The Lexus GX is a mid-size luxury-type sport utility vehicle (SUV) sold in North American markets by Lexus since 2003. The Lexus GX 470 was first introduced in the United States at the North American International Auto Show in 2002 as a 2003 model, and subsequently became the third SUV to enter Lexus' lineup. The GX 470 shares exterior design with the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, sold in in Asia, Australia, and Europe, and is based on the same platform which also underpins the 4Runner, FJ Cruiser. The 4.7L V8 engine in the GX 470 is the same as used on the larger LX 470. Production of the GX 470 occurs at Lexus' Tahara plant in Japan.
In the Lexus lineup, the GX 470 is situated between the entry-level crossover RX and the premium full-size LX. Targeted exclusively for the North American market, the Lexus GX design has been characterized as focused on blending both on-road and off-road capabilities in a single vehicle. Since 2003, the GX 470 has been upgraded with added technological features, including a new off-road suspension system and a Sport model.
The Lexus GX 470 was introduced as a 2003 model in November 2002, and released at the same time as the now-defunct competitor, the Lincoln Aviator. The GX 470 has a welded steel body, an electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission, and an enhanced four-wheel drive system. The GX interior offers a place for up to eight passengers with three rows of seating, although the third row is tight with only 24in (609.6mm) of legroom for its three passengers. A side-opening rear tailgate is standard. Other features include built-in mudguards, water-repellent glass for the windshield and the driver & passenger doors, integrated illuminated running boards, and a roof rack with crossbars. The premium Mark Levinson audio system along with a rear seat DVD entertainment system are available as options.
The GX 470 is powered by a 4.7L,VVT-i 32-valve, four-cam V8 2UZ-FE engine with 270horsepower (201kW) — 263hp (196kW) for 2008 models — at 5,400 rpm and 330lb·ft (447N·m) of torque at 3,400 rpm. This is one of the largest engines that has ever been put into a Lexus. The largest is a 5.7 liter V8 featured in the LX 570. The GX also met all the requirements to make it a certified Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle II (ULEV II). The following year-by-year changes occurred after the GX's 2003 debut:
For 2004, the GX received a number of safety upgrades that included a roll-sensing feature for the side-curtain airbags, a tire-pressure monitoring system and an optional rear backup camera system (for those vehicles with the navigation system installed). An optional Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) became available as a late-year addition. KDSS frees and adjusts the GX's stabilizer bars so that each wheel can move with less restriction over uneven terrain. KDSS uses front and rear hydraulic pressure-sensing valves and larger stabilizer bars to reduce body roll during off-road conditions, while retaining smooth ride quality on regular road surfaces.
For 2005, a Sport model joined the lineup that included the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, smoked bezel headlamps, foglamp trim, black pearl emblems, a chrome license plate garnish and exhaust tip and alloy wheels with a dark graphite finish. Inside, the Sport model featured black bird's eye maple wood and graphite metallic trim. Other GX option changes that year included an upgraded navigation system with better graphics and additional functions, Bluetooth compatibility and voice commands for the climate control, audio and navigation systems. All models also received a more powerful V8 engine good for 270 horsepower (up from 235).
Standard features include front air conditioning w/dual zone automatic climate controls, interior air filter, power tilt/telescopic wood/leather-wrapped steering wheel w/radio controls, cruise control, leather upholstery, heated front bucket seats, 10-way power driver seat w/lumbar adjustment, 6-way power passenger seat, memory system, 2nd-row split folding rear seat, heated power mirrors w/tilt-down back-up aid, power sunroof, 6-disc CD changer, rain-sensing wipers, compass, outside-temperature indicator, universal garage door opener, and rear privacy glass. Optional features include a navigation system w/voice recognition, DVD entertainment system, rearview camera, wireless cell phone link, Mark Levinson sound system, 3rd-row split folding rear seat, Lexus Link assistance system, and tow-hitch receiver. Packages and options can get the Lexus GX470 from $47,615 up to about $57,000.
2006 saw no significant changes to the GX 470, although new SAE engine testing procedures resulted in a slight drop in the amount of stated power for the V8. For 2007, a few detail changes were made to the onboard entertainment systems. The optional navigation system was upgraded with fifth-generation Lexus technology that included improved voice activation for many functions, a higher-resolution display, and an input jack for auxiliary devices like an iPod. The Mark Levinson premium audio system could also now play DVDs while displaying video on the navigation screen when the vehicle is parked. Additionally, the optional rear-seat entertainment system's video screen was expanded to 9 inches wide.
For 2008, Lexus added a new dark metallic finish on the front grille, chrome roof rack rails, a liquid graphite finish on the standard 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome finished front audio speaker grilles, and revised turn signal lights. Brown walnut wood trim became a new interior option, while Salsa Red Pearl and Desert Sage Metallic exterior paint were new for 2008.
The GX is expected to be redesigned for the 2010 model. According to prospective information, its 0-60 mph acceleration time is expected to improve from 8.5 seconds to 7.2 seconds. Power may increase from 263 horsepower to 303 horsepower. Standard features will likely include all of the 2009 GX 470's plus a standard wireless cellphone link. A sporty version of the GX 470 may also be released, most likely called the GX 570. The GX 570 will have a 5.7 liter V8, getting the car to 60 mph in an estimated 6.2 seconds. The GX 570 may have 393 horsepower.
According to production rumors, a GX 400 Hybrid will be released no later than late 2010. It will have a 4.0 liter V6 engine, powering the car to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds. With a cylinder deactivation system and a reduced weight, the 2010 Lexus GX400 Hybrid could get 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 miles per gallon on the highway.
An estimated $50,000 price tag could apply for the GX 470, $64,000 for the more upscale and sportier GX 570, and $52,000 for the GX 400h.
The Lexus GX has won various awards including 4-Wheeler of the Year in 2003 and 2004 from 4x4 Magazine. J.D. Power and Associates named the GX 470 the highest ranked premium luxury SUV in initial quality in 2005, and Kelley Blue Book gave the GX 470 its Best Resale Value Award in 2006.
Production and sales data for the Lexus GX are as follows. Production figures are not available for 2006 onward. Sourced from manufacturer production information, along with sales data.