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GX-470 Family Adventure and Ski Transport (F.A.S.T.)

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GX-470 for Family Adventure & Ski / snowboard transport | TCT Magazine January 2014download_nowIf you've read many articles of mine in the past, or have followed FJC magazine at all, you know what a fan of the FJ I truly am. I love the fact that it really is multi use, and you can take it to the mountains and drive it to work the next day.
Unless you have a 3year old & an infant to haul to the mountains.

When we found out our baby girl was on the way, we knew we would need a new more family friendly SUV for our weekly trips to the slopes. The search was short lived when we found a low mileage '07 GX470 w/KDSS on Christmas Eve 2012.
The GX, for those who haven't had the pleasure, is basically a Lexus badged version of the Land Cruiser Prado that's available overseas. What's more, the GX is built on the 120 platform which means that many mechanicals are shared with the FJC as well as the 4th gen 4Runner. Needless to say, it’s a great vehicle.

The deal when we bought the GX was that I couldn't modify it for a year. A hard bargain to be sure, but a promise is a promise. Luckily our fall Ouray trip included a snow run which reinforced a few ideas I’ve had about minor modifications. Our family ski hauler had to be safe, easy to clean, and efficient with gear. Changes were in order.

GX-470 with General Grabber AT2 Tires | TCT Magazine January 2014

While we love our Nitto Trail grapplers on the FJ, for the GX we needed a great A/T with excellent on-road and snow manners. Our research pointed to the General Grabber AT2, and when we realized that's what Expedition Overland was running for their Alaska/Yukon trip, it was a no brainer. We got in touch with General & sourced five LT265/70R17 AT2 tires. This size is a +1 over the OEM 265/65, but they fit well with the stock suspension and give the GX a ‘more acceptable’ look.

For now, carrying skis & snowboards is easy using the Thule rack we've had for years. It easily holds my board & Angie's skis, while Brenden's skis ride in the back. The Thule attaches to the OEM rack with just enough room to still fit in the garage, but when we lift the GX we may need to find another solution. Of course our Maxtrax always ride the GX when we head to the mountains as well. <<THULE Rack.jpg>>
Since the GX has significantly more room than the FJ as well as 4 full doors, our family of 4 fits comfortably for the 2-3 hour drive to Breckenridge. We a Britax seat protector on the driver’s seat to keep small boots from ruining the leather and always have plenty of wet wipes on hand to clean up spills.GX-470 with a Thule ski & snowboard rack | TCT Magazine January 2014

The GX arrived from the dealer with basic carpet mats that had seen better days. After searching high & low, we decided a set of Husky Liners would fit the bill, so we sourced a complete four piece set from Husky. These liners are specifically made for the GX-470, and the gray color fits our interior perfectly. The mats appear tough enough to handle anything we throw, drip, or spill on them, but only time will tell if they can withstand the Williams children and our many family adventures.Husky liners fit perfectly in the GX-470 From Lexus / snowboard transport | TCT Magazine January 2014

Of course we’re always planning future upgrades for the GX. The suspension is aging so we’re thinking of coilovers up front and eventually a coil replacement for the airbags in back. There are a few Prado-based skid plate options available, and we’ve been talking with a few manufacturers about the best way to create step/slider that’s family friendly. Beyond those basic upgrades, the GX is in great shape for our needs.

As a mid-size, 7 passenger, very capable family adventure hauler, I’m not sure you can do much better than the GX-470. Land Cruiser DNA, legendary Toyota/Lexus quality, and enough comfort to keep the entire family happy make this a near perfect choice. The fact that it shares many components with FJC’s & 4th Gen 4Runners means maintenance will be fairly straightforward in the long run, so we expect many years of F.A.S.T. use from this GX.

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General Grabber
Thule
Husky Liners

All Photos!

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