Talk of a Lexus crossover SUV with third-row seats dates back quite a few years. Lexus even rolled out a concept previewing such a model as early as the 2003 New York auto show, the HPX. Lexus put off a manufacture version, deeming the segment too normal for a luxury player. Instead, Lexus offered its rugged GX and LX body-on-frame SUV to buyers looking for a third row. Now, however, the allure of crossover sales is simply too strong to ignore. Lexus engineers are out testing a 7-seat, 3-row version of the mid-size RX, and a report from Japan claims the vehicle will debut in October at the 2017 Tokyo auto show. Transforming the 4rth gen RX to fit a third row should be straight forward given the vehicle’s corporate cousin, the Toyota Highlander, already has three rows. According to Mag-X, the 3-row RX, to be badged an RX L, will maintain the wheelbase of the present 2-row model but feature an extended back.
To deliver enough headroom for the third-row, the roof will remain flat towards the rear instead of sloping down like on the 2-row model. In the US, the vehicle should be offered in both R-X 350 and R-X 450h trim, though perhaps not both at launch. Potential rivals include the Audi Q7, Infiniti JX and Volvo XC90. What’s puzzling is why it’s taken Lexus so long to launch a 3-row crossover. The RX is the brand’s most popular model and a 3-row crossover has been the number one demand from traders for numerous years now. Cadillac is another amenity brand that is been dragging its feet when it comes to 3 row crossovers.