Cargo

If getting to your destination isn't enjoyable, loading up the GX is even more exasperating. To get to the cargo area, you have to open a huge swing gate. While most SUVs have moved to a liftgate that rises upward, the GX sticks with the sideways move. That's an issue both for parking and for petite users who may find its weight and size cumbersome.

Then try lifting anything into the cargo area. It's high — like, gut-high, which for me, at 5-foot-10, should be considered too high. Usually an SUV's cargo area is thigh-high or, at worst, waist-high. But not the GX. It's also not enormous. At 46.7 cubic feet with the third row folded, you can fit a fair amount of items from your local discount club in there, but not the largest of boxes or, say, an office chair. In terms of specs, it bests the MDX by a few cubic feet but falls far behind the Buick Enclave's 67.5 cubic feet.

If the third row is raised, there's just 11.6 cubic feet back there, according to Lexus, but I found it barely usable even for a few grocery bags. A child's backpack might have trouble wedging in.

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