The Lexus RX may be offered with an extra row of seating in the future to help differentiate it from the company’s new NX SUV.
Toyota’s luxury arm staged the international launch of the new NX in Canada this week. Although the NX is smaller than the RX, it offers the same five-seat layout while there is also similar interior space and a bigger boot.
The fourth iteration of the Lexus RX that first launched in 1998 is expected to debut in late 2015, replacing the current model that has been around since 2008 (early 2009 Australia).
The next RX won't be a seven-seater insiders have revealed to CarAdvice, though Lexus officially admits it is considering a third row for the model.
“Three rows is under study for RX,” Lexus’s assistant chief engineer on the NX, Kei-Ichi Nishiyama, told CarAdvice at the NX launch. “There is lots of demand [for seven seats] from the US market.”
Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley, who has high-level input as a member of the brand’s global executive council, says he is also pushing for a seven-seater RX.
“Timing for the next RX hasn’t been announced, but if the question is whether Lexus International [formed in 2012 to take responsibility for global markets] will influence design, specification, dynamics, performance and drivetrains of next RX, the answer is yes.
“[Seven seats] has been under study. It’s certainly something we would desire, and it’s something we will strongly lobby for in the product pipeline of the future. But there’s no confirmation on it yet.”
The 2016 Lexus RX will again be based on the Toyota Kluger (known as Highlander in the US), which continues to offer a third row and grew again for the latest generation.
Lexus has trademarked the TX nameplate, suggesting a new model entirely, though a source told CarAdvice that was unlikely to amount to anything.
Lexus has a seven-seater available currently in North America, though the GX is essentially a re-nosed version of the body-on-frame Prado and not renowned for its classy driving manners.