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Friday, February 23, 2024

2024 Lexus GX 550 paints goal on Land Rover


Land Rover has a brand new drawback, and of all of the automakers, the issue comes from Lexus.

We’ll simply file that underneath issues we didn’t see coming in 2024.

For the primary time in 14 years, the 2024 Lexus GX 550 is new. Most of it stays acquainted. This 12 months, the body-on-frame SUV arrives on a brand new platform, with fewer cylinders and extra fashionable expertise, all in a sharply creased and enticing package deal. 

After driving the 2024 Lexus GX 550 on- and off-road outdoors Tucson, Arizona, I got here to at least one conclusion above all others. Land Rover sellers needs to be nervous.

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

What does the Lexus GX 550 seem like?

An SUV. Gone are the refined curves, actually any semblance of a gentle edge. The GX 550 is an upright, boxy brick with throwback design cues and slab sides. The oblong facet view mirrors harken again to the FJ Cruiser and different traditional Toyota SUVs. The A-pillars are extra upright due to the bottom of the windshield being set again 2.8 inches additional. The headlights are mounted up excessive to be shielded from off-road adventures whereas the horizontal LED taillight is mounted excessive for higher visibility whereas off-roading. Overtrail fashions characteristic working boards that may be eliminated with 4 bolts per facet. All variations put on a giant Lexus spindle grille. 

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

Contained in the GX is all about horizontal, onerous strains. The upright dashboard is just like that of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class the place it’s not very deep and mounted near the windshield. Luckily Lexus didn’t set up the RX and NX’s touch-sensitive steering wheel buttons within the GX, and these are actual buttons. Each GX will get a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 14.0-inch touchscreen. Each use the identical software program as different Lexus autos, which implies the gauge cluster might be practically washed out in sure lighting situations and the huge touchscreen lacks split-screen functionality. Does anyone want full-width Apple CarPlay or navigation?

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

What sort of engine does the Lexus GX 550 have?

The V-8 is useless. RIP.

Each 2024 GX 550 is powered by a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V-6 producing 349 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. A full-time four-wheel-drive system that includes a 2-speed switch case is customary. A hybrid mannequin can be out there in some unspecified time in the future, however Lexus was mum on a timeline.

Lexus claims a 0-60 mph dash of 6.5 seconds, and my butt dyno says that feels about proper. The outdated mannequin was comparatively gradual with the identical dash taking 7.8 seconds.

The turbo-6 has a deep sound to it that isn’t nasal, and torque kicks in rapidly off the road at about 2,000 rpm due to quick-spooling turbos. Not like different iterations of this engine, you’ll be able to’t actually hear the turbos spool right here.

The ten-speed computerized is a pleasure and amongst my favourite computerized transmissions in the marketplace. It cracks off fast, easy shifts and by no means appears to get misplaced in all these gears. Sport and Sport+ mode drops the system down a gear for extra partaking driving. In off-road modes the transmission will maintain gear adjustments and improve engine velocity to make sure extra management within the energy supply.

The GX gained’t win any effectivity contests, but it surely’s higher (barely) than the outgoing V-8 with estimated gas economic system rankings of 15 mpg metropolis, 21 mpg freeway, 17 mpg mixed. In my abbreviated publicity it was onerous to get a real sense of the GX’s real-world gas economic system, but it surely was clear that round city, if the driving force retains their foot out of the facility, the turbos gained’t be spooling. With the turbos not spooling it appears the powertrain is able to averaging within the mid-20s. We’ll want extra time behind the wheel to really decide how environment friendly the GX is. 

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

How a lot can the Lexus GX 550 tow?

Greater than initially marketed. Lexus initially estimated the GX would tow as much as 8,000 kilos. After SAE J2807 validation the max tow ranking climbed to 9,096 kilos in Overtrail trim. That’s a ton of weight with a 112.2-inch wheelbase. We look ahead to towing with the GX in some unspecified time in the future. 

Notably the 7- and 5-pin connector for trailer lights is mounted beneath the bumper on the left facet of the receiver. Similar to the bigger LX 600, this implies you will want to get down on the bottom to see the plug and join the trailer lights. Hope it’s not muddy down there. The hitch receiver itself has a plastic cowl that’s secured with two push pins, which require a flathead screwdriver to take away. It’s a ache and practically everybody else makes use of conventional twist-to-release fasteners.

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

How does the Lexus GX 550 drive?

In comparison with the outgoing GX 470 the GX 550 feels sprightly on its rubber ft. The steering is boosted and light-weight, however not sloppy, in contrast to the gradual, heavy steering within the earlier GX. That is regardless of weighing lots of (relying on the configuration) of kilos greater than the outgoing mannequin. Plumbing and {hardware} for turbos provides weight.

Sharing its TNGA-F platform with every thing from the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma pickups to the Sequoia SUV, the GX isn’t constructed just like the Land Rover Defender, but Lexus has tuned the suspension so it doesn’t trip like a truck. It’s extra akin to a super-stiff crossover when issues get bumpy.

Base Premium and Premium+ fashions trip on 20-inch wheels with passive dampers, however high-zoot Luxurious and Luxurious+ fashions roll on 22-inch wheels with the latter getting adaptive dampers. Fashions with the passive dampers characteristic a snug and managed trip with some physique lean round corners, however cobblestone driveways fail to upset the GX. Extra luxurious Luxurious+ fashions can soften the trip in consolation mode or agency issues up in Sport and Sport+. The passive dampers appear to have a impartial tune that equates to Regular mode in GXs with adaptive dampers. 

Essentially the most comfy GX is the Overtrail. That’s due partially to the adaptive dampers, however largely it’s from downsizing to 18-inch wheels and thick 33-inch Toyo Open Nation tires. The latter present a 10-mm wider observe on Overtrail fashions. Lexus spokespeople confirmed 35s won’t match with out rubbing and or different points in inventory type. Regardless of their chunky look the all-terrain tires don’t include a howl on dry pavement.  

The off-road mannequin is the one trim to characteristic Toyota’s E-KDSS system, which robotically electronically (earlier iterations used a hydraulic setup) disconnects the sway bars for extra articulation off-road. However on the highway the system helps stiffen the car laterally round corners, which helps compensate for the softer, taller, sidewall on the all-terrain tires. It is a trick setup and no one else gives such a system.

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

How succesful is the Lexus GX 550 off-road?

Way more succesful than most crossover SUVs. With a 2-speed switch case, the E-KDDS system enabling as much as 25 inches of entrance and 21 inches of rear articulation, and crawl management (which is like off-road cruise management) the GX 550 can enterprise additional off-road than Lexus despatched us.

Nonetheless, that Lexus spindle grille poses a problem. Lexus plans on launching the GX with as much as 15 equipment by the dealership together with companions like ARB and Dometic. Prospects will be capable of match equipment proper from the showroom and wrap them into their fee—however a kind of equipment, at the least at launch, gained’t be a metal bumper or a winch. 

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

The issue: The grille goes all the best way as much as the hoodline, and the front-facing digital camera, parking sensors, and forward-facing radar unit for the protection techniques are all built-in fully into the grille. None are protected properly sufficient. After I requested GX Chief Engineer Koji Sato how a metal bumper, say from ARB, and a winch could possibly be built-in into the entrance finish of the GX his smile turned and he rapidly stated by a translator that they would wish to research an answer. No less than the decrease middle panel on the Overtrail’s entrance finish might be changed simply in the event that they get broken. 

All GXs have an strategy angle of 26 levels, however the departure angle varies by trim with 21 levels on the low finish on Luxurious fashions and 23 levels on the excessive finish on Premium fashions. Overtrails break up the distinction with a departure angle of twenty-two levels. Breakover angle is 23 levels on all however Overtrail fashions, which will increase to 24 levels. 

Each GX can wade in as much as 27.56 inches of water, in keeping with Lexus. We didn’t go wherever practically that deep. Essentially the most technical course we had been set to sort out was flooded out by uncommon rainstorms in Tucson simply earlier than my arrival. However I used to be in a position to put the GX by its paces on some articulation workouts the place it was extraordinarily composted and quiet. Participating the 2-speed switch case requires the flick of a change and  introduces gear whine because the discount gears do their factor to multiply the torque.

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

Our off-road information had me put the GX in Mud mode, lock the usual middle differential that splits the facility evenly 50:50, put the four-wheel-drive system in 4Lo, and interact the digital rear locking differential, which is customary on the Overtrail mannequin. It was all excessive overkill. The GX crawled alongside the rocky and at occasions mud-covered path with out breaking a sweat.

After ditching our off-road information I made a decision to belief my intestine that this was all far beneath the GX’s capabilities. I took the GX out of 4Lo and put it in 4Hi, disengaged the rear locker, however did depart the system in Mud mode and saved the middle locker engaged. Minutes into the off-road course it was obvious the GX nonetheless wasn’t breaking a sweat. This SUV’s capabilities had been far past what Lexus was displaying off. 

If there’s the rest the GX lacks in off-road {hardware} it could be air suspension and a entrance locker. Land Rovers characteristic the previous, although whereas it can provide a car extra floor clearance it additionally introduces a brand new level of failure. The latter was deemed pointless, in keeping with Sato. It in all probability is, however there’s no kill like overkill relating to off-road {hardware}.

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

Is the Lexus GX 550 comfy?

It relies upon which seat you’re sitting in. These up entrance would be the most comfy with supportive seats, gentle leather-based, and on Luxurious + and Overtrail+, a therapeutic massage perform that’s sadly solely accessed deep into the menu system requiring a number of faucets to have interaction.

The second row is comfy with 36.7 inches of legroom, however be aware of which seats you go for. Luxurious+ and Overtrail+ fashions with the massaging entrance seats can have the middle of the entrance seat backs eat into legroom as a result of massaging {hardware}. Lexus places onerous seat again covers on these seats and scallops them to create extra knee room. Fashions with out entrance massaging seats have gentle, flat seatbacks and extra legroom general. 

Whereas large second-row captain’s seats are an choice, I discovered the bench seat to be extra comfy regardless of the seat backside being a bit flat. The captain’s chairs have airplane-style flip down armrests I struggled to discover a comfy place with. The second row options reclining seat backs that can be welcome on highway journeys. As a result of body-on-frame packaging the rear seats hug the rear axle. This creates a stadium-style seating impact the place the second-row occupants are positioned larger than these within the entrance. 

Each GX outdoors of the Overtraill is a three-row SUV whereas Overtrails ditch the third row, for now. Lexus’ Normal Supervisor Greg Kitzens instructed Motor Authority because of buyer suggestions the automaker could add a 3rd row as an choice to the Overtrail trim. Prospects requesting a 3rd row within the Overtrail clearly haven’t sat in the best way again, but. With a hair lower than 32 inches of legroom again there the third row is at finest for brief journeys as a child zone. Cargo area drops to 10.3 cubic ft of area with the third row up, and expands to a spacious 40.2 cubic ft of area with it folded. The third row folds practically flat, however slopes the ground because the entrance folds into the strong rear axle.  

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

A key design change on the GX is the rear door for the cargo space. Like it or hate it, the barn-style door from the GX 460 and 470 is gone. The Defender nonetheless has this barn door and it has a spare tire mounted to the again of it hindering rear imaginative and prescient. Lexus gave the GX 550 a extra conventional flip-up tailgate with a separate flip-up rear window. The tall rear finish makes this an enormous piece of metallic that can present good cowl within the Costco car parking zone. However just like the 4Runner’s tailgate, it’s probably going to hit your storage door. Not like the 4Runner the GX’s tailgate is powered and might be programmed to solely open so excessive as to not hit the storage door. Clutch.  

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

What sort of security expertise does the Lexus GX 550 characteristic?

Each GX 550 comes customary with the newest energetic security tech together with computerized emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise management, lane departure warning, and site visitors signal recognition. Blind-spot displays with rear cross-traffic alerts and parking sensors are customary, however solely oddly base Premium and Overtrail fashions don’t have rear pedestrian detection whereas the remainder of the lineup does. 

The system additionally options Lexus’ Proactive Driving Help, which can apply the steering and braking inputs to assist the driving force preserve distance from surrounding autos. Each GX will characteristic a surround-view digital camera system, however solely the Overtrail fashions characteristic cameras that may see beneath the SUV as a part of its off-road {hardware}. 

The 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster can be acquainted to anybody having been in a current Lexus. The identical might be stated for the 14.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is straightforward to function. The touchscreen nonetheless can’t break up its display screen into zones, so I hope you want an enormous map or extra Apple CarPlay than anybody wants on their dashboard. A ten.0-inch shade head-up show is obtainable on all trims, however like most techniques it washes out and may’t actually be seen whereas sporting polarized sun shades.

2024 Lexus GX 550

2024 Lexus GX 550

How a lot does the 2024 Lexus GX 550 value?

At $64,250 together with a $1,350 vacation spot cost the bottom 2024 GX Premium prices $5,125 lower than a comparable Land Rover Defender with a turbo-6 and $8,620 lower than a comparable Land Rover Discovery with a turbo-6. Even a loaded Overtrail+ at $78,600 slices hundreds off the worth of a aggressive Land Rover.

With six trims together with Premium, Premium+, Luxurious, Luxurious+, Overtrail, and Overtrail+, the pricing unfold solely runs $17,000. Being a Lexus, all however the base Premium and Overtrail fashions characteristic an influence steering column, heated entrance and rear seats, and a wi-fi smartphone charger. Solely Luxurious and Luxurious+ fashions at $78,600 and the $82,600 characteristic semi-aniline leather-trimmed interiors, and people massaging entrance seats that eat into rear seat legroom are customary on the Luxurious, Luxurious+, and Overtrail+ fashions.

With related off-road functionality and on-road chutzpah for much less cash, the 2024 Lexus GX 550 ought to give Land Rover pause. It’s a powerful turnaround from the dated package deal Lexus offered simply final 12 months. It’s a greater off-roader, too—with a bit of room for enchancment. 

Lexus flew me to Tucson the place it was raining on and off consistently to drive the GX so I may write this evaluation. I received moist.

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