– Austin, Texas
The 2024 Lexus TX is here to right a wrong. Its predecessor, the RX L, arrived in 2018 after years of Lexus customers begging the brand to introduce a three-row crossover. Problem was, the RX L was poorly conceived and ultimately compromised; Lexus shoehorned a third row into a vehicle that was never intended to have one. The end result was an SUV with an inhospitable rear bench and miniscule cargo space. It also looked dumpy as hell – just saying.
Sharing the same basic architecture as the new Toyota Grand Highlander, the Lexus TX – which I absolutely did not call Lexus Texas during the media launch in Austin – was designed from the get-go to carry seven passengers and their belongings in comfort. It’s a better people-mover than the RX L ever was, and it’s got all the luxury and tech you’d expect from a Lexus, with a pair of electrified powertrain options, too.
|Quick Specs||2024 Lexus TX 500h F Sport Performance Luxury AWD|
|Engine||Turbocharged 2.4-Liter I4|
|Output||366 Horsepower / 406 Pound-Feet|
|Drive Type||All-Wheel Drive|
|Base Price||$53,700 + $1,350 Destination|
|On-Sale Date||Fall 2023|
Boxy Style With A Weird Face
The Grand Highlander resemblance is most obvious in the TX’s squared-off, slab-sided profile. Unlike the RX L, which tried (and failed) to retain a stylish form, the TX’s design is attractive and spacious, resulting in excellent headroom for passengers in all three rows. At 203.1 inches long and 78.3 inches wide, the TX is 6.2 inches longer and 3.7 inches wider than the RX L, and all of that length is found in the SUV’s wheelbase, making it directly responsible for increased legroom.
Cargo space is also vastly improved compared to the RX L; the TX’s 20.2 cubic feet of space behind the third row is a gain of 12.8 cubes. With the third row folded, the TX’s cargo hold swells to 54.7 cubic feet, and if you drop all the back seats, there’s 97.0 cubic feet of hauling space. That’s also more than what you get in an Acura MDX or Infiniti QX60 – the TX’s two main rivals.
On top of being spacious, the TX is also really nicely appointed. Then again, I’d expect nothing less from a Lexus; this company absolutely knows how to nail interiors. The overall fit and finish is superb, the leather surfaces are nice and soft, and the TX genuinely feels like it’ll be able to handle years of use and abuse as a family hauler, Uber Black runner, whatever. The one weird thing? Only the pure gas TX is offered with a second-row bench seat and seven-passenger seating. Go for one of the hybrids, and you’re locked in to captain’s chairs, reducing total seatbelts to six.
Every TX comes with a 14.0-inch center touchscreen running Lexus' latest multimedia software, and thank goodness the company doesn’t force you to use that awful trackpad or mouse-like controller anymore. The infotainment system’s menu structure has a relatively steep learning curve, but at least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connect wirelessly, which is always appreciated.
Turbo, Hybrid, And A Plug-In, Too
Lexus will sell the TX with three powertrain options, two of which are hybrids. The base offering is a 2.4-liter turbocharged I4 with 275 horsepower, 317 pound-feet of torque, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Called TX 350, this will be the volume sales leader, no doubt, and Lexus will pair it with either front- or all-wheel drive.
Lexus quotes a sluggish 8.0-second 0-to-60-mph time for the front-drive TX 350. But what the 2.4-liter engine lacks in outright punch it more than makes up for with smoothness, and considering the TX’s intended purpose, that’s a-okay by me. The transmission shifts imperceptibly and there’s enough torque to get you up and moving with adequate oomph.
What the 2.4-liter engine lacks in outright punch it more than makes up for with smoothness, and considering the TX’s intended purpose, that’s a-okay by me.
The TX 500h F Sport is the sweetheart of the lineup, as it pairs that 2.4-liter turbo engine with a small nickel-metal hydride battery and electric motor for a total output of 366 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. With standard all-wheel drive, the TX 500h scoots to 60 mph in a much more respectable 6.1 seconds, and its six-speed automatic transmission is a super-refined peach, even if it’s down a few cogs compared to other modern gearboxes. Lexus estimates the TX 500h will return 27 mpg combined, which bests the TX 350 by 4 mpg.
I’d love to tell you the plug-in hybrid TX 550h+ is even better, but honestly, this one impresses me the least. Sure, I like the refinement of the 3.5-liter V6 engine and the fact that this PHEV with its larger lithium-ion battery pack should give you 33 miles of all-electric range. But the 550h+’s continuously variable transmission is a real letdown in terms of refinement, and its 29-mpg combined rating isn’t a major improvement over the 500h. The 550h+ is also 408 pounds heavier than the 500h – a contributing factor to the PHEV’s 5.9-second 0-to-60 time, despite having 406 hp.
A Nice Drive Overall
On the two-lane highways of Texas hill country, the TX is… well, it’s fine. Remember, this isn’t supposed to be any kind of exciting driver’s car, and the fact that it’s unflappably comfortable at all times is definitely the TX’s best attribute. Does the body roll a bit in corners? Sure. But there’s very little in the way of wind or road noise, and the suspension is nicely tuned to filter out any pavement imperfections, even on 22-inch wheels.
The TX 500h is only available as an F Sport model, which is mostly a styling treatment. Lexus says the F Sport’s dampers have a slightly different tune than other TX models, but I couldn’t really tell after driving several examples back to back. I will say, however, that the TX 500h has nice steering – appreciably weighty while driving in Sport mode, even if the wheel is somewhat numb on center.
The 500h F Sport also has rear-axle steering that can turn the back wheels up to 4 degrees in either direction, depending on speed. This helps slightly with overall agility, though I won’t go so far as to describe the TX itself as spry or light-footed.
Lexus fits every TX with its Safety System+ 3.0 driver-assistance suite, giving customers goodies like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, pre-collision warning, and one of the most proactive lane-keeping assist functions I’ve ever used (which can easily be turned off through the multimedia screen). Unfortunately, Lexus doesn’t yet have any sort of advanced Level 2 hands-free driving system akin to Ford’s BlueCruise or General Motors’ Super Cruise.
Finally, A Proper Three-Row Lexus
All this comfy-cozy goodness starts at $55,050 for a front-wheel-drive TX 350, or $56,650 if you fancy all-wheel drive. The 500h F Sport starts at $69,350, and Lexus hasn’t released pricing for the TX 550h+ just yet. Both the Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60 undercut the Lexus by a few thousand dollars, but I doubt that’ll matter in the long run. Lexus has incredible brand loyalty and a strong dealership network.
The TX will only be sold in North America, and Lexus is expecting to move some 50,000 of these SUVs during the first year of production. That’ll make the TX Lexus’ third-best-selling vehicle, but given the popularity of luxury three-row crossovers, I won’t be surprised if the TX’s sales numbers end up being higher. Buyers have been waiting for something exactly like this for a long time.
2024 Lexus TX 500h F Sport Performance Luxury AWD