When we drove the 2018 Lexus RX 350L for the first time, we called it “generally a far superior vehicle to the GX,” but also a “seemingly quick-and-dirty solution” to address the chasm in the Lexus lineup: Lack of a large, three-row SUV on a unibody chassis to counter competition like the Mercedes-Benz GLS and BMW X7. Lexus die-hards were asked to accept the compromises of the silken RX L or parachute into the truckish LX (because the GX is shorter than the RX L). Automotive News reports there’s a patch coming. Sources told the outlet a model called the Lexus TX will put three-row seating for adults on a unibody architecture, debuting about six months after the three-row Toyota Grand Highlander that’s expected in the middle of 2023. Bolstering that report, Toyota applied to trademark the TX name in 2009, then suspected to be a Mercedes-Benz GLK fighter below the Lexus RX. Toyota followed that up with applications for TX 350 and TX 500h in 2020.
The Grand Highlander is the key piece, the TX being Lexus’ version of the Toyota. We don’t know how much length either vehicle will bring to showroom floors. The 2022 Highlander is 194.9 inches long, the RX 350L stretches two inches beyond that to 196.9 inches. The 2022 Toyota Sequoia is 205.1 inches long, nearly five inches longer than the 2022 Lexus LX. That gives Toyota a hair over eight inches to play with — comparing the RX L with the Sequoia, and assuming the all-new 2023 Sequoia doesn’t break the measuring tape — if it doesn’t want to present the Grand Highlander as merely a unibody Sequoia.
Both new three-row models will be built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, in the process of an $803 million makeover “in preparation to introduce two all-new, three-row SUVs.” When the automaker announced the investment in the Princeton, IN facility, it said both models would offer seating for up to eight people, hybrid powertrains, “a semi-automated driving system — which will allow for hands-free driving in certain conditions — a remote parking system allowing the driver to park and unpark from outside the vehicle using a smartphone, and a digital key that turns a user’s smartphone into their key and allows them to share it digitally.”
Lexus dealers no doubt have their calendars circled. The chairman of the brand’s National Dealer Advisory Council told AN the TX “can’t come fast enough.”