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Off-roading with pals is the best kind of off-roading.

Car: 2021 Lexus GX 460, Subaru Forester
Location: Hungry Valley OHV Park, Gorman, CA
Photog: Peter Nelson (Instagram + Twitter: @16vPete)
Camera: Canon 6D + EF 50mm 1.8II AF

Recently, I had the opportunity to play around with a 2021 Lexus GX 460 at Hungry Valley OHV Park in beautiful Gorman, CA. The plan was to scoop up some friends en route from my home in Long Beach, fill its cavernous 6-passenger (including driver) interior, and go get into some rascality all day long.

Though my friend mentioned he’d like to bring his Subaru Forrester along, too. He’d done some trails in it and had nice Falken Wild Peak ATs on its OEM wheels. When in Rome, right?

The GX, a.k.a. the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado in other markets, was made for this kind of stuff. Lexus/Toyota has barely changed this generation GX since it debuted, and for good reason. It’s a well-built, sturdy, body-on-frame truck that can crawl up and over all kinds of stuff, and stay nice n’ cool the entire time. Both under the hood and in its comfy interior.

I’m sure one of the engineering requirements was to be able to mob down sandy, two-lane highways in the UAE, in the middle of Summer, with the air conditioning cranked, and not have the water temperature ever go past halfway on the gauge. No matter what I was doing -crawling up a brutal incline, shuffling down a gnarly descent, mobbing over loose gravel and sand- the thing was a cool, comfortable beast. Ambient temperatures hovered around 95 degrees all day, too.

The Subaru was generally right on my bumper the entire time. Well, not too close; if I were to over-estimate the GX’s capability and topple over down a hill, my buddy wouldn’t want to be right in my path. Also, the more brutal grades that the GX’s 4-Low and locking center differential were meant for, were off-limits to the Subie.

But otherwise, the Subie was a total champ. I don’t think he experienced any overheating of any kind, either. Anyone in the know about the GX wouldn’t find my experience terribly impressive, though the Forrester is another story.

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