2023 Lexus TX: Softer 3-Row SUV Coming

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There are two types of 3-row SUVs on the market, and Lexus builds the one you’d least expect.

Some are truck-based vehicles with real off-road skills and towing capacity. Others are built on car frames, aimed at pure luxury, and meant to venture off the asphalt rarely.

Lexus enjoys a reputation for sumptuous luxury vehicles with supple rides and perhaps the best sound insulation in the business. Luxury car shoppers know that a BMW will generally out-corner a Lexus, but a Lexus will cocoon you from traffic in your own isolated world.

So you’d think, if Lexus built just one kind of 8-seater, it would be a car-based unibody model. But Lexus dealers have two main 3-row SUVs to offer, and both are the less-refined, truck-based models.

Missing a Big Crossover

One is the rugged 2022 LX. It’s built on the bones of the Toyota Land Cruiser – a vehicle with a global reputation as an off-roader that lasts decades in harsh conditions. Toyota actually pulled the latest Land Cruiser from the U.S. market for 2022, confident that the LX can fill its hiking boots.

The other is the 2022 GX, built on the Toyota 4Runner‘s platform. That means it has a global reputation as an off-roader that lasts… you see where this is going.

Buyers of the midsize RX have the option of a third row of seating with a long-wheelbase model, but our test driver found it just “OK for small kids” and too tight a squeeze for anyone larger.

That leaves many buyers looking for a luxurious 3-row crossover with car-like handling shopping rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLS and BMW X7. Those sit on car-style unibody frames.

Lexus, it seems, has realized its mistake.

It’s Coming Soon, With a Hybrid Option and Semi-Automated Driving

In about 18 months, Lexus will bring a unibody 3-row SUV to America, according to trade publication Automotive News. Called the Lexus TX (not the Lexus Texas, though you know that will catch on), it will use a stretched version of the platform beneath the Toyota Highlander and Lexus’s best-seller, the 2-row RX SUV.

The TX will reportedly be built in Indiana and offer a hybrid powertrain option. Toyota’s Indiana plant is in the midst of an $800 million makeover. When it’s done, the company says, the plant will build 3-row SUVs with “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 has yet to reveal pricing or even formally announce the vehicle, but rest assured we’ll bring more details as soon as we have them

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