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2024 Lexus GX Overtrail First Drive Review: What You Won’t Find on the Spec Sheet

Our resident Lexus GX off-road enthusiast and Motors Editor, Bryon Dorr, spent some time with the all-new 2024 GX 550 and found that there is much more than meets the eye with this third-generation mid-size luxury SUV.
2024 Lexus GX Overtrail2024 Lexus GX Overtrail; (photo/Bryon Dorr)
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I’m going to focus on the Overtrail and Overtrail+ models of the all-new Lexus GX 550 in this review, as they are the most adventure-ready of the bunch. But, I’m also going to let you in on a few super-interesting findings from my testing, research, and questioning of Lexus employees that apply to all of the latest third-generation GX models.

Last week, I was in the desert outside of Tucson, Ariz., to get behind the wheel of the 2024 Lexus GX 550, in all its forms. I spent a day and a half crawling all over these new midsize luxury SUVs as well as talking to Lexus engineers, marketing and PR executives, and other journalists. I came away even more impressed than I thought I’d be, but also found a number of weaknesses in the platform and lineup.

Check out Bryon Dorr’s first impressions after a day of test driving the 2024 Lexus GX 550 in southern Arizona.

The Lexus GX debuted in 2002 — known as the GX 470 — and was then fully reworked in 2009 — with the GX 460. For reference, I own a 2013 GX 460 that I’ve built into an overland adventure machine and use as my daily. I’m a fan, but also very familiar with the vehicle’s shortcomings, some of which I’ve been able to improve through modification. You can read a bit about my build here.

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail


  • Vehicle Body on frame, 5-passenger 2-row, mid-luxury SUV
  • Pricing $69,250+ Overtrail, $77,250+ Overtrail+
  • Powertrain 3.4L twin-turbo V6, 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Power 349 hp, 479 lb.-ft.
  • 0-60 mph 6.5 sec.
  • Max speed 109 mph
  • Fuel economy 15 city / 21 highway / 17 combined
  • Wheelbase 112.2"
  • Ground clearance 8.86"
  • Approach / Breakover / Departure Angles 26 / 24 / 22
  • Cargo space 45.6 cu. ft. (90.5 with second row folded)
  • Load capacity 1,235 lbs.
  • Towing capacity 9,096 lbs. Overtrail and 9,063 lbs. Overtrail+
  • Tech Multi-terrain select, hill descent control, 14" infotainment touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Hardware Adaptive Variable Suspension, eKDSS, Front Skid Plate, 33" AT tires on 18" wheels, raised roof rails, rear e-locker
  • Options Traffic Jam Assist, Console Coolbox, HUD, Mark Levinson premium sound, digital key, cargo tonneau cover, sunroof can be deleted


  • Powerful and smooth powertrain
  • Real off-road capability
  • Quiet cabin
  • Luxury fit and finish
  • Great visibility
  • Super-comfortable seats
  • Impressive chassis dynamics
  • Big cargo and towing capacities


  • Poor fuel economy
  • A big price tag
  • Five-seater only
  • Hideous hitch cover

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail Review

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
2024 GX 550 next to the 2023 GX 460; (photo/Bryon Dorr)

Now, let’s dive into the pros and cons of the all-new 2024 Lexus GX Overtrail. I’m going to focus on the things you’re not going to find in a spec sheet, online vehicle builder, or press release.

Lexus GX Overtrail: Pros

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Quick & Smooth

We have to start off with the fact that for the first time ever, the GX won’t have a big V8 under the hood. Instead, the 2024 GX has a 3.4L twin turbo V6. This incredibly quiet and smooth engine puts out 349 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. That is 48 more ponies and 150 more torques — at 1,500 rpm less — than the GX 460 offered, and it’s a very noticeably quicker vehicle.

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Combine that engine with the new 10-speed automatic transmission, and you have a very impressive and refined package.

Quiet Cabin

Befitting the Lexus badge, the cabin of the new GX is extremely quiet. Surprisingly so, with such a steep windshield, tall profile, big boxy side mirrors, and blunt front end.

Fit & Finish Befitting a Luxury Vehicle

Like you’d expect from a Lexus, the fit, finish, and touchpoints are all tidy and feel great. Cheap plastics and rubber are very minimal and are located in places you just don’t touch often.

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Where most modern vehicles have driver-focused cockpits — with infotainment screens angled toward the driver — the new GX goes a different direction. The 14-inch touchscreen is flat, as is most of the dash, in order to give the driver better spatial awareness of the vehicle — or at least that’s Lexus’s reasoning. I found it pleasant in all ways, and I feel it helps keep the new GX feeling incredibly spacious.

Loads of Visibility & Spaciousness

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail+
FJ Cruiser-inspired side mirrors offer great forward visibility; (photo/Lexus)

Speaking of spatial awareness and spaciousness, the big greenhouse gives tons of visibility while the tall hood and upright grille make it super easy to know exactly where the corners of the vehicle are. The side mirrors — a nod to the FJ Cruiser — also provide lots of forward visibility, as they are mounted on the doors versus up at the base of the A-pillar.

You also get tons of headroom and legroom. And, while the vehicle feels a bit narrow, you still get plenty of elbow room.

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
GX Overtrail+ comes with built-in rear sunshades; (photo/Bryon Dorr)

A nice feature found on the Overtrail+ is the built-in retractable window shades for the rear seat passengers. Seeing these is the easiest way to tell the difference between the Overtrail+ and Overtrail models.

Amazing Seats

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
One of the best factory seats on the market; (photo/Bryon Dorr)

Overtrail models have the best factory seats of any 4×4 I’ve ever sat in. And, Overtrail+ gets you very impressive, powerful, and adjustable massaging seats. These are the first massaging front seats ever offered on a Lexus SUV.

The Overtrail models have taller and softer side bolsters and a firmer bottom cushion on the front seats than the other 2024 GX models. This seat design is supposed to create less head toss when tackling rough terrain, and in turn, provide less driver fatigue.

Quality Chassis Dynamics

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Ride quality on and off-road is impressive, especially on Overtrail models. Adaptive suspension — standard on all Overtrail models — seems to work quite well, with great damping while still being firm enough to rally on road. The new GX offers a composed ride over all terrains.

The eKDSS system may be the main reason for such a smooth ride, especially off road, and is only found on Overtrail models. It’s a seamless and automated system that is a big improvement on the already quality KDSS system many have experienced on the 4Runner and GX 460.

eKDSS is an electronically controlled sway bar “disconnect” system that works independently at each end of the GX 550. The system can fully “relax” the sway bars, offering a similar performance to a sway bar disconnect system. The non-eKDSS-equipped GX 550 has roughly 22 inches of total wheel travel, while the eKDSS-equipped Overtrail models get over 24 inches. That is a considerable difference when tackling off-road terrain.

Another factor in the Overtrail models specifically having such a confidence-inspiring ride is the fact that they are nearly an inch wider than the other GX 550 models. The black plastic fender flares on Overtrail models help give an indication of this, and they work well to keep the dirt and rock chips off the great Lexus paint.

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail+

Impressive Control Systems

In the driver’s seat of the 2024 GX, you get great control over the vehicle. The weighting and feedback from the steering wheel are just right, which is impressive for a rack and pinion electronic power steering (EPS) system. The throttle response is great, not something that can be said for previous Toyota/Lexus SUVs.

Brakes are the same as found under the Toyota Tundra, which means they have great response, quality traction control, and smooth Crawl Control. I personally also love that left foot braking doesn’t freak out the computers, as it is a handy tool for technical off-road driving and performance on-road driving.

Engagement of low range is super quick, easy, smooth, and quiet. It now takes just 0.8 seconds versus 1.1 in the GX 460, which is surprisingly a very noticeable difference.

Big Gear-Hauling Capacity

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail+

As GearJunkies, we all like to bring loads of outdoor gear on our adventures. Luckily, the 2024 Lexus GX is a body-on-frame vehicle that is set up to carry gear. The Overtrail models only weigh about 5,700 pounds and can carry 1,235 pounds. You also get loads of cargo space (45.6 cubic feet, or 90.5 cubic feet with the second row folded) to accommodate that gear.

While the load capacity and volume are very impressive, even more impressive is the massive towing capacity, at over 9,000 pounds. That opens up a wide range of camper trailer options to the new GX owner. The new GX Overtrail models also comes with an integrated electric trailer brake controller and Sway Control as standard equipment, and they’re options on the other models.

Rounding out the gear-hauling awesomeness are the raised roof rails that come standard on all Overtrail models. Just add crossbars and you’re set to haul your SUPs, kayaks, bikes, and other bulky adventure gear.

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Wireless Connectivity

Not only is the new GX able to receive over-the-air updates through the LSS+ system, which will no doubt increase the vehicle’s off-road prowess soon (more on that later), but it has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard.

Competitors like the latest Land Rover Defender have CarPlay and Android Auto, but don’t offer wireless systems — you must plug in a cable to your phone to get those features on the vehicle’s infotainment system.

Off-Road Upgrades Consideration

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Lexus engineers told me that the front lower facia is sacrificial — for when you misjudge an off-road obstacle — and is also easily removable in order to install things like bumpers, winches, and lighting.

The GX Overtrail models get 33-inch Toyo all-terrain tires wrapped around 18-inch wheels. The lead project engineer for GX told me that the new GX was designed to handle larger tires, but he wouldn’t give me a number and said anything bigger wouldn’t come from the factory. My rough guess is that 34s would fit with minimal rubbing and 35s would take some solid trimming and work to make fit.

The recently launched Lexus accessory program is adding lots of new partners for 2024 and Lexus is offering six GX-specific accessories at vehicle launch time. So far, they have announced a skid plate and black logo overlays. All of these accessories you can order right at the dealer and wrap up directly in your new vehicle financing. It includes things like 12V coolers, awnings, roof racks, etc.

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
33″ AT tire wrapped around 18″ wheels; (photo/Bryon Dorr)

Fake Engine Noises

Not normally something I’d consider a positive, but in this case, I’m making an exception. When the Drive Mode Select switch is set to Sport S, Sport S+, or Custom mode, and the Powertrain mode is set to Power, the Engine Sound Enhancement (ESE) activates in response to the throttle pedal.

What that means is that fake engine sounds are piped in through the speakers of the GX 550. I usually find this sort of thing a bit lame, but in this case, I have to admit that it was executed nearly perfectly and just enhances the driving experience of the vehicle.

Lexus GX Overtrail: Cons

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Fuel Economy

The third-generation GX continues the vehicle’s legacy of requiring premium fuel and offering poor fuel economy. Even though we lost the V8 for a twin-turbo V6, fuel economy only modestly improved to still very sad numbers.

The 2024 GX 550 gets 15 mpg city, 21 highway, and 17 combined. This, of course, is because of the vehicle’s boxy shape, big tires, and full-time four-wheel-drive (FWD) system.

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
I like that the climate controls are a mix of hard buttons, dials, and on-screen buttons; (photo/Bryon Dorr)

2024 Lexus GX Price & Availability

The new GX will hit dealers this spring, but don’t expect to be able to get your hands on one. U.S. dealers already have deposits on over 30,000 GX 550s, and Lexus is only expecting to bring 33,000 to this market in 2024.

While you can in theory get an Overtrail model for $69,250 and an Overtrail+ for $77,250, it is unlikely that you can find or order one without options or a dealer markup. The sticker price on an Overtrail+ the way I’d want one built is about $80,000.

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail+
2024 Lexus GX Overtrail+ second row; (photo/Lexus)

No Third Row or Captain’s Chairs

The GX Overtrail models are all five-passenger two-row SUVs. The second-row captain’s chair and third-row seating options are not available on any Overtrail models.

The second-row captain’s chairs are an option on third-row-equipped 2024 GX only. This means that you can get all non-Overtrail model 2024 GX in either five-, six-, or seven-passenger configurations.

2024 Lexus GX Luxury+
Second-row captain’s chairs and third-row options shown in a 2024 GX Luxury+; (photo/Lexus)

No Air Suspension Option

For the first time ever, the Lexus GX won’t have an air-suspension option. When pressed, Lexus engineers said that this was because they wanted owners to be able to upgrade the suspension easily. I do understand that reasoning from an enthusiast’s perspective, as I bought my GX 460 specifically without air suspension in order to upgrade the suspension easily and heavily.

However, competitors like the new Defender offer air suspension which provides much easier access for people and gear as well as much more ground clearance to clear off-road obstacles.

GX Tow Hitch Cover

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
Why Lexus? Why?! (photo/Bryon Dorr)

While the overall design of the 2024 Lexus GX is a knockout success, in my opinion, it has one glaring eyesore. The hitch receiver cover on the rear bumper is hideous. And, somehow, it’s even worse when removed, mostly because it then looks super unfinished.

The cover also comes off quite easily. I have no doubt these will be found out on off-road trails around the world with owners not realizing they have fallen off until much later.

Massage Frustrations

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
The 2024 is the first Lexus SUV to ever have front seat massage; (photo/Bryon Dorr)

Sadly, the GX Overtrail model does not offer massage seats. You have to get the Luxury, Luxury+, or Overtrail+ to get massage seats. This is a shame, as the massage seats are glorious and should be available to all.

The other big issue is that to turn on the massage seats, you have to go through at least five infotainment screen touches. And, there is currently no way to set the massage feature up on the custom buttons on the home screen. But, that is something that will likely be available through an over-the-air update soon, as Lexus knows it’s an issue.

Running Boards

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Running boards are standard on all 2024 GX models. Step one, if you plan to take your new GX off-road, remove the running boards. They hang low and will cause body damage when they impact rocks off-road, as breakover is not your friend on modern longish wheelbase SUVs.

‘Inferior’ Rear Door

The new GX has a rear hatch instead of the traditional GX barn door, but it still has the pop-up glass option. The hatch also has an available kick sensor. It’s probably better, to be honest, but I’m a bit of a purist and contrarian on this one, and just like the traditional barn door.

Unfinished Calipers

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

While a minute detail, details matter, especially when you’re paying big money for a luxury vehicle. The brake calipers on the 2024 GX aren’t painted. They are silver metal and just look unfinished, considering every other exterior surface on the vehicle has a finish or color on it.

HUD Issues

If you get the optional heads-up display (HUD), it doesn’t really work at all with polarized sunglasses, and I personally always drive with polarized sunglasses. This is an issue with nearly all HUD systems but is really bad on the new GX.

While you can turn the HUD on and off with a hard button, adjusting it is super deep in the menus, which is super annoying.

2024 Lexus GX: What You Need to Know

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail+

Turn Assist

From all accounts, directly from Lexus Engineers and PR reps, the GX 550 will not offer Turn Assist at launch. However, in dealer trainings for months now, the feature has been promoted as available on the Overtrail models. Also, vehicle instructors at the launch thought the feature was on the vehicles, and it did seem like it engaged once while making a sharp corner off-road.

Basically, the feature is supposed to lock up the rear inside wheel automatically when the vehicle is in low range and the steering wheel is at full lock in order to allow the vehicle to make a tighter turn when on loose surfaces.

My best guess, Lexus wants to have features to add to 2025 model year vehicles and promote at that time. I’ll also go out on a limb and say that 2024 vehicles have everything required for Turn Assist, and will be upgraded with an over-the-air-update in the future.

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
The dash has a built-in small cubby that is perfect for phones, glasses, and the like; (photo/Bryon Dorr)

What Actually Changes With Each Drive Mode?

When you turn the Drive Mode Select dial, you have options of Eco, Normal, Comfort, Sport S, Sport S+, and Custom. While I couldn’t get any answers as to why the Sport modes have the extra “S” after them, I did find out what actually changes with the vehicle when the different modes are selected.

The powertrain, meaning the engine tune and transmission shift points, has three settings; Eco, Normal, and Power. All Overtrail models, as well as Luxury+, also have Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), which has three settings: Normal, Comfort, and Sport.

All GX 550 have Electronic Power Steering (EPS), which has two settings: Normal and Sport. The final thing that is adjusted with the different drive modes is the air conditioning system, which has two modes; Eco and Normal.

Here are the settings from normal for each drive mode: Eco- powertrain Eco/AC Eco, Comfort- powertrain Eco/AVS Comfort/AC Eco, Sport S- powertrain Power, and Sport S+- powertrain Power/AVS Sport/EPS Sport. Of course, Normal mode is normal for all variables and Custom mode is fully customizable to your tastes.

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) Settings

Multi-Terrain Select is accessed by pushing the button, labeled “MTS,” below the drive mode selector. Selections can then be made by turning the drive mode dial. For the first time ever on a Toyota/Lexus product, you have the option of an “Auto” setting within this system. From my brief testing, the Auto MTS setting was impressive at adapting to the terrain under the vehicle.

In high-range four-wheel-drive, which the GX is in all the time, you can access Auto, Dirt, Sand, Mud, and Deep Snow MTS settings. In low-range four-wheel-drive, you can select Auto, Sand, Mud, and Rock MTS settings.

Few Options

To start with, there will be very few options you can add on to the basic model of GX you order. On offer for the 2024 GX are; Traffic Jam Assist (essentially 0-25 mph hands-free driving), a console coolbox, a HUD, a Mark Levinson premium sound system, a Digital Key, and a cargo tonneau cover. You can also delete the sunroof on Overtrail models.

Body on Frame

A rarity for a new SUV in 2024, the GX 550 is a body-on-frame vehicle, versus a unibody design. This vehicle style generally offers more ruggedness, better towing, and more load capacity. The 2024 GX 550 has a 20% more rigid frame than the GX 460, which seems to help it handle on and off road.


Lexus sees the GX 550 competing in the mid-luxury SUV segment. The Lexus TX and RX are also in this category of vehicle. The Land Rover Defender is the closest direct competitor, however. Also in the segment are the BMW X5 and X7, as well as the Mercedes GLE. The GX 550 is the only body-on-frame vehicle in the segment.

While not in the same luxury class, the Jeep Wrangler, Toyota 4Runner, and Ford Bronco will no doubt also be cross-shopped with the Lexus GX, especially the Overtrail models.

2024 Lexus GX 550 Review: Conclusions

2024 Lexus GX lineup
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Besides the painful, yet somehow competitive, price tag, horrible fuel economy, and some tiny things like the wart-like hitch receiver cover and some complicated infotainment functionality, it’s hard to really fault the new GX for much. It is a massive improvement over the now very dated GX 460 in essentially every way.

While Lexus thinks it will sell more Premium+ models — which start at $69,250 — than any other, I’d strongly argue that the Overtrail+, while not inexpensive at about $80,000, is by far the best version and best value. Between the eKDSS, adaptive suspension, massaging seats, multi-terrain select modes, rear eLocker, and rear window shades, it is just the right package for a wide range of buyers.

Only buyers who want a third row and can forgo the off-road capability niceties should choose the Premium or Luxury models, in my opinion. Also, the 22-inch wheels on the Luxury+ model do look pretty good, if you’re into that kind of thing.

2024 Lexus GX Luxury+
2024 Lexus GX Luxury+ is a beautiful highway-eating machine; (photo/Bryon Dorr)

I’ll also wager a bet that in 2025 we’ll see a GX 550 F Sport model. I’ll bet it gets bigger turbos — like those found on Tundra, some more aggressive street style accents — like a front chin spoiler and more aggressive rear hatch spoiler, and a bright interior option — likely red.

Also, yes a mild-hybrid powertrain is on the way at some point in the not-so-distant future. While it should provide even more low-end grunt and likely a few mpg, it will also add weight and remove cargo room.

The 2024 GX 550 will be available in 33 countries around the world, and I have a feeling Lexus will sell every one they can make for at least 2 years. This luxury SUV has all the elements of a real crowd-pleaser. I know I want one!

Build out your own dream GX 550 configuration online now.

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