2021 Lexus GX460

Image: Lexus

The Land Cruiser is an iconic titan of the off-roading world that needs no introduction. It’s also become quite expensive over the years. Oh yea, and Toyota isn’t continuing production after 2021. With a used car market already hyper-inflated in price and low on actual inventory, getting your hands on one, even gently used, will undoubtedly prove to be harder than ever. But what if there was a better way?

Though never available here in the States, Toyota has been selling a slightly more miniaturized version of the Land Cruiser overseas since 2009. They call it the Land Cruiser Prado. While we may not have that exact model here, we actually have a more upscale, luxurious version from Lexus, called the GX460. Yes, for those who thought the Land Cruiser to be out of reach, a smaller, more sophisticated option has been here all along. 

Don’t let the lower price tag and Lexus badge fool you. The GX460 has plenty of off-roading hardware to get you where you need to go in the most civilized way possible, even if the road proves to be anything but. To start, the Lexus GX has the only body-on-frame construction in its class. Also standard is 4WD. Adaptive Variable Suspension with a Kinetic Dynamic system allows for the electronically controlled shock absorbers at each corner to be closely monitored and optimized for maximum comfort and control. It also permits the tailoring of ride and handling characteristics, with driving modes like Normal, Sport and Comfort. 

Image via: Lexus

An auto-leveling rear air suspension keeps things even-keeled when crawling over especially rough patches. A multi-terrain select system will let you scroll between five different terrain types. Amongst them you’ll find: rock, mogul, rock and dirt, mud and sand or loose rock. All with available crawl control. These electronically controlled systems, combined with the Torsen Limited-Slip differential, keep power and available traction perfectly proportioned. And if you find yourself in an especially tight spot, the panoramic view monitors will give you a birds eye view of where each obstacle is, in relation to every square inch of you. 

Tough as it is on the trail, I was constantly impressed by how smooth and isolated the GX460 made me feel. No matter how rough and rugged things got underneath. Inside the cabin, the experience is rich and upscale as only Lexus can deliver. Leather, metal and wood trim abound. Additional options will get you a 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system and DVD player. A sport design package adds 18” dark gray metallic alloy wheels, chrome detailed side mirror, front and rear bumper spoilers, dark gray exhaust tips and scarlet taillights. The visual effect is stunning. Sharp, angular, aggressive and menacing. Fashionable and fierce all rolled into one attractive package. With three rows, a powerful V8 engine and the same off-road aptitude as the legendary Land Cruiser, its no wonder it shares the same name practically everywhere else in the world but here. 

Price as tested: $71,690.00

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