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Car Review: 2013 Lexus GX 460 Premium

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This true-to-form, full-size luxury SUV makes quite a first impression! Full-size SUVs are hard to find anymore, and one with all of the appointments of the 2013 Lexus GX 460 Premium are even rarer. Whether on-road or off-road, this beast of a vehicle will take care of business.

EXTERIOR

A goal of the designers was to have the vehicle create the impression of being sculpted from a single block of metal. This is one tough-looking ride, and there aren’t many blocks of metal that want to get in the GX 460’s way. The distinctive grille features three horizontal bars and, upon closer inspection, intricate detail and texture that conveys renowned Lexus attention to detail. The front bumper features standard integrated fog lamps and functional design elements like low-profile roof rails and an acoustic insulation windshield that helps reduce wind noise. The 18-inch, 6-spoke liquid graphite wheels were large enough to look good on the GX 460. Some of the exterior premium features included adaptive front lighting system, high intensity discharge headlamps, headlamp cleaners and illuminated front door sills.

INTERIOR

The luxurious Lexus GX 460 luxury utility vehicle carries over into 2013 with its quiet cabin and a long list of standard features and options that make it a versatile choice for city and off-road driving. Our loaded Premium model came with these and other options:

• Standard features include: ten-way power-adjustable, heated/ventilated front seats; automatic dual-zone climate control; leather trimmed seats and surfaces; steering wheel audio controls; rain-sensing windshield wipers; power moonroof; memory system for the driver’s seat, steering wheel and outside mirror positions; and integrated HomeLink transmitter.

• The versatile passenger-side second row seat slides 4.1 inches fore/aft to maximize passenger and cargo carrying ability.

• The foldable and reclining second row seats also feature a 60/40 walk-in function to access the standard power fold-flat third row seats.

• The rear door window has a flip-up glass panel for added convenience.

• Equipped for family multimedia entertainment, the GX 460 comes standard with a Lexus Premium nine-speaker audio system with iPod/USB connectivity, Bluetooth hands free phone capability and music streaming, and an integrated SirusXM Satellite Radio receiver (complimentary 90-day trial subscription included).

• A rear back-up camera is standard and provides the driver a view of what its lens can detect behind the vehicle when engaged in reverse gear, projecting the image on the standard 4.2-inch multi-information display, or the optional navigation system’s LCD display.

• The Convenience Package includes electrochromic exterior mirrors with power retract and Intuitive Parking Assist.

• The Comfort Plus Package includes semi-aniline leather, heated second-row outer seats, wood-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, and three-zone automatic climate control.

• The hard disc drive (HDD) navigation system is a standalone option and features Voice Command casual language-based voice recognition system and Bluetooth phonebook download to enhance owner convenience.

• 17-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Audio system is the platinum standard for OEM mobile audio.

• The Rear Seat Entertainment (RSE) system includes two LCD screens, one in each of the front seat backrests.

• Three-zone automatic climate control for enhanced third-row passenger comfort is also available as a standalone option.

• Available on the Premium model, with the optional Pre-Collision System (PCS), the Wide-view Front and Side Camera is designed to enhance visibility in tight settings, such as parking garages, and to help the driver’s view around corners when pulling out of parking spaces into traffic and stopped at intersections and T-junctions.

• Intuitive Parking Assist helps the driver detect obstacles at the front, rear or corners of the vehicle and helps guide the GX into the garage or parking spaces.

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PERFORMANCE

The GX 460 is one of the few premium luxury utility vehicles that can deliver genuine trail-driving capability. Combining that capability with Lexus luxury and on-road performance makes it even more exceptional. The standard full-time four-wheel drive uses an electronically controlled transfer case and a TORSEN torque-sensing limited slip center differential that can be electronically locked. It also offers a low range for off-road driving. The TORSEN differential distributes power 40:60 front/rear under most driving conditions and changes the ratio as needed based on wheel slip. The ability to change to a 30:70 front/rear ratio during steering maneuvers helps enhance vehicle tracking through curves. If the rear wheels spin, the center differential can change the ratio to 50:50 front/rear to help control the slippage. The TORSEN differential also helps make the GX 460 less prone to slippage caused by sudden changes in road surface conditions, such as driving through a puddle or over an ice patch.

By adjusting sway resistance provided by the front and rear stabilizer bars, standard Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) can help reduce maximum body-lean angle by as much as 50 percent to help enhance both on-road handling response and off-highway capability.

Using hydraulic cylinders acting on each stabilizer bar and linked by a pressure-sensing valve, KDSS reduces the degree of sway stiffness provided by the stabilizer bars in response to changing road conditions and driver inputs. Because KDSS changes the effectiveness of the stabilizer bars in certain situations like off-road driving, the nominal stiffness of the bars can be notably increased to help reduce body-lean and improve on-road handling. During on-road cornering, when both front and rear hydraulic cylinders are in a neutral position, no fluid flows in the system and the stabilizer bars work conventionally to help reduce body lean. In off-road driving situations, KDSS allows the wheels on each axle to move with a larger degree of side-to-side independence, helping to minimize any tendency for wheel lift. When the GX 460 encounters an uneven surface, one compressed cylinder causes fluid to flow to the other cylinder, helping the vehicle to keep all four wheels on the ground. That action increases wheel travel and articulation and helps to equalize wheel loading.

In addition to KDSS, the GX 460 offers optional Crawl Control, a technology that helps make driving off-road easier. The Crawl Control feature automatically modulates the throttle and brake, allowing the driver to concentrate on steering. It’s also useful to help navigate the vehicle through sand, mud or snow. When the transmission is shifted into low range, Crawl Control regulates engine speed and output, along with braking force, to propel the vehicle forward or in reverse at one of five low-speed settings. This allows the driver to maintain focus while steering over very rough ground or steep grades, without having to also modulate the throttle and brake pedals. Crawl Control also actuates the front and rear “virtual” locking differentials to help reduce tire slippage and optimize chassis behavior. The driver can reduce vehicle speed by braking or adjusting the crawling speed with a selector switch.

Available on our Premium model, the optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Driver Attention Monitor Package can help reduce collision damage. The package includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a pre-set following distance from a vehicle traveling ahead. Fuel efficiency is decent coming in at 15mpg in the city and 20pg on the highway. The 2013 Lexus GX460 Premium boasts performance features including a 4.6 liter 32 valve DOHC V8 engine with dual VVT and 6-speed sequential shift controlled automatic transmission. When you take off from a stop, it takes a lot to get going, but once you are driving at a decent speed, there appears to be plenty of power.

OVERVIEW

Some buyers need a third row and towing power, but also long for a luxury vehicle to accomplish that and more. For those who cherish the Lexus experience and are in the market for a full-size SUV, the 2013 Lexus GX 460 Premium could be the choice. This ultra-lux SUV came in at price of $69,395, which basically offers you all of the amenities one could ask for and the utility that only the toughest off-road SUVs can accomplish. This might not be the SUV for everyone, but there is no doubt that Lexus knows their customers, and those select consumers will cherish the 2013 Lexus GX 460 Premium.

  

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