I recently had the opportunity to test drive the all-new Lexus GX550 in Los Angeles. This premium SUV offers a perfect blend of luxury and off-road capability, making it ideal for adventurous souls seeking exploration.
The Lexus GX550 boasts impressive technical specifications, including a front-engine 3.4-liter V6 Twin Turbo that generates almost 350 HP, a 10-speed transmission, and an outstanding 4-wheel-drive configuration. This SUV is a body-on-frame car, allowing extra rigidity and full use of the sophisticated suspension. It comes in three trims: Premium, Luxury, and Overtrail. Thanks to its three rows of seats, it can comfortably accommodate 5-, 6-, or seven passengers. All this makes the Lexus a versatile vehicle for a whole family’s travel needs (including camping in remote locations).
With its spacious cabin, ample cargo space, and advanced safety features, the Lexus GX550 provides comfort and quietness on long journeys, city drives, and through all national park trails. Plenty of applications and technology to entertain everyone while on the road. My favorite is the Mark Livingston Audio system. I am still getting used to the Digital Rearview mirrors, but they offer much more comprehensive visibility, which is another plus. The seat surfaces are no longer real leather, but the materials’ quality will easily fool you.
Let’s clarify: this is a complete 4×4 vehicle that has been transformed into a luxury SUV. The Overtrail version’s capabilities are jaw-dropping. The car seemed unstoppable as I went through an obstacle track guided by an engineer. Adjusting the electronic setting of the suspension, differential, and cruise control with just a button, we adjusted the crawl speed, and the Lexus took over and left me to steer through the off-road circuit. The Surround cameras provide an excellent view of what is next to me. But another feature, one that is very useful, is that on the central screen, you can see the positioning of the front and rear wheels. Quickly looking at the screen allows you to navigate without needing another person to tell you how close you are to an edge or to avoid a rock. We also put the Lexus on its side up to 30 degrees. That is quite a lot and scary if you are unfamiliar with how 4×4 cars behave. I was told by the engineer that it could lean a bit more, but for safety reasons, a warning lets you know when you reach that angle. At that point, the Lexus is still under control under most road surfaces. The vehicle includes:
An Electronic Lock rear differential.
A Torsen limited-slip central differential.
A sophisticated electronic kinetic dynamic suspension system (called E-KDSS) locks or unlocks the front and rear stabilizer bars for more wheel articulation.
Massive 33-inch all-terrain tires complete the package.
The only way to get stuck with this Lexus is by going off the trail altogether. While on a trail, regardless of whether it was snow, mud, or sand, this Lexus would make it through rough spots 99% of the time. Yes, there is a compromise. You can’t have this 4×4 capability and big tires and don’t notice it. But they have done a great job in minimizing it.
The pricing starts at around $62,000 and can go to $85-90,000 for a fully loaded Overtrail +. That is less than the last Land Cruiser and a lot less than a Range Rover 110 for more capability and reliability. So, the pricing is correct for the market.
My test drive was short, and I have more questions. But I can say that it redefines the 4×4 segment. Whether navigating the bustling streets of Los Angeles or venturing off the beaten path, the Lexus GX550 offers a luxurious and capable driving experience like no other production SUV today.