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All is not what it seems with the 2019 Lexus GX 460. Beneath its soft leather and glossy wood beats the hard of an adventurer, one that’s out of sync with other luxury crossover SUVs.

We say it’s worth 5.0 out of 10 overall, a figure we reach after docking it for poor fuel economy, throwback handling, limited safety gear, and compromised passenger space. It’s plush, well-equipped, and will go where rivals won’t dare. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Look beyond the 2019 GX 460’s gleaming chrome and angular grille and its trucky roots are evident. It sits high and has big tires wrapped around its wheels. The GX 460 is the luxury-labeled, Americanized version of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado sold globally. Overseas, that tough rig takes the UN to war zones. Over here, the GX 460 camps out at Nordstrom.

Review continues below

The GX 460 shares its platform with the Toyota 4Runner, too, but the Lexus uses a smooth but very thirsty V-8 paired to a 6-speed automatic. Four-wheel drive with a stump-tugging low range is standard and higher-trim versions have a crawl control system that lets them lope along at a walking pace off-road. Unfortunately, the GX’s gaping grille hangs low and will dig expensively into steep obstacles.

Despite vague steering, the GX handles better on pavement than its four-wheeling capability suggests. A trick suspension setup underneath quells lean into corners.

Inside, the GX’s upright dash is a feast of buttons—except on base models that lack some of the off-road doo-dads and are festooned with blanks reminding buyers they could have paid more.

Base and Premium trims slather the interior in convincing, hard-wearing synthetic leather. Real hides are optional on Premium and standard on Luxury. A Mark Levinson audio system belts out tunes through 17 speakers, but don’t look for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto—you won’t find advanced smartphone compatibility.

Don’t look for much active safety tech, either. The GX is the only model in Lexus’ lineup to lack full automatic emergency braking, and features such as adaptive cruise control, forward-collision alerts, and lane-departure warnings are costly, special order-only extras on the GX 460 Luxury.

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