AUTO REVIEW: 2024 Lexus GX 550 Is No Longer An Off-Road Poser

By Larry Printz

The 2024 Lexus GX

(Tribune News Service/TNS) — It’s been 14 years since the Lexus GX benefited from a total makeover, and a lot has changed since 2010. In that time, the Lexus GX has spent much of its time in the urban jungle, with the only green most GXs ever see being at the local country club.

That may change with the redesigned 2024 Lexus GX 550, a body-on-frame SUV that finally resembles what it’s capable of achieving. Severely square-jawed and unremittingly horizontal, its design banishes its mall-crawling snobbery for some serious trail boss boldness. And its capability is more than skin deep. It rides on the same Toyota corporate GA-F platform that underpins the Lexus LX 600, as well as the Toyota Tundra, Sequoia, Tacoma and soon-to-arrive Land Cruiser.

But for 2024, its appearance looks as ready for the rough stuff as Patagonia outerwear or a pair of Merrill hiking boots. And while you can still get it with three rows, its main mission is not that of a family bus. That role is now filled by the all-new, three-row 2024 Lexus TX.

That has freed the Lexus GX to explore its Mountain Man genetics. Although offered in Premium, Premium+, Luxury and Luxury+ trim, the Overtrail and Overtrail+ grades look the part, wearing 18-inch wheels with 33-inch all-terrain tires, with roof rails and all the mechanical bits to back it up. While all models get a Torsen limited-slip locking center differential, Overtrail models have an electronically controlled, locking rear differential and an electronic kinetic dynamic suspension system (E-KDSS) that locks and unlocks the front and rear stabilizer bars to enhance off-road wheel articulation. Drive modes, crawl control and tow/haul mode switches are handily located on the center console.

Regardless of grade, the 2024 Lexus GX is 5 inches longer than the 2023 GX, as well as being 3.8 inches wider, 1.4 inches taller and offering 0.6 inch more ground clearance. It also loses the barn-door rear door for a traditional roof-hinged tailgate with a window can be opened separately, so rear cargo can be accessed without opening the tailgate. And there’s a standard tow hitch, able to tow up to 9,000 pounds.

That said, Premium and Luxury models have a mere 10.3 cubic-feet of cargo space with all three rows in use, and most of it is vertical. In contrast, Overtrail trims are fitted with two rows, providing 45.6 cubic feet of cargo space with both rows in use. This allows you to haul a lot of gear to your campsite without being exposed to the elements.

A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10-inch head-up display, a 14-inch infotainment touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and up to six USB-C ports come standard. And a 21-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system is available if the standard 10-speaker system doesn’t live up to your expectations.

The first two rows have the space and comfort you might expect, providing a generous amount of head and leg room. But the third row is best left to children and adults you secretly despise. If there’s anything that’s disappointing about the Lexus GX, it’s that the interior lacks the luxurious ambiance you might expect. It feels more like a premium Toyota than a truly luxurious Lexus.

Initially, all models will be powered by a twin-turbocharged, intercooled double-overhead-cam V-6. It’s mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard. Rated at 349 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, more than the old model’s 4.6-liter V-8. It runs 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds on its way to a 109-mph top speed and returns the sort of fuel economy you might expect from a body-on-frame SUV: 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway and 17 mpg in combined driving. Premium fuel is required. If this sounds a bit too thirsty, you might want to wait for the forthcoming hybrid driveline, although Lexus has not revealed any details about it.

The 2024 Lexus GX 550 holds few unexpected revelations when it comes to on-road behavior. It provides the quiet, comfortable ride you’d expect from a Lexus SUV; it’s a nice driver. And being a body-on-frame SUV, it truly possesses off-road ability. So, yes, there’s body lean in corners, but perhaps not as much as you might expect. That being said, any sportiness you might expect comes once you venture past civilization. That’s when this vehicle truly shines. It can ford 27.5 inches of water. Disconnect the sway bars, and you have an extra 2.45 inches of wheel articulation, which should meet the needs of all but the most demanding off-road enthusiast. Certainly, it should meet the expectations of the weather-phobic. And while it has six drive modes — including Auto, Dirt, Sand, Mud, Deep Snow and Rock — most drivers will never switch from Auto. It is a Lexus, after all.

Even if you never venture off-road, you’ll find the 2024 Lexus GX 550 to be the perfect off-road lifestyle accessory. It’s the lifestyle gear. You may not need it, but you know that you want it — and with good reason.

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail

Base price: $67,900

Engine: 3.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6

Horsepower/Torque: 349/479 pound-feet

EPA rating (combined city/highway): 17 mpg

Fuel required: Premium

Length/Width/Height: 197/78.7/76.2 inches

Ground clearance: 8.86 inches

Payload: 1,499 pounds

Cargo capacity: 10.3-90.5 cubic feet

Towing capacity: 9,000 pounds

Photos courtesy of Lexus/TNS

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