How Much Has Off-Road Tech Improved Over 15 Years? We Compare An Old Land Rover To a New Lexus To Find Out

SUVs from the 1990s — the original Ford Bronco, the Jeep Cherokee XJ, Land Rover Discovery II and the like — are practically ancient in modern times, but it’s tough to imagine sometimes that models from the mid-2000s are getting on up there as well. Take our long-term 2006 Land Rover LR3, which is a direct successor to the Discovery II. It hails from a time when “old-school” body-on-frame SUVs were still fairly widespread, before unibody crossovers dominated the landscape. But how much have we moved on 15 years? In this video, Roman and Tommy take a look at a more modern SUV alongside the LR3 to find out.

Naturally, having nearly 15 years on the old Land Rover, the 2020 Lexus GX 460 has technology and comfort features on its side. Under the surface, though, the two SUVs do share a fair bit in the way of available technology. Both have a multi-terrain select system, both have adjustable suspension, and the Lexus GX 460 has a Crawl Control system in its off-road package.

Despite the age difference, both SUVs also have a similar power output. The 4.4-liter V-8 in the Land Rover LR3 produced 300 horsepower and 315 lb-ft of torque when it was new. The GX 460, whose current generation stems back to 2009, uses a 4.6-liter V-8 with 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque. Both cars use a six-speed automatic transmission.

Lexus GX 460: How Much Has Off-Road Tech Improved Over 15 Years? We Compare An Old Land Rover To a New Lexus To Find Out
You may not dream about taking a $70,000 Lexus GX 460 off-road, but it is based on the same platform as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado and the 4Runner. [Photo: Lexus]

How do they actually perform in real-world off-roading?

Of course, just looking at the numbers and comparing the tech on paper is purely academic. While these two are remarkably similar despite the 15-year age gap, it really comes down to how each vehicle uses what tech and equipment they have to hack it off-road

Along the way, both SUVs claw their way through the ice, trudge up muddy trails and plunge into a fair amount of water thanks to a large snowstorm that just rolled through our back yard. The $72,000 Lexus GX 460 has most of the same tech as the Land Rover, but it is substantially more expensive since it is 15 years newer. Find out how each one does in the video above!