Update: ‘Fully digital instrument cluster’ and ‘Comfort features’ sub-section added to ‘Features’ and ‘RHD version’ section added.
In May 2022, Lexus introduced the fifth-gen RX. Currently, it is working on a successor to the ‘L’ version of fourth-gen RX. The new model could be called Lexus TX, and here’s what we know about the new Lexus SUV.
Reports indicate that the next-gen urban mid-size SUV from Lexus would be a separate product, not an RX extension. Toyota filed a trademark application for the name TX in 2009. Then, in 2020, it applied for ‘TX350’ and ‘TX500h’ trademarks, which indicated that it’s considering launching a model called TX in two variants with those names. On March 16, 2022, a new trademark application for another potential variant called TX550h+ further solidified the speculation, with the plug-in hybrid as the top-of-the-line model.
The trademark applications may not confirm, but they clearly indicate that the company plans to launch a TX three-row SUV in place of the RX L. It also looks like the North American Lexus TX units will roll out of a U.S. factory, not the Japanese plant in Kyushu that manufactures the RX L for the world.
Lexus TX vs. Lexus LX
There should be no dilemma when choosing between the Lexus TX and LX. The future model will have enough distinguishing features from the current top-of-the-line Lexus SUV, which underwent a full makeover in 2021, and is shipped to the U.S. from the Japanese factory.
Customers have been asking for a full-size Lexus SUV that’s plusher than the LX and with car-like manners for years now. The body-on-frame LX is not the ideal choice for people who want a vehicle to move their children around town or a status symbol for the elites being driven mainly downtown or to other urban areas with well-paved roads.
The Lexus TX is shaping up to be a more spacious and comfortable people-mover than the LX. With improved handling and easier maneuvering, thanks to its monocoque chassis, it looks like it will provide a more relaxing ride overall. Thanks to its local production and lack of top-flight off-roading hardware, the TX should be a more affordable option too. And by far the biggest advantage over the LX would be the higher gas mileage and quietness of the hybrid/plug-in hybrid system.
Local production would make the TX quicker to ship to U.S. dealers and give it greater supply stability compared to the LX. Soon after the launch, Lexus had stopped taking orders for the new LX in Japan due to overwhelming demand, and unprecedented supply chain issues. Such instances are less likely for the TX, as the U.S. market supply would be prioritized by the Indiana plant. What this means for customers is that the TX might not be as prone to shortages and dealer markups.
A car for the Gen Y American Family
On April 28, 2021, Toyota announced plans to make two all-new, three-row SUVs at the Princeton plant in the State of Indiana, USA, and that one of them would be a Lexus. Obviously, the company wasn’t talking about the new generation Lexus GX. It was clearly referring to a next-gen Lexus RX L or an RX L successor, stating that this will be a model “designed with the active Gen Y American Family in mind.”
Tim Hollander, VP – Manufacturing, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, said: “The two new products we’re going to introduce, the one Toyota product and the one Lexus product, will be electrified vehicles.” Lexus dealers have asked for a large three-row SUV positioned above the RX for years now, one that’s more appealing to American customers than the body-on-frame GX.
While Toyota has not confirmed, a report from Automotive News claims that the TX will be based on the Toyota Grand Highlander, the second three-row SUV allocated to the Princeton plant. Like the RX L, the Lexus TX should come in gasoline and hybrid variants. Toyota had confirmed a hybrid powertrain for the upcoming mid-size luxury SUV, saying that this model will “join a diverse, electrified portfolio” in the announcement in April 2021.
Design & Interior
Based on information obtained from Japan’s Mag-X, a Chasing Cars report claims the Lexus TX will measure 5,030 mm (198.0 in.) in length, 1,935 mm (76.2 in.) in width, and 1,725 mm (67.9 in.) in height. If the intel is accurate, the all-new three-row SUV will be 5.5 in. longer, 0.6 in. wider, and 0.6 in. taller than the fifth-gen RX. While Toyota has not released specifications of the Grand Highlander, American publications have reported it as being 201.4 inches long. It is safe to assume that the TX would be around 200 inches in length.
Toyota says the Grand Highlander’s third-row seats are so spacious that passengers will call dibs on them. The active family cruiser’s cargo space will be big enough to accommodate seven pieces of luggage. The Lexus TX should have similar levels of seating space in the third row and cargo space. Like the new Toyota three-row SUV, the new Lexus three-row SUV, which will also have up to eight seats, should come with mobile charging ports, grab handles, cup holders, and an armrest for the third-row occupants.
Grand Highlander-like shape
Lexus has released no information about the design of the upcoming three-row SUV. However, Mag-X published an alleged spy shot of the future SUV’s profile in its recent issue, which you can find on Carsensor. The TX will have a less jagged styling than the RX L, focusing on space and practicality with boxy sides.
Our rendering above provides a view of the possible design of the Lexus TX. The side profile, save for the wheels, will likely stay identical to the Toyota Grand Highlander. Minimal sheet metal changes would keep production costs low and prices competitive. At the front, the headlight graphics are a bit different from what you see on the Lexus RX. Overall, the TX should look more mature and practical instead of sporty and dynamic like the smaller RX.
Digital key & semi-automated driving system
The Lexus TX should feature an interior design that communicates a premium positioning compared to the RX, and feature more space. It will likely sit on the TNGA-K platform or simply ‘GA-K’ at Lexus, leading to a stiffer unibody structure, smoother and quieter ride, lower center of gravity, and many other improvements over the current SUV. As for the features, Toyota’s press announcement said that “customers can expect a semi-automated driving system” that allows the driver to park and unpark the SUV from outside and a digital key that owners can share with other people.
Lexus Interface multimedia system
The Lexus TX would borrow the North American-developed Lexus Interface infotainment system from the RX. Lower-end configurations may come with a 9.8-inch touchscreen display and higher-end configurations will likely feature a 14-inch HD touchscreen display.
Hey Lexus voice assistant, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Apple Music and Amazon Music streaming, dual-Bluetooth pairing, cloud navigation, and OTA updates are some of the key features of the Lexus Interface infotainment system. Plus, there are plenty of connected vehicle solutions, including remote vehicle start.
Fully digital instrument cluster
While the Lexus RX has a 7.0-inch multi-information display, the Lexus TX may feature a 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster. Configurations specified with an electrified powertrain may include a built-in energy monitor as well. We’d love to see Lexus offer customizable layouts like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz do, but we don’t have high hopes.
Lexus will likely offer a 7-seat option with captain’s chairs in the second row. The individual second-row seats should include heating and ventilation functions. The 8-seat version may have heated and ventilated outboard rear seats in the second row. A three-zone automatic climate control system should allow second-row occupants to set a different temperature. A panoramic moonroof would let in plenty of natural light, making the cabin seem fresh and roomy.
The Lexus TX should get Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 as standard, and that would be a significant upgrade over the RX L’s Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 package. With enhanced radar and camera capabilities, the Pre-Collision System of the TX should additionally include Left Turn Vehicle Intersection Support, Right/Left Turn Oncoming Pedestrian Detection/Braking, and Front to Front Oncoming Car Detection.
Also available in the TX will likely be Enhanced All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control that can maintain a safe distance at a wider range of speeds—right down to a complete stop. Lexus says that it has an enhancement that allows overtaking smoothly. Plus, the latest version of the cruise control system includes an additional function – Curve Speed Management. Lastly, Lane Tracing Assist in the upcoming three-row SUV would be an enhanced version, with improved stability.
Proactive Driving Assist, Traffic Jam Assist, Panoramic View Monitor, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Digital Latch with Safe Exit Assist, Advanced Park, etc. will likely be other noteworthy safety features of the TX.
The Lexus TX may eventually be available in three variants: TX350, TX500h, and TX550h+. The TX350 could be the base variant that employs a conventional gasoline engine with zero electrification. The TX500h could be the hybrid variant slotted above it, and the TX550h+ could be the range-topping plug-in hybrid, offering sufficient pure-electric driving range to cover daily commutes.
The Lexus TX 500h should get Lexus’ new DIRECT4 hybrid powertrain along with a six-speed automatic transmission and a high-output bipolar nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Related to the Toyota Hybrid Max system, the new DIRECT4 powertrain combines the T24A-FTS 2.4-liter turbocharged engine with a front electric motor and a rear electric motor. In the 2023 RX 500h, this setup results in 366 horsepower and 406 lb.-ft. of torque.
TX Plug-in Hybrid
There’s no word on the specifications of the TX 550h+ except that it should be a plug-in hybrid, with enough range, thanks to a bigger battery, to complete most daily drives in ‘EV mode.’ If it follows the path of the NX 450+, it would employ a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine, and a rear transaxle that enables E-Four all-wheel drive, giving the SUV more stability. Regardless of the engine, this variant would have Lexus’ E-Four all-wheel drive system, which uses a motor placed at the rear to power the wheels.
Benefits of electrification in the Lexus TX
The TX will be larger than the fifth-generation RX. As it stands, a fully loaded Lexus RX 500h weighs 4,750 pounds. Even if the TX weighs around 5,000 pounds, a hybridized powertrain – like in the NX & RX – should add refinement and efficiency while meeting the performance expectations of buyers in the market for a three-row luxury SUV. With assistance from the electric motor, 0-60, overtaking, and tackling inclines would not be an issue even with a full load of occupants.
All but two models in Lexus’s current SUV line-up feature some form of electric assistance (with the GX reportedly getting a hybrid in the next generation), so the TX Hybrid and TX PHEV are logical future additions.
Shortly after the announcement in April 2021, Hollander said that Lexus awarding the Indiana plant a new SUV proves the brand’s confidence in the operations:
It’s really the pinnacle to be a Lexus plant. There’s very few Lexus plants outside of Japan. We’re very proud to be one of them now. And it’s really a big feather in our cap, and it is a testament to the workforce that we have here, it’s a testament to the support we get from the community, and it’s a big deal. And we can’t really emphasize that enough how big of a deal that it is. So, if you become a Lexus plant, you know that really sets you apart into the next level as a manufacturing company within the Toyota network in the Toyota world. So, it shows that TMC has a lot of faith in us, in our ability to achieve this level of quality that we must achieve to be a successful Lexus producer, and that we’re up for the challenge. We’re excited about it, and we’re gonna knock it out of the park!Tim Hollander, VP – Manufacturing, Toyota Motor Manufacturing
According to the report from Automotive News published on January 22, 2023, the Lexus TX will debut in the second half of 2023. Dealers are excited for the launch of the proper seven-seater SUV designed and developed mainly for American customers. The TX is a model “that is going to give the ride that that segment is looking for,” John Iacono, Chairman, Lexus National Dealer Advisory Council, said.
Hollander had suggested in April 2021 that sending the Toyota Grand Highlander and Lexus TX SUVs into production at the Princeton plant will take a while:
It is a very intense challenge, there will be major retooling throughout the entire operation, and we’ll have a close collaboration and partnership with our equipment manufacturers, our regional production engineering team and our team here, our engineering and maintenance team, and production team here to really bring this thing to life. It will take a couple of years to really get everything ready to go for the development of this product. It’s a huge undertaking and we’ll be spending a lot of weekends and shutdown time really getting the plant ready.Tim Hollander, VP – Manufacturing, Toyota Motor Manufacturing
With the launch of the Lexus TX, the brand would strengthen its presence in North America. This model would be a testament to Lexus’ continued efforts to offer tailor-made regional solutions. The TX should contain better margins than the RX L, which, along with greater demand, could make it a favorite with dealers.
Lexus President Koji Sato has said that the company will have more opportunities to satisfy the needs of customers in North America, Europe, and Asia independently in the future, as per a report from MotorTrend. Responding to the varied needs of different markets with tailor-made products could be an expensive but rewarding move.
A recent report from Chasing Cars indicates that Lexus Australia has attempted to convince the factory to make the Lexus TX available in right-hand drive, but has not been successful. This probably has something to do with the general expectation that most RHD markets would have limited appeal for the TX. Australia may not have enough demand alone, and New Zealand may not be able to contribute significantly. It may be too big and expensive for most other RHD markets Lexus is present in.
While the RX L is an extension of the RX to accommodate up to seven occupants, the TX would be a model conceived as a proper three-row SUV. In addition to being spacious and comfortable, the advanced electrification and new convenience technologies like a semi-automated driving system and a remote parking system will make the Japanese SUV feel convincing to family car buyers in the high-end market.
Lexus TX FAQs
What is the Lexus TX release date?
The Lexus TX three-row SUV, made in Princeton, Indiana, should be launched in the second half of 2023.
What will be Lexus TX price?
The base TX is projected to be priced around $60,000.
What will be the Lexus TX alternatives?
Lexus TX rivals would include the Acura MDX, Cadillac XT6, and the 2024 Volvo XC90.
Featured Image Source: TopElectricSUV.com’s exclusive rendering of the Lexus TX