With every new car launch accompanied by a breathless gush of hyperbole about reinventing the segment, it's unusual to find an automaker willing to learn from its previous missteps. Count the 2024 Lexus TX among those rare examples, then — a second attempt at a three-row SUV after the company discovered its first try fell short in one very important way.
You'd think it was obvious, but third row space is key if you're trying to coax American families into your big SUV. It's a booming segment, but badge and gadgetry alone aren't sufficient to overcome the discomfort of knees colliding with seatbacks. That proved to be a painful realization for Lexus with the now-discontinued RX-L.
So, the TX turns to a unibody chassis shared with Toyota's Grand Highlander and builds atop it the largest body of the current Lexus range. Like the Grand Highlander, the TX will only be offered in North America, but don't fool yourself that such focus will make Lexus' task here any easier.
Three rows, three drivetrain options
2024 TX 350 ownership kicks off at $55,050 (plus $1,350 destination) for the front-wheel drive version, with all-wheel drive commanding a $1,600 premium. Either way, you get a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine with 275 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque.
Drag racing in your three-row luxury SUV probably isn't top of the priority list, but the TX 350 isn't entirely sluggish. Figure on an 8.0 second 0-60 mph time for the front-wheel drive version or 7.8 seconds for the all-wheel drive. Top speed is 112 mph.
If you want Lexus' Hybrid 2024 TX 500h, meanwhile, be prepared to cough up $69,350 (plus destination) or more. The good news there is that all-wheel drive comes as standard, not to mention the fact that you're getting more grunt to play with. The TX 500h nudges it up to 366 hp and 406 lb-ft while trimming the 0-60 mph time to 6.1 seconds.
Arriving in early 2024, meanwhile, is a third drivetrain. The TX 550h+ will be a plug-in hybrid, combining a 3.5-liter V6 with electric motors for niceties like all-wheel drive, 404 total system horsepower, and an estimated 33 miles of electric-only range. As we found in our 2024 TX first drive, it's shaping up to be a compelling PHEV.
A cleaner, less mouthy design
Those who disliked Lexus' gaping maw of a grille will probably be pleased with the design direction taken with the new TX. The hourglass shape is now more hinted at in the way the hood creases, lights, and upper grille intersect with the trapezoidal lower fascia, and there's a far more restrained application of glitzy chrome. In fact, I might argue the TX has gone a little too far in the other direction: in this white paint, the Lexus looks a little like those generic SUVs you see in insurance commercials.
That's not to say it's ugly, and there's some nice detailing. The way the LED daytime running lights stretch into the grille is a neat touch, while the swollen fenders and sharp crease lines along the TX's flanks help avoid that slab-sided look many SUVs of this scale suffer.
At the rear, the trunk-spanning light bar helps add some visual interest to what's otherwise a fairly pared-back design. Maybe it's a sign of the times, too, but the fact that Lexus makes 20-inch alloy wheels standard on even the base TX — and offers 22-inch versions on upper trims — feels notable. That they don't look outsized simply reflects the SUV's overall scale.
Big where it matters
That scale is important, of course, since the whole point of a three-row SUV is to accommodate plenty of people. It's even more topical for the TX since one of its primary goals is to replace the old Lexus RX-L we first saw back in 2017, as the three-row version of the RX never quite delivered the third row space that families needed.
The proof of the upgrade is in the inches. The RX-L's third row offered 34.8 inches of headroom and just 23.5 inches of legroom. This new 2024 TX bumps those numbers up to 37.2 inches of headroom and 33.5 inches of legroom (with the second row pushed all the way forward). It transforms the rearmost seats from only really being suitable for younger kids into ones that adults won't complain about occupying.
It's not just in comparison to its little-loved predecessor that the TX shines in space, mind you. The beefy Lexus offers more legroom than Infiniti's QX80, Mazda's CX-90, and Acura's MDX. Yes, a Jeep Grand Wagoneer or a Lincoln Navigator gives those in the rearmost seats even more space, but they're also significantly longer vehicles — by as much as a foot, in fact.
Fine to drive, if not inspiring
The TX, in contrast, doesn't feel wildly unwieldy on the road, even though at around 17 feet long and 6.5 feet wide it's certainly not small. Helping there is a relaxed suspension tune — definitely erring on the comfort side, rather than trying to make a sports car out of a big SUV — and nicely weighted steering. It leaves the Lexus easy to place and makes the absence of adaptive damping or air suspension far easier to live with.
Once upon a time, you'd expect to find a six-cylinder engine under the hood of an SUV in this category. These days, turbo-fours are largely taking the place of a naturally aspirated V6, given the potential benefits in economy. Combined with the standard eight-speed automatic transmission, it suits the Lexus' laidback ethos nicely.
In my all-wheel drive tester, while the TX 350 never felt exactly spritely, neither did the turbo-four seem breathless. Lexus' hybrid undoubtedly delivers more punch, but Sport mode on the base drivetrain just tends to leave it hovering at its louder engine speed rather than make for a perkier SUV. Leave it in Comfort, and there's plenty of power for highway overtaking and comfortable cruising, all without the wallowing that some three-row models can suffer.
Frugal enough, but so's the competition
Lexus quotes 21 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined for the front-wheel drive 2024 TX 350. The all-wheel drive version's EPA numbers dip to 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, though the combined figure stays the same. In practice, with my own mixed driving, I saw just over 20 mpg.
This is where the TX 500h and its electrified drivetrain might have the edge, assuming you can stomach the greater sticker price. There, the EPA says you should see 27 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 27 mpg combined.
If you can handle the loss of cachet, though, the TX's Toyota sibling presents a compelling argument. With its top-spec Hybrid Max drivetrain, the 2024 Grand Highlander is still cheaper in flagship Platinum trim (from $58,125 plus destination) than a midrange 2024 TX 350. While the cabin may not be so lavish in the Toyota, you do get both better fuel economy and 362 horsepower to play with.
A well-designed, well-equipped cabin
All that said, the Lexus' interior might be enough to dissuade such cross-shopping. It's not that the TX's cabin is particularly dramatic in any way, just that the automaker makes sure it arrives well-equipped. Lower trims get seven seats with sturdy-feeling NuLuxe faux leather; the TX 350 Premium AWD switches that to leather and the middle row to captain's chairs. From TX 350 Luxury and up, there's semi-aniline leather with either six or seven seats.
All trims get multi-zone climate control, a leather-trimmed shifter knob and steering wheel, and heated front seats. Premium and up add ventilated front seats, along with power-folding third row seats to expand the 20.2 cu-ft of trunk space to 57.4 cu-ft. Fold the second row, and that jumps to 97 cu-ft.
The base TX 350 trim misses out on a panoramic glass roof, but Lexus' 14-inch touchscreen and latest Interface infotainment system are standard across the board. That supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there's a wireless phone charger pad along with SiriusXM. A 360-degree camera is available from Premium trim up, while a digital rearview mirror and a head-up display are available on the Luxury trim.
Decent tech, but some oddities
There's plenty to like about Lexus' infotainment system. For a start, the touchscreen is sizable, though there's a persistent section for HVAC controls and physical knobs for adjusting temperature. Lexus doesn't stint on USB-C ports, either, spreading seven around the cabin, and there's a physical volume control. The TX strikes a nice balance between hardware switchgear and digital versions, and the infotainment's voice control system is surprisingly capable.
Some oddities can be found, mind. The driver's display may look fully digital at first glance, but in fact only two-thirds of the cluster is a screen: the rest are just fixed gauges. That 7-inch panel is standard on all TX 350 trims; Premium trim and above can optionally be equipped with a 12.3-inch display that actually fills the area.
Lexus' hybrid gets a useful 120V/1,500W AC outlet, but the TX 350 misses out on that. You can only get the 21-speaker Mark Levinson audio system as an option on Premium trim and above, and while all trims have power-adjusting front seats, the base TX 350 lacks driver's seat memory.
Expansive safety tech and a solid warranty
You can't criticize Lexus' safety suite, though. Every TX trim gets the Lexus Safety System 3.0, including adaptive cruise control with curve speed management, lane departure alert with steering assist, and lane tracing assist. There's also auto high beams, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and intersection support, and blind spot warnings with rear cross-traffic alert. The digital door latch system works with Safe Exit Assist to stop you from inadvertently opening the door and hitting an approaching vehicle or bicycle.
Premium trim and above gets Lexus' Intuitive Parking Assist system, while all TX 350 trims are rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds. If you want rear wheel steering, however, you'll need to step up to the TX 500h hybrid.
Lexus includes a four year/50,000 mile standard warranty, and a six year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty. Hybrid versions add an eight year/100,000 mile hybrid system warranty and a ten year/150,000 mile hybrid battery warranty.
2024 Lexus TX 350 Verdict
Seldom is need/result so cleanly delivered in the auto industry, as is the case with the 2024 Lexus TX. It's tough to fault the automaker's recipe for success, or its willingness to learn from the stumbles of the RX-L. Where that old SUV felt like a three-row compromise — more seats squeezed unconvincingly into a slightly stretched existing model — the TX wields its intent well.
No, that doesn't make the TX 350 an especially exciting vehicle to drive, and its economy numbers are solid rather than outstanding. As a way to transport a family or group without prompting too many complaints from those sent to the rearmost row, however, Lexus has delivered pretty much exactly what was asked of it.
The TX is as easy to drive as a QX80 or CX-90 but feels more spacious; it's nowhere near as behemoth-like from behind the wheel as a Navigator or Escalade. If there's a hurdle, it's the existence of the capable Toyota Grand Highlander, which trades badge prowess for value and features. All the same, if you refuse to stint on brand and need three rows of genuinely comfortable seating for adults, there's little to dislike about the Lexus TX.