2012 Lexus GX

Lexus is the watchword in luxury vehicles that are still within reach for a good number of ordinary folks. The 2012 Lexus GX is a large, traditional SUV which gets fairly high marks from its reviewers and test drivers. Its interior is state of the art and sumptuous.

But given that this behemoth is a Lexus, the scores aren’t as high as they should be.

Specifications

General Info
Vehicle Type: Luxury SUV Base Price: $54,120.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 23 gallons (87 liters) MPG: 15 city / 20 hwy
Dimensions
Length: 189.2 in. (480.5 cm) Wheel Base: 109.8 in. (279 cm)
Height: 74.2 in. (188.5 cm) Width: 74.2 in. (188.5 cm)
Curb Weight: 5128 lbs (2326 kg) Ground Clearance: 8.1 in. (20.5 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 91.9 cu ft (3rd row) Maximum Seating: 7 people
Performance
Engine: 4.6L V8 DOHC 4WD Compression Ratio: 10.2: 1
Horsepower: 301 HP Max RPM: 5500 RPM
Torque: 329 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Seq.Auto ECT-i
0-60 mph: 7.8 seconds Maximum Speed: 110 mph (177 km/h)
Available Trims & Engine
Option:GX 460 Premium MSRP: $58,040; MPG: 15 city / 20 hwy

Though this SUV received kudos for its off-road performance, it was considered lackluster when driving in the city. Most of the test drivers wanted it to be brawny off-road but a great family SUV as well, and it’s simply not a great family SUV.

Other luxury crossover SUV’s like the Mercedes-Benz M class (MSRP $49,865; 17 city / 22 hwy) and the Acura MDX (MSRP $43,925; 16 city / 21 hwy) are better at this. On the other hand, the Land Rover LR4 (MSRP $49,750; 12 city / 17 hwy) has top of the line of off-road capability as well as a luxurious interior.

Engine

The GX comes in premium and base trims. Both have standard four wheel drive. Both have a gas, V8 4.6 L/281 engine. The engine delivers 301 horsepower along with 329 pound feet of torque and a six speed automatic transmission.

Both base and premium trim get 16 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. Though not stunning numbers, they’re competitive with other vehicles of the GX’s type.

Performance

Reviewers were ambivalent about the GX’s performance. Many test drivers said that the ride was smooth and the vehicle was responsive. Others complained that the way the vehicle is built gave it a tendency to wobble a little on roads that were less than glass-smooth.

Others have praised the powertrain’s road manners and the strong but smooth way the vehicle accelerated. However, as it’s based on a truck’s design, the GX doesn’t handle like a car.

Exterior

The exterior of the 2012 Lexus GX got mixed reviews. Some reviewers appreciated its ruggedness, but others thought it was a bit stodgy.

Interior

The GX excels when it comes to its interior, but still, not as much as it should. The materials are of the best quality. Reviewers find the front seats comfortable, though the seats in the second and third rows were a bit less accommodating; with some complaining that they wanted leg room.

The interior is upholstered in leather, and the front seats can be adjusted ten ways. They're also ventilated and heated. The third row has power folding. With the Premium, the middle row can be heated and the leather is even more refined.

Besides climate control, the vehicle has a navigation system, a DVD in the rear seat, a nine speaker audio system, satellite radio, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and lots of other bells and whistles. Some people still weren’t satisfied however; they complained there were too many buttons to push.

The GX has 91.9 cubic feet for cargo with the second and thirds rows folded. With just the third row down, it has 46.7 cubic feet. The cargo door also opens from the driver’s side, which makes stowing things a little challenging.

Safety

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the Federal Government have conducted crash tests on the GX, but it does have a wealth of safety features, including 10 air bags, brake assist, antilock brakes and hill start assist. It also has smart stop.

Reliability

The GX received a 4.5 out of 5 rating from J.D. Power. It has a warranty of 50,000 miles for the first four years and a six year or 70,000 mile powertrain warranty. The first four years will also bring roadside assistance.

Pros & Cons

The pros definitely include the GX’s opulent interior and its many safety features, and to a lesser extent, the way it drives off-road. The downside includes the on-road performance and its poor low fuel economy.

Overall Rating
71 out of 100

What others say:

“The 2012 Lexus GX 460 has traditional SUV chops—meaning that it's good for the trail, and rock-crawling—and while it performs well enough on the road, it's hardly agile”Car Connection

“The traditional truck-type construction results in handling with marked cornering lean. GX doesn't feel tippy, though. The steering is nicely weighted but lacks road feel.”Consumer Guide

“The GX 460 SUV is very quiet and quick. Like the Toyota 4Runner, the GX is a body-on-frame that is capable off-road and has a high tow rating.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“As one of the few luxury SUVs utilizing a traditional boxed ladder frame, the 2012 Lexus GX 460 strikes an excellent balance between serious off-road capability and civilized daily driving manners.”KBB

“Capable off-road performer; top-notch interior with plenty of luxury features. Uncomfortable second-row seats; inconvenient side-swinging cargo door.”Edmunds