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The new Black Line Special Edition model offers more style to the rugged three-row midsize.

COURTESY PHOTO: LEXUS - The new Black Line Edition of the 2022 Lexus GX 460 looks sharp without compromising the impressive off-road capabilities.My friends at Lexus might not like me saying this, but the truth is, the midsize 2022 GX 460 SUV is a truck. And that's the best thing about it.

Let me explain. Toyota's luxury brand is marketing the GX 460 as a luxury family hauler, which it certainly is is. The three-row SUV clicks all the boxes. It is boldly styled, available with every premium and technology option, features a powerful V8 engine and full-time four-wheel-drive, and is remarkably quiet on the road.

But the GX 460 is based on a Toyota Land Cruiser that is sold outside the United States. That means it is a body on frame design, like a truck. And that makes it more off-road capable than car-like unibody crossovers. Despite its substantial luxury upgrades, the GX 460 can also handle the toughest trails — which means it is also well-equipped for serious city winter travel.

COURTESY PHOTO: LEXUS - The 2022 Lexus GX 460 is smooth and comortable in the open road but can handle tough terrain with ease.

And that's even before adding the option Off-Road Package that includes Crawl Control, Panoramic View Monitor with Multi-Terrain Monitor, a fuel tank protector and a transmission oil cooler.

Some vehicles are sleepers because they look sedate but are really fast. The 2022 GX 460 is a sleeper because it looks like a suburban-oriented SUV but can climb mountains and handle heavy snow.

The truth is, the current version of the GX 460 is old by today's automotive standards, having first been introduced in 2009 but updated since then. Every competitor is newer. But newer doesn't necessarily mean better when it comes to getting the job done. Especially when it comes to the GX 460, whose upgraded suspension smoothes out the ride of the Toyota versions.

To help keep the GX 460 competitive, Lexus has introduced a Black Line Special Edition that features 18-inch glossy black wheels, a blackout chrome grille surround, unique lower front and rear bumper valance design, Garnet Red taillamps, black roof rails and body-colored door handles, and black headliner and Matte Black Ash Wood trim.

COURTRESY PHOTO: LEXUS - The interior of the 2022 Lexus GX 460 featues premium materials and is availabe with practically every advanced automotive technology.

Our tester was an all-black Black Line Special Edition, which attracted a of attention, in part because of the huge trademark spindle grill. But it is also in Starfire Pearl and Nori Green Pearl. All are based on the Premium model, which means it was fully loaded with practically every option except the Off-Road Package.

The GX 460 is about the same size as the Toyota 4Runner, which is also a truck because it is based in the Tacoma pickup. In addition to the luxury upgrades, the big reason to pick the GX 460 over the 4Runner is the engine. Both the Tacoma and 4Runner comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 278 horsepower. The Lexus comes with a 4.6-liter V8 that pumps out 301 horsepower, making it quicker around town and capable of towing 6,500 pounds. The trade off is a minor decrease in fuel economy, of course, but that is true of all luxury versions of more affordable vehicles.

COURTESY PHOTO: LEXUS - The 2022 Lexus GX 460 is based on a version of the Toyota Land Cruiser not sold in the United States, which makes it adventure-ready, especially with the optional Off-Road PAckage.

In a week of test driving, the 2022 Lexus GX 460 Black Line Special Edition felt rock solid in all conditions. Despite the V8, it was not particularly fast off the line because the six-speed automatic transmission is more tuned for slow speed off-road driving. But the ride was always smooth and the comfortable. The high quality interior materials and impressive sound system easily meet all expectation of a luxury SUV. Lexus has also updated the infotainment system, which is much easier to use now.

But just when you start thinking the GX 460 is not all that truck-like, the rear door reminds you it is not a conventional SUV. It is not a hatchback but a side-hinged door that swings out from the left to the right. The glass can be opened separately for loading and unloading small items, but opening the rear door will impress your friends the first time they see you do it.

PMG PHOTO: JIM REDDEN - The unique side-hinge rear door will impress or at least amuse your friends. The lift is high because of the third row of seats.

The 2022 Lexus GX 460 is for those who chart their own paths and the new Black Line Special Edition gives it even more style.

The Lexus lineup will be on display at the 2022 Portland International Auto Show from Feb. 24 to 27 at the Oregon Convention Center.

2022 Lexus GX 460

Base price: $55,625

Price as tested: $61,960

Type: Midsize SUV

Engine: 4.6-liter V8 (301 hp, 329 ft-lbs)

Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Sport and manual shift mode

EPA estimated mileage: 15/19

Overall length: 192 inches

Curb weight: 5126 pounds

Final assembly: Tahara, Aichi, Japan

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