With temperatures deep into the negatives, we put every heated feature of the mighty and capable Lexus GX 460 to the test.
As the Texas native, there are a few things that I’m not used to—and the cold weather is one of them. That’s a thing of the past now because after seven years in Midwest I’ve grown to appreciate and even enjoy cold winters packed with snow, hot chocolate, and fuzzy slippers. After all, what’s the big deal, right?
Well, the overall picture changes rapidly when cold temperatures drop into bone-chilling, negative-degree wind-chills that manage to penetrate any sort of clothing and send tiny lightning bolts down your bones. Thankfully, a few modern gadgets can help with overcoming that terrible feeling, and today’s cars certainly possess a few of them.
We recently had the opportunity to get behind the (heated) wheel of the 2017 Lexus GX 460, which proved to be a bit of a life-saver during our below-zero weeklong test. Needless to say, once we actually climbed into its cozy cabin it was hard to get out to do mundane things such as picking up groceries or pumping gas—the latter being by far the worst in these conditions.
These are our favorite features of the Lexus GX 460 that helped us brave a ridiculously cold week in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Heated Steering Wheel
As I mentioned above, the heated steering wheel function is one that every driver in the family has grown to love. Just imagine placing your hands on a Mohagony wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel, only to feel it nice and toasty to the touch. Forget the gloves!
Sure, many folks by now have enjoyed the life-changing pleasure that are heated seats, but a heated steering wheel is definitely where it’s at!
This one is a given in a vehicle of this caliber. The perforated-leather of the heated (and cooled) seats in the GX 460 aren’t a luxury, but a necessity when temperatures drop below zero. Our test car took things a step further by offering heated seats in the second row, which meant the plush and comfy captain chairs behind the driver and passenger had a two-setting heating function.
Sadly, third-row occupants miss out on heated seats, which means they’ll have to await their turn to move up the family hierarchy.
When Mother Nature decides to give you over five inches of fresh powder overnight, you get your butt out there and go sledding. But first, you must get there, which means you gotta venture out into plowed or unplowed streets to get to your hill of choice.
Branches, piles of plowed snow, snow-covered holes, there are very few obstacles an extra two inches travel (on top of the already high-riding stock setting) won’t allow you to cover. Simply choose from low, normal, or high suspension height.
Full-Time 4WD with LSD
We’re currently going through the process of buying/building our home, so we decided to visit the construction site after sledding to get a feel for what’s been done. Currently, the backyard is nothing but dirt, which turns into gooey mud when it rains, ice when it freezes, and a bloody swamp when snow or ice begin to melt.
It may not look like it in the photos, but the combination of a layer of mud below inches of snow proved a worthy challenge to the GX 460’s four-wheel drive system and limited-slip differential. A quick shift into “4-low” took care of things and the 18-inch wheels with mud and snow tires quickly gripped to get us out of our own backyard.
Three-Zone Climate Control
When was the last time every member of your family agreed on one thing? In my family, that only happens when we discuss vital things like pizza, BBQ, or sleeping in.
Because I’m always hot, Missi is always cold, and the kids always fluctuate between the two, the three-zone climate control system in the GX 460 was more than adequate. Sure, it’s not the four-zone system that we experienced in the Toyota Land Cruiser, but considering the difference in price tag I think it’s more than warranted.
Which one is your favorite feature?
- Starts at: $51,855
- As-tested: $69,920