The redesigned 2024 Lexus GX keeps the essence of the previous GX while adding enough tech and refinement to attract new buyers
2024 Lexus GX Good First Impressions:
- Great balance of comfort and capability.
- Impressive off-road performance.
- Outstanding towing capability.
- Spacious second-row seat.
2024 Lexus GX Poor First Impressions:
- Overtrail model might be too rough for some.
- Omnipresent road noise in every trim.
The current Lexus GX has largely been forgotten by luxury SUV buyers in Canada. Lexus says it has no issues selling every GX model it brings to market here, but that still only amounted to just over 600 unit sales last year while Land Rover sold over 2,000 Defenders. Put another way, I saw more previous-generation GX on the road over a three-day span in Arizona than I have seen in the last three years on the roads in Canada. This will change this year with the launch of the redesigned 2024 Lexus GX.
The GX’s rarity on our roads isn’t a reflection of the product’s quality. Introduced in its current form in 2013, the GX has always been known for its off-road capability and, of course, Lexus’s renowned reliability. This reliability is something the Defender can only aspire to. Its robust V8 engine, if properly maintained, could last for decades, and its off-roading chops were never in doubt. The issue was more likely that when you’re talking about an SUV that’s nearing the $100,000 mark, the competition is plentiful. Buyers in this segment, particularly those interested in an off-road-focused premium luxury SUV, tend to want the latest model. The last GX was not that. The 2024 Lexus GX certainly is.
Everything is new in the 2024 Lexus GX
The GX is new in every possible way. It now has a brand-new twin-turbocharged V6 powertrain that is more powerful and has quite a bit more torque than the outgoing V8. With 349 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, it bests the eight-cylinder by 48 hp and 150 pound-feet. Although for some, a V8 has no equal, this new engine is better in any practical or tangible sense. Not only is it smoother, but it also reacts much quicker than the antiquated V8, while being considerably more efficient despite the rather jagged aerodynamics of the new GX. It can also tow up to 8,000 pounds in most GX versions, while the Overtrail model can tow up to 9,000 pounds. That gives the new GX the best towing capacity in its segment, which alone should bring in a flurry of curious potential buyers into Lexus dealerships.
The interior is all brand-new as well. Although if you’ve been in another Lexus vehicle recently, you might find that it doesn’t really have anything that particularly stands out from a design standpoint. The last GX had a cluttered, massive center console with a ton of buttons here and there that worked well with its adventurous, somewhat unrefined personality. It was also different from any other Lexus product. The GX loses some of that uniqueness with an interior style that’s copy-pasted from the recently redesigned RX and brand-new TX.
On the other hand, you can’t fault the layout, the ergonomics, or the ease of use of the Lexus Multimedia system. From easy-to-use voice commands to large buttons and a massive screen, the infotainment system inside the GX is considerably easier to operate than most other SUVs in the segment. There is considerable space for both front and middle-row passengers, while the third row is surprisingly welcoming from a legroom and headroom perspective. An adult can fit back there and even spend a few hours and be fine. Of course, that will mean that aside from a laptop bag, you won’t be able to bring much else with you.
The cargo area behind the third row is laughable with less than a foot in width left between the third row and the standard power tailgate. That tailgate, by the way, now opens up in the traditional way, as opposed to sideways, which will make anyone who regularly parallel parks in the city happy. Lower that third row, however, and the GX confirms its versatility. Three-row models also have an added lip caused by the storage area for the the sixth and seventh seats, and that space adds about 6 inches of extra height that you have to clear. The cargo area is already fairly high off the ground, so if you plan on putting anything bulky in the back on a regular basis, you might want to check and make sure you won’t have any issues there.
That’s the only knock on the Lexus GX when it comes to versatility as the interior space is vast and generous. The seats are comfortable, and there are a ton of features across the comprehensive 2024 GX lineup. Notable features include massage seats, 22-inch wheels in the Executive trim, and a 21-speaker Mark Levison sound system. Most GX models have 7 seats standard while the Overtrail off-road models are five-seaters. The top-of-the-line executive trim has six seats with two captain’s chairs in the middle row with a cupholder in between. The good news is that you can remove this cupholder if needed and have a clear path to the third row.
Off-road capability remains impressive
Lexus tells us that there is a huge aftermarket for used GX models that are older than five years. These models are tuned and tweaked by serious off-roaders. We believe them, and if we did have to choose a used SUV to tune for the most difficult off-road trails, we’d likely pick a GX as well, if only for the reliability.
Suffice to say that off-roading has always been part of the GX mantra and DNA, and the new model is superbly competent off the beaten path. Now, to say that we did some deep off-roading in the GX would be an overstatement. We did the usual offset bumps, steeply angled turns, and ridiculous crawl-mode-only climbs, but the course was all pre-built and certainly adapted to the GX. I won’t knock Lexus for this because there really wasn’t any point in making us climb the Grand Canyon.
The GX, with its suite of advanced off-roading technology, will be able to go just about anywhere a Defender or a G-Class would. One of the highlights of this new tech is the Lexus Electronic-Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (E-KDSS). It’s an improved version of the previous mechanical KDSS system offered in the last GX 470. The idea of the new electronic system is the same, however. When the system detects a lost of contact between a wheel and the ground, it springs into action and adjusts the sway bars to ensure independent motion between the wheels and enhanced control.
Unfortunately, because most owners won’t take their GX any further than a dirt road that leads to their cottage on the lake, it’s safe to say that the GX’s impressive off-road capability will likely remain dormant in most cases.
Impressive comfort on the road
What may be of interest to most potential GX buyers is that this capability does not compromise comfort and refinement as much as I first thought it would. The Overtrail models are notably noisier with tire rumblings coming into the cabin incessantly, and you will hear a constant stream of small rattles as you go over bumps, which is the hallmark of any body-on-frame SUV.
However, the GX is more refined, in my opinion, by a smidge than the Defender, which is also quite noisy and rattly. The GX also does a better job of isolating the driver from bumps in the road. Part of that comfort stems from the competent adaptive variable suspension found in the top-of-the-line Executive trim. Seamless, the AVS system does a great job of adapting to the road, controlling unwanted movements, and keeping what should be a stiff and uncomfortable SUV refined. The new GX is no RX or TX, but for such a capable vehicle, the comfort is more than acceptable and even surprising.
As stated previously, there’s no denying that the twin-turbo V6 performs better than the outgoing V8 in every way. It’s a lot quieter, it delivers its power in a much more linear fashion with an exemplary torque curve, which remains at its peak over nearly 2,000 RPM. And again, there’s no denying that 9,000 pounds of towing capacity (or even 8,000 in most GX models) is a clear selling point that will help Lexus move a lot of GX units. No other luxury SUV in this segment can do better.
The previous-generation Lexus GX had become an afterthought, a forgotten model that you rarely if ever saw on the road. On the other hand, the model had a lot of admirers. What Lexus managed to do with the 2024 model is retain the essence of what the GX has always represented, improving it with modern technology inside and around the body-on-frame setup. Like the current GX, Lexus will sell every single one they bring to market. The difference is that there will be a lot more demand.