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What is it like to drive?

You get a strong sense of the GX’s utility background from behind the wheel. The elevated seating position and boxy surroundings hammer home the truck-ness of this Lexus, as does its springy energy. Given that it also looks like a YETI cooler on wheels, you’d suspect it would disappoint, but thankfully, the Lexus GX feels much more engaging than that.

In a sense, it feels like the Ford Bronco if it was better domesticated for city life than farm living. While the Ford feels quite capable, part of its charm is how rough around the edges it is, whereas the GX is far better refined.

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Is that… good?

For a vehicle like this that’s meant to split the difference between Lexus-powered civility and weekend excursions, we say yes. There is enough character here where there is a sense that this is a rugged plaything but not to the point where comfort is sacrificed. It also hasn’t been softened down to numb the engagement.

Off the line, the turbo-six is punchy and eager while the steering feels tuned with an equal amount of tension. As a result the GX feels very light and nimble. Maybe not quite sporty, but there’s enough response here that the Lexus is willing to at least give it a whirl. If you bungle a turn or roll it, at least you did it together, right?

What kind of numbers are we talking about?

Performance-wise, the numbers are nothing particularly special. All versions can get up and go from 0-60mph in a respectable 6.5 seconds, which isn’t bad for a car in its class. It tops out at 109mph, and while that won’t win you a ton of points when it comes to SUV-measuring contests, it shouldn’t be an issue in real life.

Where the modernized GX can feel quite primitive is in fuel economy. Combined, the Lexus nets 17mpg, making it thirstier than most contemporary sports cars, worse even than direct rivals like the Defender 110 and BMW X5 M60i xDrive.

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