2024 Lexus TX

Finally, Lexus gets a proper 3-row crossover -- and it was worth the wait.

Lexus is offering a new 3-row crossover for the 2024 model year. It's called the TX and is based on the also-new Toyota Grand Highlander. The TX seats 6 or 7 passengers, depending on seating configuration, and comes with front- or all-wheel drive. Lexus also offers the GX and LX as 3-row SUVs, but the TX is mainly intended for on-road use while the GX and LX are more off-road capable. Competitors include the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GLS and Volvo XC90.

The model lineup includes the TX 350, TX 500h F Sport Performance and TX 550h+.  Each gets a unique powertrain. The TX 350 comes with a turbocharged 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 275 horsepower and 317 ln-ft of torque. It is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and comes with either front- or all-wheel drive. The TX 500h adds two electric motors to the turbocharged 4-cylinder for a collective output of 366 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. It gets a 6-speed automatic. The TX 500h+ swaps out the 4-cylinder engine and traditional automatic for a 3.5-liter V6 and continuously variable automatic transmission. It's plug-in hybrid system includes several electric motors and an 18.1 kWH battery that can provide up to 33 miles of all-electric power. In both the TX 500h and 500h+ one of the electric motors acts on the rear axle, giving those vehicles, in effect, all-wheel drive.

Prices start at $55,000 and climb to more than $78,000. Standard safety features include adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic brake intervention, intersection collision mitigation, lane-departure warning, lane-centering system and blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert. Other standard features include 3-zone climate control, second-row bench seat or captain's chairs, 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless support for Android Auto or Apple Car Play and wireless smartphone charging tray.

Though the TX 350 engine may seem shy on power compared to some competitors, it provides enough umph to move the TX from 0 to 60 MPH in about 7 seconds. Downsides include a gruff personality and, when you add a few passengers or some cargo, greatly diminished acceleration. The TX500+ makes more sense, though it costs $10,000 more, as it provides a boost in power and efficiency. Plug-in hybrids really only make sense if you intend on plugging them in at night, thereby maximizing overall efficiency.

Speaking of fuel economy, The TX 350 is EPA rated at 23 MPG combined while the TX 500h nets a combined rating of 27 MPG. The TX 500H+ gets a EPA rating of 76 MPGe, meaning if you plug it in frequently, you may average close to 76 MPG overall. All engines require premium-grade gasoline. In routine driving, expect to average about 35 MPG with the base engine, perhaps 27 MPG with the hybrid. As is the case with all plug-in hybrids, your efficiency depends on your willingness to plug in. It's easy to average more than 50 MPG overall, but that requires a strict diet of nightly battery top offs.

Neither the traditional all-wheel-drive system in the TX 350 or the through-the-road all-wheel-drive systems on the hybrid powertrains are intended for severe off-road use. In real-world conditions the base system, with a mechanical connection between the front and rear wheels, is going to be the most effective in dealing with snow and slush covered roads.

Dynamically, the TX is about the smoothest and quietest riding 3-row crossover out there. On the flip side, the TX isn't the most nimble or athletic offering in the class. The suspension does an excellent job of filtering out big bumps and eliminating minor pavement imperfections. There's some body lean in quick transitions. Brakes provide decent, fade-free stopping power and the steering, though numb, has decent heft and good highway precision.

Interior noise levels are extremely low, making the TX likely the quietest vehicle in the class.

Inside the TX feels modern and has a very functional cabin design. However, it's clearly an upscale Toyota rather than a true Lexus inside with some cut-rate materials below the beltline and middling plastics throughout. Drivers face a digital cluster that's quite small in the base model, but considerably larger and more handsome in hybrid models. The large touchscreen for the infotainment system dominates the center stack.

The front seats are quite comfortable and exceptionally padded. Head and leg room are quite good in both the front and second rows. Third row seats are reasonably roomy and offer good support. Entry/exit is quite good and outward visibility top notch.

On the technology front, it's hard to fault the TX. Just about every conceivable feature is either standard or offered as an option. There are lots of charging ports throughout as well as available WiFi and rear-seat entertainment.

Cargo capacity is quite impressive, as you might expect. Total capacity is 97 cubic feet, with 57 cubic feet being available by folding the third row. Like most 3-row offerings, there's a scant 20 cubic feet with all seats in use. Interior storage is minivan typical with lots of open and covered storage bins throughout.

Bottom Line - The TX is just as impressive as the new Toyota Grand Highlander -- and for all of the same reasons. It's comfortable, quiet, roomy and offers tons of features. However, it's also considerably more expensive than the Grand Highlander. On the other hand, the TX is somewhat less expensive than similar luxury competitors and also offers more room than most. The plug-in hybrid only makes sense for those willing to make the effort to plug in, otherwise the regular hybrid offers a great blend of power and economy.