NEW FOR 2009:

– Premium Package returns as base model
– Ultra Premium Package available

For 2009, the Lexus GX 470 is unchanged, save for changes to its trim packages. The base price drops over the 2008 MSRP by $10,700.

Positioned between the RX 350 and LX 470, the GX 470 shares body-on-frame architecture with the Toyota 4Runner, but is slightly shorter and taller, and with three rows of seats that will accommodate up to eight passengers.

It uses a 4.7-litre V8 mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, and features a full-time four-wheel drive system that splits power 40/60 front to rear under normal driving conditions, and includes downhill and hill-start assist control, limited-slip centre differential, skid plates, load-levelling rear air suspension and adjustable height control system.

The single trim line includes 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear a/c, six-CD/MP3 Mark Levinson audio system with auxiliary input, ten-way driver and six-way passenger power heated leather seats with two driver memory settings, 60/40 split fold-and-tumble middle-row seats, removable 50/50 third-row seat, electroluminescent gauges, keyless entry, auto up/down on all windows, auto-dimming mirror with compass, wood and leather-wrapped power tilt and telescopic wheel, cruise control, garage door opener, front tow hook, rear privacy glass, roof rack, power sunroof, splash guards, seven-pin trailer wiring harness, rain-sensing wipers, rear washer/wiper, automatic headlamps and fog lamps.

The available Ultra Premium Package adds DVD-based navigation system, backup camera, six-CD/cassette stereo, rear-seat DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones, Bluetooth connectivity and rear spoiler.

Although the GX 470 is a capable off-roader, its smooth ride and luxury features are more in line with hitting the asphalt. The third-row seat can be folded out of the way or removed entirely for more cargo capacity if preferred. The large price drop will be welcome to customers who want a luxury SUV, but if the extras aren’t necessary, shop it against the top-line 4Runner.

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