Home > Project Cars > PROJECT CAR> Lexus GX470 Is Civilized For Overland and Offroad

PROJECT CAR> Lexus GX470 Is Civilized For Overland and Offroad

I bit the bullet. I impulse bought a used Lexus GX470 after selling my parts hauler pickup truck, and I couldn’t be happier with that decision.

Even 20+ years after its introduction, the first generation Lexus GX still looks upscale enough to be at home at the valet area of a Vegas casino, but you can ditch the pavement princess persona. The 2003 Lexus GX470 isn’t here to sip on Verbena cocktails at the Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier Bar. This is a luxury SUV forged from equal parts grit and grace, ready to conquer mountains and mud with the same ease it devours the highway.

Under the hood, a 4.7-liter 2UZFE Toyota V8 smoothly thrums with 320 lb-ft of torque, giving me the urge to explore beyond the manicured suburbs of the Las Vegas suburbs and venture out into the desert wilderness just 35 minutes away from The Strip.

Lexus GX470 Palazzo valet extended

Don’t be fooled by its brawn; the GX470 still boasts Lexus-level refinement, cocooning you in plush leather and walnut accents while its sophisticated suspension smoothes the roughest terrain. Think of a Land Rover with a finishing school education (and much more reliable), a machine as happy adventuring in Moab as it is strolling Rodeo Drive.

stock 2003 Lexus GX470

As great as the GX470 is, it was still a 20-year-old car when I purchased it, and it had a ton of issues that needed to be addressed. I looked the GX over before I purchased it from a small private car dealership, but took it to my friend David Torrella, Service Advisor for Lexus of Henderson, to have his techs look over the vehicle in more detail.

They said my GX needed brakes pretty badly, and although the tires looked as if they still had good treadwear, the GX shook badly when I drove around 45mph and over. I tried taking it to Discount Tire to see if they could re-balance the wheels and tires for me, but they said they could not – apparently their solution was for me to buy brand new tires. (Might as well get a new set of wheels too!) On top of that, there was a clunking sound when I drove over speed bumps – the lower control arm bushings needed replacing too. Ugh!

Aesthetically on the exterior, the GX looked ok when I first got it, but the factory Lexus headlights were badly glazed over, and so were the foglight housings. On top of that, not all the light bulbs worked. I decided to buy all new light bulbs and housings on Amazon. (Click this link to see everything I bought.)

I also purchased brake pads and amazing looking slotted rotors on Amazon, along with a bunch of interior dress-up items.


I’ll be updating this page from time to time with new links and new updates on the GX as I continue to build it up, so please check back!

:: Antonio Alvendia

Instagram: @AntonioSureshot • @MOTORMAVENS

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