Top 3 Takeaways from Driving the Lexus GX 550 Overtrail

Photography: Sam Du

  • After 15 years, a redesigned Lexus GX 550 is here, and the first-ever Overtrail and Overtrail+ grades are introduced.
  • The full-time 4WD SUV ditches the dated 4.6-liter V8 in favor of a 349hp and 479 lb-ft 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6.
  • The GX Overtrail is equipped with functional 4×4 options, such as 33″ tires, center and rear locking differentials, and sway bar disconnects.
  • The 2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail is a premium mid-size SUV that combines luxury with off-road performance and starts at $69,250 MSRP.

What can you learn about the new 2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail in 90 minutes? Turns out quite a lot! On a rare rainy day in Southern California, Lexus USA invited Pit+Paddock to check out a lineup of second-generation GX models. On paper, a big empty parking lot doesn’t sound too exciting to evaluate the adventure-ready GX; however, the Lexus staff guided me through a makeshift obstacle course built from wooden logs. It was a clever setup and offered a pretty rad demonstration as I could experience extreme approach, side, and departure angles in the heart of Orange County.

As the clock ticked away on my short test drive, I managed to take out one of the twin-turbo GX onto the mean streets of Newport Beach. After a good ripping up and down State Route 55, I couldn’t help but crack a small smile. The new GX 550 Overtrail is fun to drive, admittedly versatile, and looks frickin’ sweet. After a solid hour-and-a-half stint, here are my top three takeaways:


Another truck has bid farewell to its naturally aspirated V8 powerplant. While the first-gen GX ran stoutly for over a decade with a 4.6L V8 that made 301hp and 329 lb-ft of torque, the GX 550 welcomes a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6 (V35A-FTS) that’s being adopted across the Toyota/Lexus board with rigs like Tundra and LX 600. Having some seat time under my belt in the Turn 14 Distribution Tundra TRD Pro, I know a thing or two about how potent this boosted six-cylinder can be. The GX is rated at 349hp and a whopping 479 lb-ft of torque. I felt very satisfied as I floored the gas pedal on the freeway onramp and passed Priuses like they were sitting still.

The GX isn’t sluggish, which many critics might assume from its big, boxy looks, and it’s honestly quite smooth and gratifying to drive around town. The V6 is mated up with a 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters, which takes forever to shift, but for a body-on-frame SUV that goes 0-60mph in under 6.5 seconds, gotta give credit where credit is due.


I’ve always liked the boxy figure of old Land Cruisers, Defenders, and G-Wagens. The squarish body provides better 4×4 capabilities like higher ground clearance and bigger tire fitments. They unquestionably look tougher than any other SUV on the road.

In recent years, truck manufacturers have adopted the retro design language, and the GX is the next model to follow; however, I must say, the designers nailed it with the Overtrail! It carries the right amount of toughness with modern Lexus elements, such as the front spindle grille, triple-beam LED headlights, and swanky rear light bar. The Overtrail features a wider track width than the other GX trim levels, sporting black-accented fender flares, a bulkier roof rack, and a two-tone paint job. Completing the rugged theme are 33” all-terrain tires and 18” matte grey wheels.


I’d like to assume 95% of interested GX Overtrail buyers won’t be in a hurry to go wheelin’ in Moab. Not to say there won’t be a good number of owners getting dirty in their backyard trails, but let’s face it: SUVs like the GX 550 tend to live between Starbucks, Orangetheory, and Whole Foods. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean the full-time 4WD SUV is a weenie—far from it. The Overtrail and Overtrail+ grades are the most well-equipped to handle big-boy adventures. I mentioned earlier about the tires, but the rig comes standard with Torsen limited-slip locking center differential to provide more control and grip in sticky situations. The Overtrail takes things a step further with an electronically controlled locking rear diff when the wheels need help turning at the same speed. It also comes with a front and rear sway bar disconnect for those spots where you need more suspension travel and traction. Add in the advanced Crawl Control technology, and there’s basically no terrain or obstacle the GX 550 Overtrail can overcome that doesn’t exceed 8.9” of ground clearance, and a 26° approach, 24° breakover, or 21° departure angle.

Is this all overkill? For the family of four who picked up the GX as a means to pick up the kids and maybe go on the occasional road trip to grandma’s house, it most definitely is. For the affluent guy or girl who appreciates the finer things in life but also rides, hikes, camps, and explores, the GX 550 Overtrail fits the bill. With a starting price of $69,250, the GX Overtrail is no cheap proposition, but you get one of the sleekest and most well-equipped trucks on the market today that offers the best of both worlds.