Okay so we’ve had the GX for a few weeks now, have a little variety of roads under our belts and put plenty of fuel through it and I’ve come up with a few impressions.

Details - its a 2008 without KDSS. 114,900 miles California car with no rust and clean as a whistle inside and out. Paid more than I wanted especially given the brake work it needed as well as new tires, but it was just so clean.

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Pros:

1. The V8! Oh the V8. It sounds great (my wife doesn’t like that it “sounds like a boat”) and it hustles from any rev at any time at any elevation. You ask, it delivers. I hooked up my 3000 lbs tent trailer and it accelerated as fast or faster than the cruiser does with just me in it. I like this motor.

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2. The center diff is magic. Its a Torsen T3 with a rear bias and it never lets go. You can throw it into a corner where you know you will be lifting the inside wheel and the TCS doesn’t light up, there is no wheelspin...just power. its a little alarming how much steady state grip it can generate especially with the mass and these crappy dry rotted tires. Compared to the open with viscous coupler in the cruiser this is a major leap forward.

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3. The suspension - its mostly a pro. I like that it has a 70's cadillac mode for rough roads and I like that in full sport its actually pretty composed. I haven’t figured out many reasons the air suspension in the back is a benefit. The few I have are.

  • Towing a trailer - its automatically load leveling so it will always be the right spring rate and height, which is nice.
  • Adjusting a trailers departure angle, I can raise or lower the rear suspension about 2 inches in either direction which is great because that means I can raise the departure angle of the trailer if I need.
  • More truck departure angle. there isn’t much in it stock so being able to raise the rear up brings the departure angle to a point where its almost as good as the cruiser...which isn’t that great.

The low mode cuts out at 10 mph, the high mode at 22 mph and I can’t turn off the automatic leveling past 22 mph. So its not really all that useful. Neat I guess. The ride is lovely generally speaking.

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4. The mark Levenson Stereo is great. Crisp highs, strong mids and hard lows. It also has a tape deck for maximum hipster awesome. Yeah boiy

So well organized!

5. The build quality - I know Im a Toyota fan boy but I have been geeking out about the way this truck was built lately. Everytime I dig into the mechanicals or electrical systems I see evidence of thoughtful engineering, extremely well laid out components and a tidiness and attention to detail that is just amazing. I know its probably not the shining highlight in a car review but the wiring loom, the way its tied in, the electrical protections, the cleanliness of the layout has me geeking out big time. Truthfully speaking it makes my very well laid out cruiser look haphazard in comparison. Plus the fact that its still just as repairable with the same 12 piece metric socket set and screw drivers as all other Toyota trucks is amazing. Working on this truck is going to be a real pleasure.

A place for everything and everything in its place. Notice the not impossible to access fuel filter and the high quality fittings properly tied down.

Cons:

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1. The mileage - I mean really its not unexpected and it could be considered a pro given that its much better than my truck. We did a couple hundred mile trip recently and it averaged 18, mostly highway with an average speed of 70 (up to 80). That also included a little trail work and about a billion trips to the ACE hardware in town. On its best day it will never do half as good as the car its replacing on its worst day. Thats a bummer.

2. The throttle calibration is not to my liking - tiny dead spot, then a sharp ramp, then it becomes linear. It makes it difficult to step off smoothly and even trickier in low range.

3. Off-road. I know these can be amazing off road, but when I took it on some mild trails and drove it like I would my cruiser it got rocked. Its not the same animal. I guess I just got used to the wizard level off road ability of the 80. Not even ability, just composure. Bumps in the 80 are always linearly proportional. Hit a small bump, feel a small bump, hit a large bump, feel a large bump. In the GX its like the throttle - Hit a small bump, feel nothing, hit a large bump and smash your head on the b pilar. You definitely reap the benefits of IFS on the road, and off road you definitely feel the difference of ifs front solid axle out back. Its just not quite the same experience. It will be more than adequate for our needs.

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4. The suspension - The adjustable suspension is okay but its not quite there. In the softest 2 settings it feels oversprung and it bobs along way more than it should. In the firmer 2 settings its much better but you loose a little of that fine frequency damping. I find myself changing the dial a lot.

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5. Misc stuff - I don’t like the looks, I don’t like the rear door (though it certainly has its perks). The seats have some oddities like one one of the 8 seats has dual ISOFIX latches, the rest have one...why?

Overall, I think I am going to really like this car.