Jan 23, 2024

2024 Lexus GX 550 packs off

The new Overtrail trim packs extra off-road tools and beefy tires

The blocky 2024 Lexus GX occupies a unique space in the luxury SUV segment. Intentionally styled with a t-square, packing acres of luxury accoutrements, and holding off-road credentials several leagues better than most machines of this type, the GX is an excellent foil to other vehicles with similar resumés from brands like of Mercedes-Benz. For this model year, the GX improves in just about every measurable way over the old long-in-the-tooth model.

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While this GX remains a tall vehicle at roughly 1,920 mm (on either side of 76 inches, depending on trim), it grows by approximately 100 mm or about 4 inches in width. This ditches the awkward proportions of last year's model and fills out the new SUV's sheet metal very nicely. A new trim called Overtrail — packing extra off-road tools and beefy tires — is the tallest and widest GX for 2024, standing 76.2 inches tall and manspreading 78 inches wide, or 1,935 and 1,980 millimetres respectively. All GX trims span 194.9 inches in length (4,950mm).

Styling is markedly more aggressive than last year, with a square-body profile showcasing a horizontal design which makes good use of its new dimensions thanks to a wider track and. Some fender flares. Up front, the GX continues its take on the corporate spindle grille but does so with a lower lip which kicks up towards the dinner plate of a Lexus badge. It is a much better execution of the design than other years. Overtrail trims get a skiff of silver paint in this area, presumably to evoke the presence of a skid plate. Narrow taillights span the rear hatch, a portal which tremendously includes a flip-up back window. Thank you, Toyota.

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Just a single gasoline-powered engine will be offered initially, with a hybrid option promised for later next year. Gone is the V8 mill, replaced with a 3.4L twin-turbo V6 making 349 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft of torque, increases of 48 and 150 respectively compared to the octopot. This is a huge jump in torque and likely to completely redefine this GX from the driver's seat. Lexus is using the GA-F ladder frame platform for this machine, a set of bones introduced on the mighty LX 600. A 10-speed automatic handles shifting duties and towing capability tops out at 8,000 pounds. Lexus predicts a combined fuel economy performance of 13.8 L/100 km, though the new GX has yet to be officially rated by NRCan.

Plenty of active safety equipment are on board this year, including a system which can detect pedestrians, sensors to help with braking duties, and an extra set of eyes to assist in keeping this large SUV between roadway lane markings. Dynamic radar cruise control is on hand to maintain a preset speed or following distance behind another vehicle. Lexus builds on many of these active helpers found in the corporate cupboard, using them to good effect on brutish SUVs such as this GX.

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A newly developed double-wishbone front suspension is paired with multi-link rear suspenders, and electronic power steering makes its GX debut. Standard full-time four-wheel drive is part of the deal, packing a Torsen limited-slip centre differential with locking feature to help drivers get into and out of tricky spots. Overtrail models add a locking rear diff to the mix, along with 33-inch all-terrain tires wrapped around 18-inch wheels plus black accents an aluminum skid plate. Drive modes, crawl control, and downhill assists are also present. Expect to see more than a few of these things built up for the SEMA show in Vegas this autumn.

It wouldn't be a Lexus without crushing amounts of luxury, and it seems like the three-row GX delivers in that regard. It benefits greatly from the brand's new infotainment system, packing a 14-inch touchscreen display that blends well with physical controls instead of looking like a tacked-on afterthought. A beefy gear selector sprouts from the centre console, sharing real estate with tactile controls for off-road technology and the 4×4 system.

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Buyers can opt for either captain's chairs or a bench seat for the middle row, the third row will flip and fold either manually or with a power assist depending on trim, and front seats have been redesigned compared to the old GX in order to bin that sitting-on-the-floor feeling experienced by some long-of-limb riders. A variety of upholstery options are on tap including a natty motif with suede inserts on Overtrail models.

The new GX comes standard with a 10-speaker premium surround sound system for yer tunes, though a 21-speaker Mark Levinson banger is available. There are a raft of illuminated charging ports for devices, newly shaped storage bins, a dozen cupholders, and a 120V inverter. The option of a Cool Box is a great callback to an extremely useful feature found on some older models and will likely find lots of fans with roadtrippers and overlanders alike.

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Despite all these accolades, the GX does not occupy the top rung of the long SUV ladder at Lexus. That crown is worn by the jumbo LX mentioned earlier, though there is an argument that examples of the GX equipped with Overtrail gear are very likely to muscle aside some of its LX brothers on tony Rodeo Drive — and the trim to pop up on other Lexus SUVs in due time. With improvements like these, we wouldn't be surprised to see the GX's price tag march close to six figures when it goes on sale early in the 2024 calendar year.

Whether wheeling an off-road rig over rough terrain, hauling trailers with a pickup truck, or tucking into a sportscar, Matthew is never far from something with four wheels and an engine. He's a member of AJAC and lives in rural Nova Scotia. Find him on Facebook and Instagram @DudeDrivesCars

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