Hooniverse Asks: Why would anyone buy a brand new Lexus GX?

The Lexus GX 460 is the closest thing you can buy in the U.S. to the fabled Prado Toyota Land Cruiser. The Prado is highly desirable to American car enthusiasts. Largely because we can’t have it. We almost get a Prado, except it’s more expensive, ugly, and posh. You can still buy it new today. Should you?

One reason it’s hard to justify a new Lexus GX 460 is its age. The GX predates liquid water on Mars. It’s so old, in fact, that scientists have resorted to radiocarbon dating to estimate when it first entered production. Fossilized specimens have been unearthed in what is now barren New Mexico desert. Most unbelievable of all is the fact that it still comes standard with a CD player.

What it doesn’t include as standard — or as any available option — is any semblance of fuel-saving technology. Apart from some diesel heavy-duty pickups, the GX 460 is quite possibly the most expensive new vehicle you can buy today that still uses a six-speed automatic transmission. Its 4.6-liter V8 consumes fuel like Aron Ralston must have consumed water after spending a week trapped in a ravine. And it makes less power than a V6 Camry.

Of course, the benefit to the GX’s prehistoric design is tremendous durability. The list of less reliable things than the GX includes the chance your neighbors will launch illegal fireworks tonight, the odds of encountering heavy traffic on the 405, and the daily rotation of the earth. It’s not uncommon for owners to get several hundred thousand miles out of the powertrain with no significant issues. Anything and everything that can go wrong with the truck is documented.

However, everything true of a brand-spanking-new GX is just as true of a used example. Except for the styling. In 2013, the GX received Lexus’s trademark spindle grille. This made the truck look as disgruntled as any similarly middle-aged human. But the drivetrain, the interior, and virtually all of the technology is the same today as it was back in 2010. To put that year into context, you likely didn’t have the Internet on your phone in 2010.

So, if you buy a brand-new GX, what benefit do you get over a used one?

Not a whole lot. A warranty, sure, but air conditioning in Siberia would be more useful. Furthermore, like most luxury cars, a new GX will depreciate quickly — up to a point. Unlike most luxury cars, it bottoms out relatively high and stays there seemingly in perpetuity. Land Cruisers historically have retained a relatively high resale value, which remains true even when they’re dressed up in a scary Halloween costume. The upshot is you can buy a used GX, drive it for a few years, and sell it for a relatively high percentage of its purchase price. And, because it’s a Lexus, you won’t spend a fortune in maintenance, since you’ll never have to fix anything.

And so the question remains: why would anyone buy a new Lexus GX? There is zero discernible benefit over a used example, and the RX is a far more attractive package to new Lexus customers anyway. If you’re buying a 2010 vehicle disguised as a 2020, you may as well save your money and just get the 2010. At least it’s better-looking.

About Ryan Lowe

Car fanatic located in Huntington Beach. I have a propensity to make fun of vehicles. I also play the drums and like clothes.

10 Comments

  1. It’s a conundrum, figure out how to make really good cars, and logic dictates you might go bankcrupt in the process. Why would even the most loyal customers replace their etern-o-machines? Volvo almost went bankcrupt on that recipe 30 years ago.

    Tbh, I have never seen this iteration of the GX in anything but photos. The front grille is an insane caricature, impossible to understand how this got approved. Does anyone offer replacement “faces” like the Japanese do for the Jimny?

    1. It’s even worse in person. I saw one recently when out on a run, and my primal instincts initially urged me to flee. Seriously, I understand the logic behind a brand adopting a family “face”, but the only successful application of this one (in my opinion) is on the LC 500. Otherwise, it’s pretty garish.

    2. It’s even worse in person. I saw one recently when out on a run, and my primal instincts initially urged me to flee. Seriously, I understand the logic behind a brand adopting a family “face”, but the only successful application of this one (in my opinion) is on the LC 500. Otherwise, it’s pretty garish.

  2. You could possibly swap the Prado sheetmetal over, which has surprisingly become more bland over the years no doubt in response to the conservative buyer demographic.

    Less power than a Camry hey? In Australia it has a 174hp diesel and 0-60 on the wrong side of 15 seconds… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ec8f712596e2998355295903fc09f3a5dd5eccd5a7ebca39a5bb62cf555bed27.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/601f0369672047032d418a8f23d279e73dea785b871a3813336d994623158421.jpg

    1. To your point, it literally looks like the hood and fenders are the same. Only change would be headlight assemblies, grille, and bumper cover.

  3. I think here is the bigger question. Does anyone actually buy new ones or do they all just lease them? I’m guessing that because of Toyota/Lexus resale values that the leases are such that most are just leased and then handed back in. So there really isn’t much of a reason to even bother buying one of these overpriced Crushers new. Back when I sold new Land Cruisers in the time of the dinosaurs we had an epicly hard time selling them because people would just go to the Lexus dealer and lease the Lexus equivalent since its buyout was so high. Which made the lease payment look good.
    For the life of me I can’t remember the lease word for the amount of what the car is worth at the end of the lease. It’s midnight and my brain is mush. So I guess you understand what i mean here.

  4. We bought a brand new 2021 gx sport prem for about 55k at 0% apr. I put down 25k and financed the rest. A used gx with 30 to 40k miles was going for about $48-50k. Every used model I looked at had chewed up knobs, blemishes, etc. It made no sense to me to just buy something that had been abused if I plan to keep the vehicle forever and take immaculate care of it. So I bought new and did not lease, and have every intention of driving it for 30 years unless gas prices go insane to like $20 a gallon. As far as Im concerned this vehicle has been produced for 10 years. That means there are 10 years of body panels, engines, transmissions, radiators, suspension, etc all around the USA. That gives me confidence that I will never be held up by some proprietary feature 20 years down the line when I go for a tuneup and realize I need to spend money on a general repair. So far I am really loving this vehicle. I only drive about 8 miles a day so its going to take a very long time to get broken in.

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