Here we are, pushing the new 2024 Lexus GX Overtrail deep into a specially prepared dirt course with the left front wheel and right rear wheel up in the air at the same time. As the big luxury SUV keeps crawling forward, with methodical use of the throttle and brake pedal, those two wheels get back on the ground and the other two are suddenly levitating. My driving partner and I are going crazy like little kids in a sandbox while keeping an eye on the centre screen that displays the feed from a front-facing camera to guide the vehicle.
Why does the GX Overtrail seem so perfectly in control while attacking the daunting obstacles in its path? For one thing, this particular model is blessed with an Electronic-Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (e-KDSS), which continuously adjusts damping at all four corners and disengages the sway bars for improved wheel articulation. Then there’s the Global Architecture-Fullsize (GA-F) ladder frame, shared with the larger LX, which significantly increases body rigidity.
- Also: Lexus Unveils Official Canadian Pricing For New GX
- Also: 2024 Lexus GX is a Modern Adventurer With Twin-Turbo V6, Hybrid to Follow
For a Select Few
Let’s face it, the Lexus GX is a product aimed at a select few only. That’s why only 625 units were sold in Canada last year, well below the numbers for the Japanese brand’s other SUVs.
However, with the new generation debuting for 2024, the executives at Lexus Canada expect sales to double thanks to a lineup of six models including the new and more rugged Overtrail and Overtrail+—off-road stars that will lead the way as customer deliveries begin in the next few weeks.
Pricing (MSRP) ranges from $83,500 for a base GX 550 Signature to $105,850 for a fully loaded GX 550 Executive. The GX 550 Overtrail starts at $92,500, while the Overtrail+ retails for $101,850.
Boxy Looks Inspired by Land Rover
The comically boxy 2024 Lexus GX is trying to pass for a Land Rover, one could say. Of course, it’s not alone—just look at Hyundai’s equally new Santa Fe or Kia’s all-electric EV9. One thing’s for sure: the long, flat hood makes it easier to align the vehicle when driving off-road.
The rear hatch now opens vertically instead of sideways and incorporates a window that flips up so you can load items into the cargo area without popping the liftgate. The Overtrail and Overtrail+ models stand out from their siblings with increased ground clearance and unique 18-inch wheels mounted on 33-inch Toyo all-terrain tires.
Touchpad is Dead, All Hail the Touchscreen
The main change inside the new Lexus GX is the 14-inch touchscreen replacing the previous display and its awfully frustrating (or just plain awful) touchpad on the centre console. Amen to that. It’s powered by the new and more user-friendly Lexus Interface infotainment system, but wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity also comes standard. Select models even feature a dimmable panoramic glass roof up top.
Honestly, some of the plastics inside the GX and the overall design of the cabin are not what you’d expect to find in a midsize luxury SUV that gets into six figures. By the way, there’s seating for five, six or seven depending on the model. The Overtrail and Overtrail+ come with two rows of seats only, while the others have three and the middle bench can be replaced by a pair of captain’s chairs.
Under the hood of the 2024 Lexus GX is a twin-turbocharged 3.4-litre V6 that delivers a big boost in power over the V8 it replaces. Output is up to 349 horsepower (+48 hp), while peak torque is 479 lb-ft (+150). This powertrain is mated to a 10-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission with paddle shifters and full-time four-wheel drive system with locking differentials.
One thing we found and particularly enjoyed during the drive event set up by Lexus was the generous amount of torque available from 2,000-4,000 rpm. As for the transmission, it did a nice job of quickly shifting gears to keep fuel consumption at a reasonable level. On that note, Natural Resources Canada rates the 2024 Lexus GX at a combined 13.5 L/100 km, and that’s pretty much what we got, too.
Towing capacity, which more often than not proves very important to large SUV customers, is said to be 7,601 lbs in Executive trim, 8,020 lbs in Luxury trim and as much as 9,063 lbs in every other trim.
Unflappable, Confidence-Inspiring SUV
Now, let’s be clear about one thing: the Lexus GX is in no way sporty. This is a comfort- and safety-first vehicle that just happens to have a ton of off-road potential. The active noise control system is particularly effective when cruising at highway speeds. Meanwhile, the newly developed double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension combine to deliver a delightfully smooth ride on the road and impressive performance away from it.
Steering requires little effort and allows precise handling, but it doesn’t make the GX a dynamic and agile SUV. Again, it’s more about offering a quiet and comfortable driving experience, one that can take you to remote locations visited by few other vehicles.
At the end of the day, the new 2024 Lexus GX is a head-turning luxury SUV with better off-road capability than ever, especially in Overtrail/Overtrail+ configuration. A hybrid powertrain will be joining the lineup sooner rather than later, and we’ll make sure to put it to the test, too.
One problem with this vehicle—and arguably most Lexuses—is all the attention it’s bound to get from thieves, resulting in hefty insurance premiums. Granted, the vast majority of luxury SUVs and other high-price trucks are in the same situation. Consider yourself warned.