Is the Lexus GX the Same as the 4Runner?

Toyota and Lexus are among buyers’ first choices for an enjoyable, reliable vehicle. And if you’re especially interested in an exceptional off-roader, these brands have answers for that too. Perhaps the most popular option under Toyota’s lineup is the 4Runner, and Lexus’ is the GX. But you might be wondering, is the Lexus GX the same as the 4Runner?

The Toyota 4Runner is the better-on-a-budget option

A rear shot of a green 2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro on a forest off-road trail near a creek
2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro rear | Matthew Skwarczek

The 4Runner and the GX have a few similarities, excellent reliability scores being one of them. However, the 4Runner appeals more to the masses because of its focus performance and value. And if you’re a tech-lover, the 2020 4Runner is one of the better versions to buy. 

The 4Runner has a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. You’ll find that the 4Runner offers satisfying power, but its standard five-speed automatic has earned mixed reviews. For instance, reviewers at Consumer Reports feel like the 4Runner’s transmission shifts smoothly and acknowledges that it’s a bit outdated compared to some class rivals.

Reviews are also mixed regarding the 4Runner’s on-road performance, but overall it does just fine. What’s more impressive is this Toyota’s off-road abilities. The base model trim is off-road ready, but you’ll want to consider the TRD trim for more extreme adventures. Towing ability is also a highlight of the 4Runner; it can tow up to 5,000 pounds. According to CR’s testing, the 4Runner can haul a 5,000-pound trailer to 60 mph in about 17 seconds. 

The Lexus GX is truly an opulent ride

2020 Lexus 460 GX Overland luxury camping concept | Lexus-0
2020 Lexus 460 GX Overland luxury camping concept | Lexus

RELATED: The 2021 Toyota 4Runner’s Top TRD Trim is Missing a Key Off-Road Feature

If you’d like to splurge a bit more, the GX is an enticing choice. Many shoppers wonder if the GX is the luxury version of the 4Runner, and that’s true. The GX is also the upscale version of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, which Toyota doesn’t sell in the U.S. 

As a luxury model, the GX offers a couple of advantages over the 4Runner. The GX is the smoother ride of the two, and it’s more powerful. The GX features a 301-hp 4.6-liter V8 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Some critics also feel that the GX makes better use of its interior space than the 4Runner. 

For the most sophisticated off-roading experience, Lexus’ available Off-Road Package is worth considering. This package includes a multi-terrain select function and crawl control. On the inside, the GX impresses with its plush cabin, but it is slightly outdated.

On the plus side, GX comes a variety of modern active safety features, similar to the 4Runner. However, the 4Runner now comes standard with smartphone apps like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These features aren’t even available as options on the GX. 

It all comes down to pricing 

The GX provides a grander riding experience and opulence. That, of course, comes at a higher price tag. A new GX starts at $53,100; the latest 4Runner begins at $36,340.Both models have earned high reliability and owner satisfaction scores; both present great resale value. But the 4Runner is the better choice for its affordability, even as you climb trim levels.