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MARCHING TO A NEW TUNE: 2022 LEXUS GX 460 BLACK LINE EDITION

I’ll be a tad honest, I’ve never been one that quite grasped the idea of a special edition vehicle – even when I personally owned an Isuzu VehiCROSS Ironman Edition, I never got the point of them. Continuing into today’s generation it feels almost as if Toyota/Lexus are pushing out solely special editions to keep something old feeling fresh. Case-in-point, the Lexus GX 460, a proper SUV that launched well over a decade ago, it sees another refresher after a mild refresh in 2020; now the cabin has been given a new treatment as well as a new Black Line Edition has been added to the GX’s lineup.

Driving the GX 460 is a bit like upgrading to the newest iPhone, it’s different, but familiar, not much has changed, but enough so to think you’re getting an entirely new product. The refresh that was done back in 2020 continues to look sharp with Lexus’ menacing spindle grille design and triple beam LED headlights. Our Black Line edition being more of a premium finish package featured dark chrome headlight housing, edition specific 18-inch wheels; basically anything that was originally wrapped in chrome is now finished in a black chrome finish.

Inside the GX, there is a far too familiar setting that has been given a slight overhaul to compete in these modern times. Continuing to be an attractive cabin with rich materials, the biggest revamp was done to the center stack infotainment system that incorporates a larger 10.3-inch touch screen system with Lexus’ latest software and the annoying to use touch pad interface that we tend to ignore. If you’re familiar with the GX, other small details have been refreshed like the steer wheel controls and updated finishes.  

Catering to the GX’s purpose, it is the brute plush SUV we carry in our dreams. Comfort levels are supreme on and off the pavement. Noise levels are kept to a minimum despite its box-like design. As part of the Black Line edition, the interior is fitted with a mix of Black Ash wood trim and leather on nearly every touchable surface. Even second row occupants enjoy their own levels of comfort with spacious amenities and their own climate control system. Despite third-row seating coming as standard equipment, it’s one of the worst places to be seating as with any, real, mid-size SUV,  it’s best to consider them as an emergency contingency plan.

There is no getting around the age of the GX and its technology that lies underneath its skin. Feeling like its 2008 all over again, the GX feels as heavy as it looks. With its initial chassis being constructed around a body-on-frame design with a live rear axle, the GX is an all-purpose SUV that isn’t afraid to get its wheels dirty, making it the ideal companion for access to your remote cabin in the woods. What makes the GX feels old is the way it carries itself – modern SUV’s of this time have a lot more gadgetry to help feel more refine and confident – for example, the electric steering is light, but yet feels heavy, its been overly engineered to handle the weight and size of the GX to give it easy manuveribility, but its so light that that one wrong jerk of the wheel has us floppying around like a fish out of water. Even the suspension, as smooth as it is, feels like we’re going to tip over if we take a corner too hard.  And then theirs the brakes that set us back to a time when you could tell how hard someone was braking by how close the nose of their car got to the pavement.

Keeping its old school charm, the GX uses a naturally aspirated 4.6-liter V-8 that drinks about as much fuel as a new born goes throw diapers. Its 301-horsepower engine with 329 lb-ft of torque powering its on-demand four-wheel drive system, it takes the better half of 7-seconds to achieve 60-mph. Combining the performance with its ability to tow about 6500lbs gives it plenty of grunting power for those weekend trips to the lake.

With our GX 460 Black Line coming in at $61,305, its price to convenience scales start to teeter and reveal its real age when comparing it to some of the newer, fresher competitors on the market. After all the GX is competing in a very tough, technologically advance segment against the Mercedes-Benz GLE, the Land Rover Defender and even the Genesis GV80 – all starting around the $55,000 mark. Where the GX starts to fault against its rivals is its level of comfort, convenience and even safety equipment – the GX doesn’t over a power rear tailgate and it doesn’t offer the latest in Lexus Safety hardware as the adaptive cruise control system won’t even work below 32-mph.

Granted, the GX 460 is not for everyone, but not everyone may want an SUV with overbearing, nanny bugging technology – the GX marches on playing a new tune on the same old drum.  

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