A nine-speaker sound system that includes six-disc CD changer with MP3 capability, integrated XM radio and streaming audio via Bluetooth is standard.
Access to the rear third-row seats is from the passenger side, where the second-row seat moves forward to allow walk-in access to the third row.
Controls are nicely designed and integrated, with conspicuously high-quality wood and leather materials used throughout.
Second-row seating is reasonably roomy and versatile, allowing for either three passengers or two passengers with a center armrest/cupholder and overhead reading lamps.
The front row is spacious, with storage bins and pockets located overhead, in the center console, and side door pockets.
The rear seats can be commanded to fold flat at the push of a button, converting the GX to a five-passenger SUV with enlarged storage.
The standard center stack is designed around a 4.2-inch pushbutton display that shows trip and environment data, such as temperature, cruise range, fuel consumption, climate control settings, and so on.
With the wide-view monitor, the safety backup camera becomes a camera system.
A rear-seat entertainment system, with remote control, is bundled with the Mark Levinson audio system as an option.
Between the two front seats are adjustable armrests.
Most of the time, the third-row seats will be empty, so the power fold-flat feature on the GX is likely to be highly useful, freeing the driver from the hassle of reconfiguring the seating to accommodate changing loads.
Redundant switches for cruise control, audio and navigation are mounted in the steering wheel.
The 2010 Lexus GX is configured as a three-row, seven-passenger interior, designed with comfort and versatility in mind.
The center seat is somewhat less accommodating.
The driver can check for obstructions using three different views around the GX, generated by two separate wide-angle cameras.
The four-spoke steering wheel tilts and telescopes, and automatically tilts away when the Power button is pushed to shut the GX off.
The front seats are eight-way power adjustable, both heated and cooled.
The optional Mark Levinson audio system is for audiophiles who demand very high performance.
The outside seats are full-size seats with available heat/cool capability.
The second-row bench is split 40/20/40.
The system uses 17 speakers, powered by 330 watts with less than 0.1 percent total distortion, and can play DVDs or CDs in addition to files from outside sources.
We found the process a bit tricky, and the rearmost seats are not long on legroom, but for smaller passengers or short trips, the rear seats will be adequate.
With the Navigation system, an eight-inch touchscreen display is used, allowing for control of the Nav functions, audio, climate and phone.
As the miles rolled on in the quiet cabin, it was easy to speak at it using a low tone of voice, and the sound system provided clean, accurate sound reproduction.
Cornering is actually quite good for a vehicle of this size, height and weight.
Finding a level spot, we actuated low range using a small lever just below the shifter, and saw that it nicked in and out of 4-Lo immediately.
KDSS (Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System) is a remarkable electronically controlled system that unhinges one end of the anti-sway bars that would normally limit wheel travel.
Lexus Enform is the latest in Lexus telematic systems, and it comes standard on the GX.
On the highway the GX cruises quietly and efficiently, turning just 1500 rpm at 60 mph.
The four-wheel disc brake system responds well to light pressure at the top of the pedal, which is how this family wagon would normally be driven.
The GX is always in four-wheel drive, a mode that was completely transparent to us as we drove.
The new 4.6-liter V8 allows for taller, more efficient gearing.
While its highway ride is long-legged and effortless, in traffic the GX feels more like the truck-based SUV that it is.
All-out stopping power is consistent with a vehicle designed tow up to 6500 pounds, when truly powerful brakes are a requirement.
Another system, Safety Connect, is standard on the GX and provides automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, emergency assistance and enhanced roadside assistance.
At 2000 rpm, the speedometer was showing 79 mph, and the GX is still unstressed, riding along smoothly and quietly.
Because of the gearing, and the adoption of KDSS, the Lexus GX 460 is one of the very few mid-size SUVs with genuine off-road capability.
Body roll is well controlled by the same stout swaybars, allowing the GX to track through corners predictably without need for correction, and the stiffer wheel and tire combination works to enhance stability.
Enform is a subscription-based live-operator assist system that enables real-time assistance without having to fuss with navigation programming.
Enform is optional, bundled with Navigation.
However, bigger impacts like potholes and speed bumps are readily swallowed up by the GX suspension, which is capable of absorbing the larger irregularities of unimproved roadways.
It works automatically, without driver intervention, any time a wheel is lifted off the terrain while the vehicle is in low range.
It's an option that, while on the pricy side, will truly be appreciated by those who love their music.
It's necessary to enter Neutral to access low range, but short of that, 2.56:1 gearing is available practically on-the-fly.
KDSS offers a way to have the best of both worlds.
Lexus advises that the GX 460 has been reliably clocked at 7.8 seconds, 0-60 and will do a quarter-mile in 16.6 seconds.
Lexus has gone to electric steering, which has had a reputation for relatively numb feedback characteristics, but this is not a sports car, and the packaging advantages include significant mileage gains.
Limiting wheel travel is a good thing on pavement, but off-road, the opposite is desirable.
Our driving took place in San Diego, California, where our route took us past the Del Mar Racetrack and stretches of congested Highway 1, and onward to an off-road venue via Interstate15, which allowed an opportunity to let the GX stretch its legs at higher speeds.
Our route took us across a series of speed bumps, where we quickly noticed the faster we hit them, the better it felt.
Small roadway repairs and heavily textured surfaces create a light jiggle that can be detected at around-town speeds.
The GX is not the kind of vehicle we'd be inspired to toss into corners, but the suspension travel is not so long as to create wobbles.
The new V8 delivers more power and a 13 percent improvement in mileage.
The six-speed transmission has a taller overdrive gear than the previous five-speed automatic, and better gear selection throughout, so it plays a big part in the GX's ease of motion.
The use of a torque-sensing center differential allows the GX to continuously adjust power distribution from wheel to wheel as traction permits.
There is no sense of torque steer, and no scuffing or binding up during full-lock, low-speed maneuvering that might occur with part-time 4x4 systems.
There was nothing extremely challenging about the weather or the dirt roads we addressed during our off-road driving, but the hills and service roads of the Vessels Ranch were enough to get the GX thoroughly dusty.
This is not surprising: the Mark Levinson system has 17 speakers and enough clean power to allow for listening at very high volumes with practically no distortion.
This newest version of electric steering seems more thoughtfully tuned, with a better range of power assist, leading to a nice turn-in feel and stable tracking through sweepers.
This we attribute to relatively low-profile 60-series tires on 18-inch wheels, and rather thick anti-swaybars used to control the GX in corners.
To test it, we pushed the button, an operator picked up and downloaded directions to our lunch destination.
Traction is further enhanced with the electronic traction system Lexus calls A-TRAC, so wheel slip is quickly controlled on surfaces like wet grass or slippery pavement.
We did not take the GX out to the track, but based on our driving, we would have no reason to quibble with those numbers.
We didn't have a back seat passenger during our drive, but we did listen from the back seat later on, and sure enough, the sound is just as good in the back seat as the front.
We felt guilty asking a live operator to direct us to a burger joint, but it is nice to know that someone is standing by 24/7.
We wouldn't call it nimble, but in ordinary use the GX is easy to drive and quite painless to operate.
We've tested the system in the past on the Toyota Land Cruiser, and found it dramatically improves a vehicle's ability to avoid getting stuck while crossing highly irregular terrain.
While there is some front-end dive upon very hard braking, more than the average sedan, given the nature of the vehicle, we'd consider front-to-rear suspension compression well controlled.
With the narrower ratios of a six-speed automatic and the added power of the new V8, the GX 460 has a more responsive character when it comes to high-speed passing and full-power, on-ramp blasts.
At the rear, a new side-opening rear door has been designed, and the rear door window can be opened separately, allowing two ways to access the luggage compartment.
Exterior trim differs very slightly between Base and Premium grades, with Premium GX 460s getting telltale chrome trim around the back edge of the window glass and along the bottom of the doors.
The GX 460's front is dominated by a four-slot grill and compound headlamps that use separate projector lenses for low beam and Halogen lighting for the high beams, with LED turn signals in the side-view mirrors.
Fog lamps are mounted separately in the lower front bumper area.
Overall, the new 2010 Lexus GX is about 2.5 inches lower, 1 inch longer overall and just a quarter-inch wider that the previous-generation model.
The new lower profile and sleeker styling yield a coefficient of drag (Cd) of 0.35, very clean for an SUV of such ample size.
The rear door, no longer a hatch, swings outward when released by pressing a hidden door handle located to the left of the license plate.
The rear wiper is mounted under the rear spoiler, leaving the back window free of obstruction.
The taillights use a cluster of LED elements to generate their glow.
John Stewart filed this NewCarTestDrive.com report after his test drive of the Lexus GX near Del Mar, California.
But we suspect Lexus buyers will choose it based on the Lexus reputation for exceptional attention to build quality more than any other reason.
It's faster, quieter, more powerful, gets better mileage and has the latest safety and off-road driving features.
The all-new Lexus GX 460 is improved in every way versus the previous generation GX 470.