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Lexus coy on GX launch

New-gen Prado-based GX large SUV in wings for Lexus but no commitment from Australia despite losing seven-seat RX wagon

18 May 2023

LEXUS Australia is poised to launch its new-generation large SUV, the GX, in Australia as early as the first half of 2024 as it fills a vital sales gap left by the departing seven-seat RX.


Officially, the company is coy about confirming the GX. It did, however, say the segment – a large SUV with seven seats, strong tow rating, large cargo area and luxurious features – presented opportunities.


Previous generations of the GX, based on the Toyota LandCruiser Prado but with different chassis and drivetrain specifications, have previously only been available as a left-hand drive for the North American and Middle East markets.


But in its new generation model, the full-frame GX will be offered for the first time in right-hand drive, making it a plausible addition to Lexus in Australia. 


Speaking at the launch of the RZ – the brand’s second battery-electric vehicle – in Adelaide this week, Lexus Australia CEO John Pappas would not commit to confirming the GX’s addition to the Australian line-up.


But he admitted that a vehicle such as the GX would give Lexus an opportunity to enter the large seven-seat SUV sector, which would improve its market position.


Lexus Australia is understood to be looking at building market share and has access to new products from Japan.


A seven-seat SUV is one of the products considered desirable for Australia to boost market share and attract a broader audience.


The RX L, which had an extended body allowing a third row of ‘casual’ seats to be added, is no longer available.


A GX variant also pitches Lexus closer to the European prestige SUV suppliers Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, putting its spindle grille hard up against the rabbit’s teeth facade of the BMW X5.


The GX is available in LHD markets with a 4.6-litre petrol V8 but in its third-gen variant, which is believed to be the one selected for RHD and an Australian debut, is more likely to come with a derivative of the LandCruiser 300’s turbo V6 petrol engine.


It is unlikely to be offered with a diesel engine – the only Lexus to have ever been offered in Australia as a diesel was during the last few years of the previous-generation LX upper large SUV – and instead, use the V6 petrol as a basis for hybrid variants.


The GX would sit below the flagship LX and TX – a Kluger-based monocoque SUV that is not expected to be produced in RHD.


Lexus has released only teaser images of parts of the next-gen GX. Although it is based on the Prado, the bodywork is expected to be unique and follow the path of the RZ BEV with a more subtle spindle-grille design and more athletic and angular body panel designs.


It is likely to go into production later this year and beat its new-generation Toyota sibling, the Prado, to the market. It could even beat the Prado the Australian market.


Rumours of the GX have not been confirmed by Lexus but at the same time as these circulated, Lexus Australia said it was planning to launch the LM people mover in this country.

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