Lexus is growing its model lineup again with a new 3-row crossover SUV aimed directly at families that actually need that back row on a regular basis. If this all sounds vaguely familiar in the broader Toyota ecosystem, it’s because the TX is essentially a more upscale version of the new Grand Highlander we recently drove. There is of course more to creating the Lexus TX than just slapping on a new grille and badges, there is also a unique powertrain option.
In profile, the TX looks very much like it’s Toyota sibling with the main differences being at the front, rear and the D-pillar. Up front, the TX continues the trend started on the RX of deemphasizing the spindle grille. While the RX had the top portion of the spindle finished in body color, leaving a contrasting trapezoid below the pinch, the TX carries this almost all the way down. The result is five horizontal slats leaving an echo of the spindle and a black lower grille area.
At the rear, the TX gets a full-width taillamp assembly with the outer portions angled up and an echoing black bumper area that is surrounded by body color. The sheet metal on the sides looks virtually identical to the Grand Highlander and any differences are trivial enough to be irrelevant. The most notable change for the Lexus is the chrome trim along the top edge of the side glass running to the rear edge and the black painted D-pillar that provides a family resemblance to the RX’s floating roof.
Aside from the 1.6-inches of added overall length, all other external dimensions are identical to the Grand Highlander including the 116.1-inch wheelbase and 70.1-inch height. The interior dimensions also effectively carry over with 20,1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row that can accommodate 7 standard carry-on bags.
While the cabin surfaces are all-new and distinct from the Toyota, the important parts are similar. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is common, but the infotainment touchscreen is a slightly larger 14-inch unit. Since the interior layout has the same dimensions, that means the TX has a genuinely usable third-row seat that can accommodate typical adults without any contortions. Since this is a Lexus, it gets the Lexus Driving Signature that provides further noise isolation for a more serene drive than the Toyota. There should be plenty of storage space, cup holders and at least seven USB-C ports to keep devices powered up.
Like the Grand Highlander, the TX gets three powertrain options, but only two are common. The increasingly ubiquitous 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine is standard with 275-hp, 317 lb-ft of torque and an eight-speed automatic transmission with either front or all wheel drive on the TX350.
Lexus isn’t using the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter e-CVT hybrid on the TX, but the 2.4-liter turbo and six-speed automatic hybrid is offered, sans the Hybrid Max branding that the Toyota brand uses. Like the RX500h, Lexus refers to this as having Direct4 all-wheel-drive. While we questioned the lack of a plug-in hybrid option on the Grand Highlander, the TX will not leave us wanting. The TX550h+ will offer a PHEV that pairs a 3.5-liter V6 with an e-CVT hybrid, all-wheel-drive and a larger battery with a plug. The battery size is unknown, but Lexus is projecting an electric range of 33 miles so it will likely be somewhere around 20-kWh. At 406-hp, the TX550h+ is the most powerful member of the TX lineup.
The TX350 and TX500h are planned to go on sale in fall 2023 with the TX550h+ arriving some time later, likely in mid-2024. It will be assembled at Toyota’s Princeton, Indiana plant alongside the Grand Highlander and Sienna. No pricing is available yet, but based on the Grand Highlander, it will probably start in the mid-$50,000 range and extend up to somewhere around $80,000 for the PHEV.
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