We got our shiny CPO 2015 Lexus GX 460 home and immediately got to work looking at modifications. The stock Bridgestone Dueler highway tires, while great for ride comfort, were simply not the ticket for going very far off the beaten path. We quickly decided on picking out newer and more capable Lexus GX 460 tires.
With any new tire purchase, you’re always making a trade-off in tire wear or tread life, weight ratings, weight of the tire, noise and comfort, and performance in different weather conditions. Traditionally, aggressive all-terrain tires meant that what you gained in off-road performance, you lost in ride comfort and longevity. The good news is modern tire design and compounds have minimized the old seesaw between performance and comfort. There are a half-dozen or more solid all-terrain tire choices that are now equally as comfortable as many highway tires.
Abbreviated as HT, highway tires are optimized for the comfort: They tend to be quiet, last a long time, have good heat resistance, and deliver a more car-like ride for SUVs. Many of these elements are now mixed into tires like the Falken Wildpeak AT3w, Bridgestone K02, Nitto Terragrappler G2, and General Grabber X3. It seems like every year a major manufacturer launches an updated and more capable tire. Some (like Nitto) are offering what they call hybrid terrains that fall between an all-terrain and a more aggressive mud- or rock-crawling tire. These have a slightly more aggressive tread than an all-terrain.
After a fair amount of research, we opted for the Falken Wildpeak AT3w—popular in the Toyota and Lexus community. After over 45,000 miles of driving, we are still happy with this choice. The price at the time was around $160 a tire, which was very reasonable. Also, the positive reviews were streaming in from others on popular online groups like GX Off-Road (GXOR). We also opted for a every so slightly taller tire, going to a 265/65/R18 tire vs. the stock 265/60/R18. This is widely agreed to be the largest size you can fit in the spare tire well under the rear of the GX 460 (your luck may vary based on hitch size). This size also does not rub or have any issues fitting in the wheel wells. Important note: you should match the spare tire size to the other four tires on a GX.
Going taller gives us around half an inch of additional ground clearance and really sets the GX apart visually. It looks like a proper off-road vehicle. The added traction in sand, deep snow, and dirt is noticeable. At points in deep sand dunes at Michigan’s Silver Lake Sand Dunes State Park (a massive off-road recreation area), the GX could climb its way out of situations that would bog most other vehicles. Throw in the GX’s locking center differential and ATRAC system, we were nearly unstoppable.
Lexus GX 460 tires weren’t hard to pick, but there is always a trade-off on any vehicle modification. We have noticed our overall fuel economy dropped about 1/2 to 1 mpg across the board. The GX also got slightly louder on the highway, but considering how quiet it was to begin with, interior noise didn’t change much. We’d say its a 5-10% increase in road noise, particularly on broken surfaces (ie. all of Michigan). Lastly, we haven’t noticed much change in overall ride comfort or performance. The taller sidewall gives a little more insulation, but this is barely noticeable in normal driving.
Overall, we think this is the most important and impactful modification we’ve done to our 2015 Lexus GX 460. It has given us confidence to go more places and makes the truck look better too.
This is the second installment of our multipart Lexus GX 460 series, check out part 1 here.