New Lexus SUVs: GX for Show, TX for Dough?
The 2024 TX is Lexus’ all-new 3-row unibody SUV, while the redesigned GX moves to Toyota’s GA-F body-on-frame architecture.
Normally, automakers launch models one at a time. It generally ensures media, dealer and fan focus. Introducing more than one comes with the risk of one model getting more attention. That’s what faced Toyota’s luxury arm when it introduced the all-new, three-row 2024 Lexus TX and the long-awaited redesign of the overlanding Lexus GX, also a ’24 model.
Both were met with enthusiasm at a reveal in Austin, Texas, over what Lexus is calling the new “unified spindle,” an evolution of the spindle grille that has been divisive since it appeared on the 2012 GS sedan. The new version is a series of simple horizontal bars in the same pyramid shape. Because these bars tend to be body-colored, it does unify the pieces of the vehicle when viewing the front. In a nifty trick, engineers have figured out how to include ADAS sensors in the grille without having asymmetrical blocks interrupt the bars.
Dealers and more mainstream customers will be most interested in the TX, as Lexus Group Vice President Dejuan Ross said they’ve been clamoring for a new three-row SUV. And there’s good reason: 70% of all full-size SUVs sold in America have a third row. For midsize SUVs, the number jumped from 6% to 10% from 2016 to 2022, according to J.D. Power.
Powertrain options include one ICE-only setup and two electrified propulsion systems:
- The TX 350, in FWD or AWD, is powered by the 2.4-L inline-4 turbo that has for a few years powered versions of the RX and NX. It produces 275 hp (205 kW) and 317 lb-ft (430 Nm) while returning an estimated combined 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km) with its standard 8-speed automatic transmission.
- The TX 500h (Direct4 AWD only) is driven by a 2.4-L parallel hybrid setup, badged as F Sport Performance, that generates 366 hp (273 kW) and 409 lb-ft (555 Nm) driving through a 6-speed automatic. It gets 24 mpg (9.8 L/100 km) combined. The system debuted with the 2023 RX. Lexus says Direct4 enables instant electric control of all four wheels, guided by driving conditions and driver input. The system also has Lexus’ version of four-wheel steering for better cornering response at higher speeds by turning the rears in the same direction as the front wheels and enhances maneuverability at lower speeds by turning the rears in the opposite direction.
- Coming later will be the TX550h+ (Direct4 AWD only), a plug-in hybrid with a rated EV range of 33 miles (53 km) before its 3.5-L V6 kicks in for the lion’s share of the work, getting an estimated 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) combined while producing 406 hp (550 Nm) and an undisclosed system torque. Engine power is channeled through a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Underpinning the 2024 TX is the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) GA-K platform that already hosts the ES, RX, NX and LM. Improvements made to support the three-row SUV mission include aggressive use of welds and adhesives to increase the TX’s body stiffness and to minimize NVH. Steering-system components also were strengthened and a multilink rear setup now joins the air suspension.
Lexus’ Safety System+ 3.0 is standard on all four trim levels, which are standard, premium, luxury and F-Sport Performance. It includes pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, radar adaptive cruise control, lane-trace assist, lane-departure alert with steering assist, road sign assist and proactive driving assist.
On the interior, the TX offers the driver a standard 12.3-inch (310-mm) multi-information display and a 14-inch (355-mm) touchscreen for the infotainment and system controls. Multiple lighting options to accent the doors and interior trim are available, as is a head-up display. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. The sound system uses 21 speakers.
The TX becomes Lexus’ largest SUV, with an overall length of 203 inches/5156 mm (the LX is 200 inches), width of 78.3 inches (1989 mm) and height of 70.1 inches (1781 mm). The wheelbase is 116 inches (2946 mm). Because of that large exterior, there is plenty of room in the TX, even for passengers in the rear. With that third row in use, the TX can still fit seven carry-on suitcases in the back. That space jumps to 57.4 cubic feet when the third row is folded, and 97 cubic feet with both rows folded.
Lexus’ said the TX interior sound levels are reduced with door and roof mastic seals and heavy use of sound-deadening material under the floor, including the cargo area. The latter is an effort to eliminate audible vibration in the rear seats.
The 2024 TX 350 and 500h go on sale this fall, Ross said. The 550h+ will begin production later. Toyota’s 3-row Grand Highlander, introduced in 2023, starts at about $45,000, so pricing the luxury TX could be tricky. Lexus said prices will be announced closer to the on-sale date.
GX 550: More capable overlander
While the TX may capture the attention of dealers and the Lexus faithful that have long waited for the utility of a three-row SUV, it was the aggressively styled and overtly offroad-ready 2024 Lexus GX – that caught the attention of photographers and automotive media who assembled in Austin for the reveal.
The first-word one thinks of when seeing the redesigned 2024 GX is “boxy.” But whereas competitors like the Land Rover Discovery have more slab-like surfaces, the GX features sculpting that looks modern. The overall design accentuates the width of the model, which is up by 3.7 inches (9.5 cm) on all but the new, top Overtrail trim level, which is 4.5 inches (11.4 cm) wider. The headlights, triple-beam LEDs, are more highly placed to avoid damage. The overall length has increased by 2.75 inches (64 mm). The greenhouse has a bigger view all around due to an A-pillar that has been moved rearward and a lower beltline.
Two powertrains are available for the GX: When the GX 550 variant goes on sale, it will have a 3.4L twin-turbo V6 mated to a 10-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission. Lexus says it will generate 349 hp (260 kW) and 479 lb-ft (649 Nm). That horsepower is a 17% improvement over the 4.6L V8 in the 2023 GX. There is a “but,” however: The new turbocharged V6 gains only 1 mpg to 17 mpg combined compared to the V8. The 2024 GX can tow 8,000 lb. (3,628 kg) in Premium, Premium+ and Overtrail trim levels with a standard hitch. The Luxury and Luxury+ trim levels will be rated for 6,990 lb. (3,170 kg). Eventually, the 2024 GX will have an optional hybrid engine, for which power ratings are not yet available.
The GX 550 rides on the GA-F platform that hosts Toyota’s body-on-frame vehicles such as the Land Cruiser, Sequoia, pickups and the LX. A new double-wishbone suspension in front is paired with a multilink rear suspension to balance off-road agility and on-road comfort. Adaptive damping is optional.
Inside, the GX comes with a 10-speaker sound system, and a 21-speaker system is optional. Other options include digital key, cool box, head-up display (HUD) and traffic jam assist. The GX comes standard with same safety system as on the TX.
The Overtrail package comes from Lexus’ Overtrail Project, which it says will eventually become a line of accessory products, gear, and even experiences, perhaps like the ubiquitous offroad events for which Jeep is renowned. GX Overtrail models include available two-color paint, 33-inch (84 cm) tires on 18-inch (46 cm) blackout wheels, black fender flares and an aluminum skid plate. Inside, the front seats get a power cushion extender for off-road comfort. Off-road-oriented electronics include multiple terrain modes, crawl control, downhill assist control and 3D Multi-Terrain Monitor, which was shown in a video helping a driver navigate narrow offroad paths. Overtrail models also have an electronic locking differential and what Lexus is calling Electronic-Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System for better wheel articulation.
Even non-Overtrail GX models have undergone changes to make them more off-road friendly. Engineers said body rigidity was increased using structural adhesive, while an array of short-pitch spot welds and even extra bolsters at the front of the engine compartment further resist torsional bending.
The redesign of the GX is aimed at cutting into sales of off-road luxury SUVs such as the Land Rover Discovery. So far, though the Discovery’s powertrains are efficient, they’ll fall short of the base engine in the GX. And though Lexus did not provide cargo-area figures, it seems that with its packaging and new Overtrail abilities, the GX will be competitive with other established luxury offroaders.
Perhaps as an indicator of the market’s ongoing interest in all things “offroad,” following the GX’s launch, Google was seeing five times as many searches for the GX as the TX. And even a week later, GX interest still was dominating with a 3-1 ratio.