2005 Lexus GX 470 review

The workings of the GX470 leave me oh so tired. Maybe it's the woman in me, maybe it's the mom in me, but there's a lot about this SUV I don't get. The first thing that strikes my negative vibe is the strange mechanics with the third row seating configuration. The rest is all downhill from here.

When I want to load my son's stroller, I have two options: maneuver the third row seats or remove them altogether. Since I really don't want to store leather seats in my dusty garage, I opt for the first choice. This is not an easy task. I have to fold the seats down, which don't fold down into the floor. No, that would be way too easy. Instead I have to pull the lever to release them from the floor and then fold them up to the side of the car, latch them with the harness, where they "hang." This seems archaic to me.

Now I can fit my stroller in the back, but there's not much room for other stuff, and those folded seats are still obtrusive. They just bug me hanging there like that, taking up valuable cargo space.

The trouble doesn't end here. While fishing around the third row, I notice the inviting boxes on both sides of seats. Apparently these boxes (which have machine-looking parts inside) are part of the mechanics involved with removing the third row seats. Well, I know that to any child it's the perfect place to hide gummy bears, small toys and other things that shouldn't go in there. There's no way to keep the boxes locked and simply telling a child "no" is usually an invitation for them to do the opposite.

Working my way from the back to the front, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Leaving behind the worries of the back I find the second row seating to be more inviting. There is great legroom and the bench seating comfortably fits three passengers or three child car seats.

There are only two cupholders in the second row, however, and they are in the center console. Luckily there are four cupholders in the front center console (Two permanent cupholders with adjusting sides to fit large and small cups; two additional cupholders that fold down to offer more cubby space). The center console also makes for a great storage bin for DVDs and CDs.

As nice as it is to have that DVD player, this one is hard to figure out. Each time I turn it on, I have to switch between using the remote and the front controls within the computer system. At one point my son starts to cry and I pull over to realize, while I can hear the DVD, the picture isn't actually playing on the screen.

Oh, and the CD player; it's one of those I have to load in the glove compartment, so I don't even bother playing any CDs. If I can't access it from my driver seat, it's too much trouble.

Getting into this SUV requires some long legs. I use the grip bars a lot to climb in. This proves to be a challenge for my son, as well, who is in the "do-it-myself" phase and wants to get into the car on his own. For toddlers, it is impossible for them to step high enough to get in, even with the assistance of the running board.

The larger size of this SUV makes me feel like I have a big butt that is going to bump into everything when I try to park. Luckily, Lexus installed the back up video monitoring system that allows me to see blind spots when I'm backing up. This technology continues to earn my respect each time I hear about another child being run over while a car is backing up.

Other perks to the Lexus GX470 is the excellent rear air conditioning. It is easy for the driver or the back passengers to control. The steering wheel can electronically adjust up, down and forward, back. I suppose it is only fair of me to mention the off-road features including down hill assist control.

Between the oddness of the third row seats, the problems with the DVD player and the lack of cargo space in such a large SUV, I'm ready to trade in the Lexus GX470 for something less stressful to accommodate a family. A car can have all the luxury in the world but it won't make up for the areas that fail to meet the needs of a family on the go.

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