluster. There is also an available heads-up display that may prove helpful when navigating trails.
As before, there are three rows of seats, although the third is not as spacious as you might find in some larger SUVs like LX. The second-row can be equipped with either a bench or two captains chairs.
New for 2024 on the GX are the Overtrail and Overtrail+ trim levels. These feature a two-tone paint scheme in Atomic Silver/Black Roof, Incognito/Black Roof, Nori Green Pearl/Black Roof, or Earth/Black Roof. The Overtrail GX also gets standard 33-inch all-terrain tires on 18-inch wheels, aluminum skid plates and black fenders. Multiple drive modes include downhill assist control and crawl control.
All 2024 GXs get Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 with Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, All-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Road Sign Assist (RSA) and Proactive Driving Assist (PDA). The on-sale date for the new GX550 is early 2024.
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