Sunday, February 16, 2014

THE 4.6L V8 2014 LEXUS GX460 SUV

Lexus has updated its GX460 SUV for 2014, and aside from a minor shuffling of standard and optional features—and the addition of a new Luxury trim level—the biggest change hits the GX’s face. It now incorporates Lexus’s signature spindle grille, a styling element whose proliferation to each of the brand’s models is finally complete. (Discounting, of course, the heavy metal  rolling down IS C convertible that’s waiting around for its new-look IS coupe replacement, the RC.) The GX, which is badged as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado in other markets, now bears at least a passing resemblance to Lexus’s other two SUVs, the RX and the LX.

The GX 460 to has a 4.6-liter V8 engine. The GX is the smaller of Lexus’s two proper four-wheel-drive SUVs, and like big-brother LX570, it remains one of the few luxury rigs out there with a low-range transfer case and rugged off-roading hardware. As for carry over mechanicals, the full-time four-wheel-drive system still utilizes a lockable, torque-sensing Torsen limited-slip center differential, and paired with the GX’s prodigious ground clearance makes for a trail-friendly conveyance. The 301-hp, 4.6-liter V-8, six-speed automatic transmission, and meager fuel economy (15 mpg in the city and 20 on the highway) also return for 2014. 

In the Lexus lineup, the GX is situated between its crossover counterpart, the RX, and the premium full-size LX. All GX production has occurred at the Tahara plant in Japan, alongside the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. In fact, both generations of the GX have been heavily based on the Prado, with updated frontal styling to better integrate with the Lexus design language. 

Elsewhere, the changes are less prominent and mainly restricted to minor trimmings, such as wheels and taillamp lenses inserts. Inside, the first generation interior largely mirrors that of the Toyota-badged version, but for the second generation, the interior has been further individualised with less shared componentry.

The GX 460 debuted at the China (Guangzhou) International Automobile Exhibition in November 2009. The redesigned model continued with body-on-frame construction, full-time four-wheel drive, a hi-lo transfer case, and a Torsen center locking differential. The Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) became standard. Power came from a new 4.6-liter 1UR-FE V8 engine producing 224 kW (301 hp) and 446 N·m (329 lb·ft) of torque, mated to a new six-speed automatic transmission. 

Fuel economy was improved over the prior generation, while maximum towing capacity was 2,950 kilograms (6,500 lb). The drag coefficient was reduced to Cd=0.35. The rear wiper was hidden under the rear spoiler, and while the tailgate remained side-opening, a flip-up glass panel was added.

Lexus GX 460 interior 
The interior added a power-folding, two-passenger third row which folded flat, allowing capacity for up to seven passengers, with the second row sliding or tilting for third row access. Because the third row was no longer removable and used additional space, cargo capacity declined. A toggle switch replaced the transfer case's floor mounted shift lever, and the gauge cluster added a steering wheel angle display for off road situations. Similar to before, a Mark Levinson sound system and two-display Rear Seat Entertainment System (RSES) were optional, while three-zone climate control, semi-aniline leather, and heated second row seats and steering wheel were new options.

The GX460’s standard and optional features list has been adjusted to accommodate all models gaining more equipment—without an increase in price. In fact, the entry-level 2014 GX460 starts at $49,995, which is $4710 less than last year’s base model. Buyers who spec the Premium package (which adds navigation, a backup camera, park assist, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, and tri-zone climate control) will spend $54,705, nearly $4000 cheaper than a similarly equipped 2013 model. A new $61,625 Luxury trim level replaces last year’s Premium spec at the top of the GX460 price hierarchy, and gets a standard adaptive air suspension, navigation, park assist, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and two safety features new to the GX this year: blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic assist. Lexus’s radar-based pre-collision system (with adaptive cruise control) and driver monitor remain optional let goods times roll or heavy metal hit road. 

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