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Seven-seat RX-L replacement on the horizon

Lexus won’t offer a seven-seat RX at launch, but a replacement may be here in 18 months

2 Feb 2023

LEXUS has just introduced its new RX SUV range to the Australian market without a seven-seat option to replace the previous-generation RX-L – but the Japanese luxury brand’s local arm has dropped a heavy hint that a three-row successor is in the works.


Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the new RX in Melbourne, Lexus Australia chief executive John Pappas said he was confident that Lexus would offer a replacement for the seven-seat RX in due course, but ruled out the rumoured TX model that is understood to share much with the upcoming Grand Highlander (a long-wheelbase Toyota Kluger).


“The TX (concept) that many of us have seen will only be offered as a left-hand drive – and there is no confirmation that I’m aware of that it will ever be offered as a right-hand drive,” he said.


“That is not in our planning right now. If it does become available, we’ll certainly look at it (for Australia), as we do with everything.”


However, another three-row model could come to the fore in the shape of a next-generation GX that in current form is a luxurious version of the Toyota LandCruiser Prado, much like the LX is a Lexus take on the LandCruiser 300 Series.


“When we do look at expanding the line-up, I can say that we are looking at options in order to make sure that we can provide solutions for those buyers looking at a seven-seat solution, perhaps within the next 18 months or so,” revealed Mr Pappas.


This ties in with overseas reports that a new, hybrid-powered GX will begin rolling off production lines in the first half of 2024 after its Prado equivalent breaks cover later this year.


“Even though I can’t say anything today, I can say that there are some other things coming in that space,” said Mr Pappas.


For the short term, Lexus Australia will focus its sights on what the five-seat RX – which rivals the likes of the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE – can offer not only repeat buyers, but those new to the brand.


“With the new RX we are looking at bringing in new customers with the configuration that we’ve got. We’re trying to draw younger families to the brand,” explained Mr Pappas.


“The packaging and the engineering of this car means it’s offered in a configuration that doesn’t allow a seven-seat option.”


The US-built “TX” (naming not confirmed) three-row SUV is expected to be offered with hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, slotting between the RX and LX in the North American Lexus range.


Trademark applications in the United States suggest TX350 and TX550h variants will be available, with US publications stating the model is “designed with active Gen Y American families in mind”.


Based on information sourced from Japanese publication Mag-X, the TX is believed to measure 5030mm in length, 1935mm wide, and 1725mm high. If accurate, the model will be 140mm longer, 15mm wider and 15mm taller than the fifth generation RX.


Mr Pappas said that while locally Lexus was concerned some RX-L buyers would look to rivals when updating their premium seven-seat SUV, he was confident that the Lexus ownership experience was a drawcard most repeat buyers would prefer.


“It is possible (buyers will shop elsewhere), but we also have very high levels of customer loyalty at Lexus – and that is something we never take for granted,” Mr Pappas told GoAuto News.


“Once someone has owned a Lexus – and experienced that it’s not just about the exceptional product we offer, but the exceptional experience that we provide – we find that they look forward to us being able to meet, and exceed, their expectations going forward.


“And that is something that also helps us to attract new buyer to the brand. The benefits of our Encore program, for example, are something that just cannot be found elsewhere.”

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