Now you can have your three rows and eat your crossover cake too.
Easier than taking candy from a baby is selling candy to babies with more than enough cash to buy it. That’s the strategy luxury automakers have taken lately, and it’s led to an arms race of sorts where the winner is the one with most appealing candy. As luxury SUVs have become the norm on roads around the world, the change in purchasing paradigms has allowed companies like Lexus to rise to the ranks of BMW and Mercedes by selling popular picks like the NX and RX SUVs.
Those old babies have responded to the Japanese options favorably, snapping up units as fast as the factories can churn them out, but that doesn’t mean Lexus is done trying to appeal to those cargo-hungry and comfort-seeking infants. On the SUV side of things, Lexus’ lineup makes a big leap from crossover to full-size SUV when it jumps from the RX to the three-row GX. This leaves a gap in the lineup for buyers who want three rows without sacrificing crossover looks, economy, and feel. That niche may have been gold for Mercedes, BMW, and Audi but thanks to a recent announcement by Lexus, Germany’s monopoly will end during the 2017 LA Auto show where the Big L will unveil two new RX variants.
Not much is known about either RX aside from the fact that one will be a gas-powered model called the RX 350L and the other will utilize a hybrid drivetrain and garner the name RX 450hL. A 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 making 295 horsepower and a hybrid unit that raises output to 309 horsepower are likely to be what powers the RX350L and RX 450hL models, respectively. Both SUVs will feature three rows as their hallmark feature as well as similar looks to the current RX, but the L in the name likely means that Lexus will extend the wheelbase to accommodate the extra row without sacrificing cargo space. Keep an eye on the Lexus pavilion at the 2017 LA Auto Show for the live reveal coming later this month.