The Lexus GX 470 doesn't look big on the outside even though it's fairly large, which is a major plus. Without the optional roof rack, it looks even smaller. Huge, complex and expensive lamps adorn each of its four corners, and the taillamps are mounted high where everyone can see them. Yet its overall shape and a minimum of decoration result in a nice and simple appearance. The body shell is the same five-door design as a Toyota 4Runner, with a Lexus-style grille and lamps. GX 470 rides on 265/65HR17 tires.
The GX 470 has a peaky hood and grille combination, massive headlamps, nicely integrated body-colored bumpers, fender flares and side moldings, a clean crisp look that's almost too clean.
What you get most of with the GX 470 is the luxury that we've all grown used to with Lexus-brand vehicles. This is a big, brawny vehicle that offers the last word in leather and birdseye maple wood glamour, very large and commodious seats, lots of elbow room, and lots of help to make your ride more fun and more comfortable. All of the gauges and instruments are large and easy to read, with simple graphics shared by other Lexus products.
The GX 470 in its eight-seat configuration offers plenty of room and easy in/out at the 60/40 split second row, with a 50/50 split third seat accessible via the folding second seat. The third-row seats can either be folded up out of the way or removed and stored. What starts as a 13 cubic-foot cargo bay can be expanded in steps by folding or removing seats up to more than 77 cubic feet with the lightweight rear seats removed and the second row folded.
We were impressed by two things inside the GX 470: the quiet, and the use of space. At highway cruising speeds, the V8 is barely audible. A normal family of four with one large pet will feel right at home inside the GX, cosseted and comfortable with tall side windows affording a good view out. The quality of materials, fit, and finish, is excellent, and the cabin really works.
For the time being, the only options for the GX 470 are the navigation system, bundled with the Mark Levinson 240-watt sound system ($2700), the DVD entertainment system ($1560), and the third-seat package with rear air conditioning ($2030), a tow hitch receiver ($430), and the Lexus Link concierge service.
One of the beauties of driving any Lexus product is that everything is where it's supposed to be, and everything is clearly labeled. Even something as complex as a navigation system has been reduced to everyday equipment in the GX 470 because it was designed so well.
Our only functional criticism is aimed at the rear cargo compartment, which is accessed by opening the door from the side. We've grown so accustomed to a horizontally split tailgate or a top-hinged liftgate in this market segment that the door design just didn't feel natural to us anymore.