2007 Lexus GX 470 – Test drive and new SUV review

6 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2007 Lexus GX 470 – Test drive and new SUV review
Lexus GX470

The best 4Runner ever built

My daily driver is Moose, a dependable, versatile, tough Toyota 4Runner — all the SUV I’ll ever need, and then some. I love Moose, but I’d toss my Toyota over in a second for a 2007 Lexus GX 470 if I ever got the chance. The 2007 Lexus GX 470 is like a 4Runner raised to the highest order. The 2007 Lexus GX 470 comes with a base price of $46,635 ($54,260 as tested), a 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, a 6 year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty, and an EPA estimate of 15 mpg city/19 mpg highway.

Moose, please stop reading — I don’t want to hurt your feelings.

First Glance

Whenever I see a GX on the road, I’m always a little startled by its proportions. Though it shares a wheelbase (109.8) and very similar width (74.0) and length (188.2) with 4Runner, it is about 3 taller than the Toyota at 74.6. That subtle difference plays a trick on my eyes — GX looks more like a refrigerator than a nearly square box.

GX wears Lexus’s trademark inverted trapezoidal grin-shaped grille, dressed with three horizontal chrome bars and a big chrome L smack dab in the middle. A muscularly sculpted hood highlights big ferocious projector headlights. The fenders flare gently over 17 alloy wheels.

Lighted running boards stab out from the rocker panels. Sharp body creases run along the length of the vehicle, connecting curved and flat surfaces. The tall tailgate is slab-like, with a big flat piece of tinted glass at the top.

A recessed handle on the left side releases the door, which swings open on a right-side hinge — the wrong way for convenient curb-side access here in the US.

You can see the quality from ten paces — GX’s paint is deep and lustrous. Body panels fit perfectly, and all of the trim is precision cut and perfectly set. I praise Lexus’ fit and finish every time I drive one of their SUVs.

The highest praise I can deliver is that GX is built to Lexus standards.

Continued below.

In the Driver’s Seat

GX’s interior is all Lexus — rich leather, real bird’s eye maple wood trim, high quality plastics and elegant design.

Photo #169; Jason Fogelson

GX’s interior is all Lexus — rich leather, real bird’s eye maple wood trim, high quality plastics and elegant design. Unlike 4Runner, which has gone with a more sporty, high-tech-mixed-textures look in recent years, GX keeps it conservative and elegant. I felt instantly comfortable and at home behind the wheel.

As a driver, you spend most of your time with your hands on the steering wheel (hopefully), and GX rewards you with wood and leather surfaces for an instant feeling of luxury. The wheel is adjustable for tilt and reach, and the comfortable seat is also highly adjustable, so finding the right driving position is a breeze. When you shut off the ignition, the wheel gently tilts up and away, clearing your path for exit like a bouncer lifting the velvet rope.

The dash and instrument panel are logical and fuss-free.

Second row passengers are treated to plush accommodations as well, with great leg and head room, comfortably stuffed seats and elegant trim. My test vehicle was equipped with an optional third row seat and air conditioner ($2,030). It’s a throwback — a heavy removable seat that snaps into fittings on the cargo load floor.

If you really need to carry that many passengers, you’d probably do better with a bigger SUV like the LX 470 — these seats are for short rides for short passengers.

My test vehicle was also equipped with the superb Mark Levinson audio package and navigation system ($3,250), maybe the best factory audio system that you can put into a vehicle today, truly the stereophile’s choice for mobile audio.

On the Road

When I’m surrounded by luxury, I feel important. That explains why some of the worst drivers on the road are driving luxury vehicles — they feel entitled to their place on the road, and drive like everyone else should get out of their way. I get it.

GX treated me like a king, and I was tempted to drive right over all those peasants in my way. I resisted.

Under the hood, Lexus has crammed a 4.7 liter V8 that sends 263 hp and 323 lb-ft of torque through its five-speed automatic transmission. Full-time four-wheel drive with a limited-slip center differential with manual locking feature and 8.3 of ground clearance means that if you have to take your $50,000 Lexus off-road, you’ll be able to get back on-road in one piece.

Suspension is where the Lexus touch has really been applied. GX has an independent front double-wishbone setup, and a solid axle rear with a four-link rear. The rear suspension is adaptive and adjustable for ride height — basically, the GX finds the sweet spot between performance and comfort.

Stabilizer bars front and rear keep the SUV on an even keel.

Lexus GX470

GX provides a commanding view of the road through its big windshield, and pretty good sightlines all around. Parking is the usual SUV ordeal — the rear camera that comes with the navigation system helps, as does a tight 37.4′ turning circle.

Journey’s End

Lexus hits all the high points of real luxury.

Photo #169; Jason Fogelson

GX is not a practical vehicle in this day and age. 15 mpg city/19 mpg highway is ridiculous, no matter how rich you are and how much gas you can afford. So why did I feel so great driving around in such a gas hog?

Because Lexus hits all the high points of real luxury. Quality construction. Quality materials. Quality performance.

I just got the feeling that this GX would feel as rich in 10 years as it feels today, aging like fine wine. I don’t get that same feeling from many SUVs.

If you are shopping for a luxury SUV, there are several other choices to consider right now. Land Rover’s LR3 has a similar air of luxury, though some cast aspersions at its long-term quality. Infiniti’s QX56.

Volvo’s XC90. Mercedes-Benz’s GL450. Cadillac’s Escalade. Acura’s MDX and BMW’s X5 will all carry passengers in the lap of luxury while still retaining the soul of an SUV.

You really should look at Toyota’s 4Runner before you buy a GX, and see if a loaded Limited Edition meets your luxury needs — it can save you $10,000 or more.

I’m going to set my sights on GX. Maybe in ten years, when the first owner feels that the luxury has worn out, I’ll be able to swoop in and give a GX its second life, as I did with Moose. Until then, it’s Moose and me — solid and dependable, without a hint of luxury between us.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy .

Lexus GX470
Lexus GX470
Lexus GX470
Lexus GX470
Lexus GX470
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