The 2003 Lexus GX 470 is a brand-new nameplate that's based on the all-new Toyota 4Runner. The new Lexus comes with a powerful 4.7-liter V8 that's smooth and quiet. The GX 470 features the latest in off-road management systems and a suspension that gives it the ability to go virtually anywhere. On the road, it uses Vehicle Skid Control to help the driver maintain control in slippery corners. Its brakes are excellent. Inside, the GX 470 is roomy and quiet, swathed in leather and birdseye maple. It is a Lexus, so everything is where it's supposed to be.
The Lexus GX 470 fits between the popular car-based RX 330 and the ultra-luxurious, ultra-capable truck-based LX 470. It's smaller and lighter than the Toyota Land Cruiser-based LX 470. Like the LX, the GX uses traditional truck engineering with body-on-frame construction, a rear-wheel-drive chassis layout, and a V8 engine.
Though based on the 4Runner, the Lexus GX 470 offers a personality of its own. To some extent, it competes with the BMW X5 4.4i and the Mercedes-Benz ML 500, but the Lexus is longer, wider, taller and lighter than either of those entries.
The Lexus GX 470 ($44,925) is positioned in the luxury-utility vehicle market segment, with a single model strategy augmented by major options and option packages. That's marketing jargon meaning this baby comes loaded with expensive equipment and features, yet you can add even more stuff.
More than 20 premium items come standard, from the glass moonroof to the illuminated running boards. A five-speed automatic transmission (rather than a four-speed automatic) comes standard. Also standard: anti-lock brakes, traction control, power seats, power mirrors, power windows, a wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated seats, rain-sensing wipers, automatic dual climate control, Homelink, a 115V AC power outlet in the cargo area, AM/FM/cassette/6-disc CD changer with 11 speakers, rear seat audio system (RSAS) with remote control and headphones, a roof rack. Standard equipment includes a Torsen limited-slip differential, Vehicle Skid Control (VSC), Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), adjustable height control, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Options include a third-row seat with rear air conditioning ($2,030); Navigation system bundled with a Mark Levinson premium audio system ($2,700); Lexus Link ($1,215), which is similar to GM's OnStar system and includes one year of service; a rear-seat entertainment system with two headphones ($1,560). A tow hitch receiver ($430) is optional.
Standard passive-safety equipment includes dual multi-stage front airbags and side airbags and side curtain airbags for the front and second-row seats. Three-point seatbelts are provided for each seating position, and the front belts are equipped with pretensioners and force limiters to help minimize injuries from the belts themselves in an impact.