Performance

Even if you like the looks inside and out Ч which many likely will Ч there is nothing endearing about the driving experience.

First there's the body-lean issue. When you take a highway off-ramp at speed Ч which the Consumer ReportsТ test does Ч the GX leans at a significant angle. I don't recall experiencing a lean so extreme since I've been testing cars professionally, which includes most of the past decade.

If you're an attentive and safe driver, you should have no trouble navigating tight corners in the GX. But then you're still left with an anemic 301-horsepower V-8 engine that's saddled by all the weight mentioned above. Its power rating is nearly identical to the 300-hp V-6 MDX, but it's less fuel-efficient. The GX is rated at 15/20 mpg city/highway, while the MDX gets 16/21 mpg.

The GX lumbers down the highway and barely musters a grunt when passing other cars. Brake feel is soft and somewhat mushy, an attribute shared by many Lexus and Toyota models. In a large SUV, though, it's more unsettling.

While the high ride reminds me of driving a truck, the GX rides better than your typical pickup. Because of extensive work to make the GX off-road capable, however, it doesn't sail down the freeway like the larger LX, or like the MDX or Lincoln MKT. It's noisier at highway speeds, too, and takes bumps at slow speeds with more body motion than you'd expect. Again, this is something at which the Lexus LX excels.

To recap, the GX neither rides, accelerates, turns nor brakes very well.

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