Should You Take the Lexus GX470 Off Road?

The Lexus GX470 has what it takes to make a solid off-road vehicle—but not without some limitations.
Written by Macy Fouse
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The Lexus GX470 is one of the brand’s best options for off-roading SUVs. While it can tackle easy to moderate trails, it’s not the best fit for traversing serious terrain.
Having a trail-ready vehicle is a ticket to adventure, whether it’s on paved roads or remote trails. But how can you tell which SUVs are actually fit for off-roading?
Here's a guide to the off-roading specs of the Lexus GX470. We’ll go over the most important details that make for a good off-road vehicle, and we’ll cover some alternatives if the GX470 isn’t a good fit for you.
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Can the Lexus GX470 go off road?

In short, yes. While the GX470 won’t be scaling the Rockies anytime soon, it can definitely tackle off-road situations—especially when fitted with the right gear and tires. 
With a fair market value of about $15,408, GX470 models are shorter and more agile than the newer GX460s, making them a better fit for any backwoods trails or dirt roads. 
There’s more to a good off-road vehicle than just agility, though. Let’s take a closer look at the details that make the GX470 a great off-roading companion. 

Ground clearance

When searching for a vehicle that can tackle rougher terrain, one of the most crucial factors to look at is its ground clearance. Most GX470s have a ground clearance of 8.3 inches, making it a close call for good off-roading clearance. 
For the best off-roading ability, though, you’ll typically want to search for a ground clearance between 8.8 and 10.8 inches so you can tumble around the trails without damaging the car’s undercarriage. The ground clearance of the GX470 doesn’t hold a candle to leading off-road warriors like the
Jeep Wrangler’s
9.7 inches, but that doesn’t mean it can’t handle an adventure. 

Torque

Another key metric to look at when determining a vehicle’s off-road worthiness is
torque
. The most ideal off-roaders have low-end torque, with higher amounts of torque at a lower rpm. On rougher terrains, turning force is more important than speed, so low-end torque is the goal.
The 2009 GX470’s powerful 4.7-liter V8 engine gets a maximum torque of 323 @ 3400 RPM. While a torque between 2,000 and 3,000 RPM is ideal for off-roading, this number isn’t too shabby for taking your GX470 for a spin on the trails. 

Tires

The GX470 comes set with 265/65HR17 All-Terrain tires.
All-terrain tires
, or A/T tires, are ideal for drivers who combine their everyday driving on paved roads with off-roading excursions. While these won’t last quite as long as all-season tires, the more heavy-duty tread A/T tires provide better traction for more precarious surfaces. A/T tires will also up the cost of ownership of your GX470, though. 

Drivetrain

All-wheel drive is an absolute must for any off-roading vehicle, and it comes standard on all GX470 models. In fact, the GX470 comes with a full-time four-wheel drive.

Angles

For safe and versatile off-roading, it’s critical to pay attention to a vehicle’s angles—the approach angle and departure angle specifically: 
  • Approach angle: the maximum angle a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: the maximum angle a vehicle can descend without interference
Higher angles make for a better (and safer) off-road experience. The GX470’s approach and departure angles measure 30 and 29 degrees. For comparison purposes, the 2022 Jeep Wrangler’s angles measure at 47 and 40 degrees. That means the GX470 can handle a fair bit of rough and tumble, but we don’t recommend taking it for major rock crawling expeditions. 

Off-road rating: Rough and ready

We’ve rated the Lexus GX470 using Jerry’s own technical DIRT rating system, broken down in the table below:
Rating
Meaning
Description
D
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
I
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
R
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
T
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
The standard Lexus GX470 earns an R rating: it can withstand more off-roading than its rivals, and it’s set to hit lighter trails without any mods—but stick to mostly dirt roads and lightly-bumpy trails to be safe. If you’re itching to take on more extreme landscapes, a few modifications—like bigger tires—can bump the rating up to a T

The best off-road alternatives to the 2022 Lexus GX470

The GX470 is a perfect mix between a road-ready luxury SUV and a serious adventure mobile—but some drivers may prefer a more rugged and capable off-roader. Or maybe the gas mileage just won’t cut it for your budget. 
Either way, we’ve got a few alternatives for you to consider if the GX470 isn’t your perfect fit.
Alternative
Model
Price
Description
Best upscale alternative
2020 Infiniti QX80
$66,750
The 2020 QX80 is a more chic full-size SUV with eight available seats, 400-hp V8 engine, and highly capable as an off-road option.
Best eco-friendly alternative
2022 Volvo XC90 Recharge Hybrid
$64,800
The XC90 Recharge is powerful, quick, smooth, and fuel-efficient—with a combined 55 MPGe.
Best heavy-duty alternative
2022 GMC Yukon AT4
$54,000
The Yukon is already quite the tank, but the AT4 trim makes this SUV a capable beast—on and off the beaten path.
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How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

Off-road vehicles are fun and versatile to drive, but the downside is that they’re usually more expensive to own and insure. Because off-roading presents a greater risk of damaging your car, insurance companies increase your premiums. 
You aren’t stuck with sky-high rates, though. All you have to do is shop with
Jerry
to find savings on your
car insurance
. As a licensed insurance broker and
trustworthy insurance super app
, Jerry sources your lowest rates from over 50 top providers in just 45 seconds
Just by shopping with Jerry, users save an average of over $800 annually on car insurance. With those savings, you could spring for those upgraded tires to turn your GX470 into the off-roading fiend you know it can be. 
 “I thought my previous insurance rate was the best I could get, since I have a luxury SUV. After
Jerry
found me quotes, I ended up paying only $80 a month for the same exact coverage. I’ll be shopping for auto insurance through Jerry from now on!” —Petra S.
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