Road Test: 2024 Lexus GX 550 Is Still the Classic We’ve Always Loved

The redesign of this classic preserved its pedigree while updating its function and feel. The Lexus GX 550—and the Lexus GX Overtrail we tested—exudes confidence, on road and off.

Lexus Gx 550
Lexus GX 550 Credit: Scotty Reiss

Pedigree is the Mark of a Classic, and That Defines this 4WD SUV

A Chanel tote bag that patinas with age, a brass-buttoned military blazer, your grandmother’s pearls that look just as good with your jeans as they did with her gown. All classics that last through the ages. Add the 2024 Lexus GX to that list. 

I just spent a week test driving the 2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail edition, priced from $64K to $81K, and walked away a changed woman. There’s nothing like sitting up high and having instant power under foot that will make you feel like a queen. That’s thanks to the GX’s full time 4 wheel drive (which is standard on all models), 349 HP and 479 lb.-ft of torque under foot. Produced by a V6 twin turbo engine, all that power is what moves you so quickly, and it makes you feel strong and confident. 

But everything about this luxury SUV will make your passengers feel confident, too.

Related: 4 Things I Hope Lexus Keeps (and Changes) with the New Lexus GX

Love The Winking Headlights In The2024 Lexus Gx Overtrail Edition
Love the winking headlights in the2024 Lexus GX Overtrail Edition Credit: Scotty Reiss

New Tech and Design That Feels Familiar and Classic

The redesign of the Lexus GX was big news. This popular bucket-list SUV needed a makeover; while the exterior kept up with the Lexus design journey, the interior continued to feel clunky and old school, from oversized interior components and a gear shifter to an outdated multimedia system. 

But what it did so spectacularly was off-road and tow in the posh surrounds of leather seats and a rugged but refined cabin. 

The nature of this SUV hasn’t changed; it’s simply gotten better with the 2024 model. 

The biggest change is in the front seat. Lexus designers were able to increase visibility by flattening the entire dash and lowering it, setting the multimedia screen and driver display a bit lower. The result is a wider, more commanding view of the road. Head up display (a $900 option ) in our test model was a great addition, keeping my eyes on the road without interruption. 

The center console and climate controls under the multimedia screen were also streamlined with a more elegant look and feel. The entire console feels designed rather than assembled. 

But it still maintains the classic feel: the gear selector is still a lever that fits nicely in your hand; no push buttons here. Four wheel drive controls sit just below the gear shifter, and drive mode controls are at your fingertips on an angled panel. The climate control panel is a static bar on the multimedia screen so they are always easy to find, and radio volume and temperature controls are dials so they can be quickly accessed. 

Related: Lexus LX 600 Luxury SUV: Go Big and Go Fancy 

The Front Seat In The 2024 Lexus Gx Overtrail Edition
The front seat in the 2024 Lexus GX Overtrail Edition Credit: Scotty Reiss

The Updated Multimedia System Is a Game Changer

The GX is among the last of redesigned Lexus models to get this new system, housed in a 14” touchscreen, but buyers will be grateful. It features a new look and function, including “Hey Lexus” voice activation and multitudes of vehicle settings that let you customize things like ambient lighting, head up display, driver assist features, voice-activated assistance and more.

The updated system also includes navigation and a 3 year trial of Lexus Drive Connect, a premium navigation system that updates and stores maps and destinations. Lexus parent company Toyota designed this system for off-grid travelers so they’ll always have the most updated maps even when there is no cell service. 

Additionally, the system offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a panoramic HD camera system in all but the base model.

Related: Putting the 2024 Lexus TX to the True Family Test

The Cargo Area Of The Lexus Gx
The cargo area of the Lexus GX features Credit: Scotty Reiss

Lexus GX 550 Overtrail Edition: A Special Treat for Off-Roaders 

Lexus GX owners who trail ride and off-road are a special tribe and Lexus put a lot of thought into how these customers use their GXs. The Overtrail comes equipped with a number of features that will optimize time on the trail, including leatherette seats, adaptive suspension, locking rear differential, crawl control, downhill descent mode, multi terrain drive mode and all terrain tires. All GX 550s come with a trailer hitch to tow up to 9,000 lbs. Then, the Overtrail model is designed for customization; you can add enhanced roof rails, a rooftop box, ladders, fog lights and more to accommodate your overlanding needs. 

To make room for your gear, this model does not come with a 3rd row, though all the other models have the option. The cargo area has about 40 cubic feet of space, plenty of room for luggage and gear. And, to make room in your budget for all that gear and customization, it’s comparatively well priced at $69,250, just $5K over the base model

Leg Room In The 2024 Lexus Gx
Leg room in the 2024 Lexus GX Credit: Scotty Reiss

Yes, There are 3 Rows For Seven Passengers — Standard 

All models other than the Overtrail come with a 3rd row and a center row bench seat. And all but the base model offer second row captains chairs as a $440 option. This is great for families who need 3 car seats in the center row, but with caveats: Center row seats fold and flip for 3rd row access, so families who need the 3rd row every day may want to opt for captains chairs instead.

I did note during my test drive, however, that the middle seat in the center row bench is really only suited for small passengers, perhaps in a car seat or booster. The center console covers part of the transmission tunnel, leaving no foot space for a middle seat passenger.

Rear Seats Are Easy To Reach Via The Running Boards On The Lexus Gx
Rear seats are easy to reach via the running boards on the Lexus GX Credit: Scotty Reiss

How Kids Car Seats Fit 

There is great news here: First, the center row bench is large and wide. There’s plenty of legroom and space for rear-facing kids car seats. There are two full LATCH sets, and lower anchors are covered by an elegant leather (or leatherette) panel with a velcro closure. Outboard seats are 19” deep and 22” wide; the middle seat is 14” wide. Overall, most car seats should fit nicely and the bench should easily fit 3 seats across. 

One or two rear-facing car seats should fit, too: my seat back-to-seat back measurements came to 32” behind the driver’s seat when it was set for my height, which is 5’8.” So a rear facing seat should fit easily behind the passenger’s seat and possibly in the middle seat. I didn’t get a chance to test the 3-row model, which has about 10 cubic feet behind the 3rd row, but hope to and will report back when I do. 

The Center Console Maintains Its Classic Feel In The 2024 Lexus Gx
The center console maintains its classic feel in the 2024 Lexus GX Credit: Scotty Reiss

What This Classic Fancy SUV Costs

The Lexus GX 550 comes in 6 flavors: Premium, Luxury and Overtrail, each with a  “+” edition that adds more features and options. 

  • The Premium model with full time 4WD, leatherette seating for 7, 6 USB ports and an household outlet, running boards, power lift gate, moonroof, tow hitch, tow mode, the 14” touch screen multimedia system, 12” driver display, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, premium sound, 20” wheels and the full Lexus Safety System suite of driver assist and safety features, is priced from $64,250.
  • Premium +, which adds a power 3rd row, power steering wheel, heated second row outboard seats, ambient lighting, power rear gate motion sensor, and a wireless phone charger, is priced from $69,250
  • Luxury, which adds leather seating, massaging front seats, second row sun shades, illuminated door sills, puddle lamps, 22” wheels, and has a 7,800 lbs. tow capacity, is priced from $77,250
  • Luxury +, which adds a panoramic sun roof, cool box console, Mark Levinson premium sound system, digital rear view mirror, automatic running boards and adaptive suspension starts at $81,250
  • Overtrail, which has most standard features, seating for 5, ambient lighting, the option of removing the moonroof for a $1,100 credit, starts at $69,250
  • Overtrail + adds massaging seats, power steering wheel, ambient light, memory seats, heated second row seats, wireless phone charger, second row sunshades, illuminated door sills, puddle lights, power rear gate motion sensor and starts at $77,250
  • Options include digital key for $375, heated second row captains chairs for $440, traffic jam assist, $620-$840 depending on the model, Mark Levinson premium sound for $1,140, cool box, $170, head up display, $900, wireless phone  charter, $75

The Lexus GX 550 Knows What It Is and Who It Is For

It’s not trying to be everything for everyone. There are other cars for that—Lexus even makes a few. The GX 550 is for the off-roading family, even small ones, who need real 4 wheel drive and features that can support it, and who want top notch luxury for the long haul. Yes, it’s expensive but it’s an investment, just like those pearls or Chanel bag, that will pay off in spades with the experiences it will introduce you to.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss