Lexus GX 550 Luggage Test: How much fits in the cargo area?

"Third-row space is actually decent ... Cargo space behind it, however, is LOL. The specs say 10.3 cubic feet, but that's almost entirely vertical space. If any of the six bags from my luggage tests fit behind the third row, I’d be shocked."

Well James of this January, it's time to see if you'll be shocked. That's what I wrote in the 2024 Lexus GX First Drive Review concerning the amount of cargo capacity behind the third row. Seriously, I struggled to think of anything smaller than that in terms of cargo area length. As such, it was with great anticipation when the GX arrived in my driveway. The bags were already standing by. I was surely going to be getting a new worst performer; stand by Mercedes EQS SUV to emerge from the basement!

See what I mean? If this isn't "the cargo area behind the third row" definition of "laughable" I don't know what is. I couldn't even fit my Thule computer backpack behind here during the first drive (not among the standard luggage test items)

Let's get to the bags, though. Ha, as if they'll fit.

As with every Luggage Test, I use two midsize roller suitcases that would need to be checked in at the airport (26 inches long, 16 wide, 11 deep), two black roll-aboard suitcases that just barely fit in the overhead (24L x 15W x 10D), and one smaller green roll-aboard that fits easily (23L x 15W x 10D). I also include my wife's fancy overnight bag just to spruce things up a bit (21L x 12W x 12D).


You're right, the third-row is totally down here. That's because those two black bags fit behind the third row, a fact so surprising that I completely forgot to take a picture as evidence. I literally just opened up the pics and yelled "I DIDN'T GET IT!?!" My dog ran away.

Anyway, this is what happened.

I first just put the green bag in there. It sure didn't seem to fit as it was over the edge. I was certain the power liftgate was going to be stopped in its tracks by the bag, but I pressed the power close button anyway. Gotta check, you know. Good thing I did. It closed! I opened it up, expecting to see my bag compacted, but no, it was fine. I then tried one of the thicker black bags, and the liftgate managed to close on it. Then the second black bag. Closed.

WHAT? I still have no idea how the liftgate closes here without smashing everything, but the liftgate obviously does not encroach upon the carpeted area.

Now, to be clear, this is still not a great result. It's better the EQS and the Cadillac XT6 (also two bags, but smaller ones), plus the Kia Sorento. The Mitsubishi Outlander can somehow throw the fancy bag atop a black and green/blue bag. Everything else with three rows I've tested is equal to or much better.

OK, now as you can clearly see above, I also tested the GX 550 Premium+ with the third row down. The above picture shows how much I could fit if the cargo cover was closed. That would be everything but fancy bag.

Fancy bag fits if you don't pull the cargo cover closed, but keep it aboard. Obviously, this is not surprising for something with 40.2 cubic-feet of cargo space behind the second row.

Here is that space, by the way. One important thing to note here. This is what you get with the Premium and Luxury trim levels, as they have a third row. The Overtrail does not, thereby increasing cargo capacity to 45.6 cubic-feet. Lexus is studying whether it should offer a three-row Overtrail in the future, I'd argue that's a good thing. That difference is minimal. I think people are more likely to use the surprisingly useful third row, or at least one half of it, than an extra couple of inches of cargo area height.

Meanwhile, the Toyota Land Cruiser does not have a third row either, but it does have a hybrid battery that extends the floor upward. It has 37.5 cubic feet of space. We'll see in two weeks how that differs.

But for now, this is what the GX 550 Premium and Luxury look like with all the luggage test bags behind the second row.

Let's see how that compares with some others ...

I didn't do the same Tetris formation, but the GX volume does indeed look considerably greater than the Land Rover Defender 110 (34 cubic feet).

As such, we have a new segment luggage test leader!

True, the Lexus GX 550 Premium and Luxury are three-row vehicles and therefore belong at the bottom of the Luxury Three-Row SUV pile. However, again, the Overtrail does not have that third row and would therefore be in the Luxury Midsize SUV pile. The current leader in that pile is ... the Land Rover Defender 110! Not any more! I think it's safe to say that if the Premium holds more than the D110 over a third row, the Overtrail will hold the exact same amount (and obviously more) without that third row.

So, basically, if the EQS wasn't so stinking up the joint, the GX would simultaneously be a best- and worst-performing contender in the grand game of luggage tests. Congratulations!

Now, let's take a brief moment to talk about the liftgate. First of all, it's a liftgate, as opposed to the old GX, which had a swing gate. Some people might not like that, many more will like that. That's why Lexus made the change. One thing carried over, though.

Press the little button in the middle of a triangle on the left side of the back window, and the back window pops up! I never fully appreciated this feature until ...


... I plugged my Yakima StageTwo into the hitch, and all of a sudden I didn't need to angle/muscle down the rack when it was loaded with my jumbo e-bike in order to access the cargo area. I didn't need to lower the rack from its upright stowed position, either. Brilliant!

That'll be it for now, but there will be more. Besides the GX's standard hitch, you might also have noticed a little something extra on top of the GX. That would be an accessory roof rack. Both racks would very much be used after I wrapped up this luggage test, along with the cargo area for items not typically involved with luggage tests. In fact, only one of the bags came along. The story is coming in a few weeks, but here's a sneak peek in the meantime ...

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