Exterior

There's no argument that the GX 470 is a pretty SUV. This was a full-sized mama with curves in all the right places. The GX was big without being bulky or obnoxious, like some of the other huge SUVs on the road. Instead, it's softly rounded and delicately accessorized. The GX was way too classy to be dripping in chrome, which only appears on the front grille, door handles and in a single strip under the windows. The rest of the sparkle comes from a gorgeous metallic paint. My test car was a fabulous Salsa Red Pearl, a deep red that was fun without being over the top.

The passenger doors opened easily, even for the little ones, and stayed where you put them. The armrest on the rear door worked as a grab handle when kids were climbing in, and the running boards meant that the higher climb-in height was still manageable. In the back, a flat stepping area gave solid footing to passengers climbing into the third row.

The rear cargo door, however, was one of those things that made me wonder what Lexus was thinking. The door opened to the side instead of upward like most SUVs. It's really odd and rather awkward, because the rear door is big. Most luxury SUVs have a power liftgate feature that makes opening the cargo door a breeze, but the GX is its own woman. Er, person? Car? Let's just say it's unique.

SENSE AND STYLE

Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great

Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times

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