Lexus is one of the few luxury brands that offers two body-on-frame truck-based SUVs in its lineup. The top-of-the-line LX 570 shares a platform with the Toyota Land Cruiser, and the GX 460 shares a chassis with the Toyota 4Runner midsize SUV. But that may not always be the case, according to Lexus group vice president Mark Templin. According to a report from WardsAuto, the brand has been considering a three-row unibody crossover for the better part of a decade, as evidenced by the LF-X concept shown at the 2003 Tokyo Auto Show and the follow-up LF-Xh in 2007.
The transition from body-on-frame truck chassis to car-based unibody platforms is a growing trend among midsize SUVs, with the Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder both following that route, along with the earlier replacement of the Chevrolet Trailblazer with the Lambda-chassis Traverse.
The current success of the RX crossover is another reason the brand hasn't moved more quickly on a three-row crossover, citing the RX's sales success, being Lexus' best-selling model in the U.S. and the second best-selling luxury brand model overall, trailing only the BMW 3 Series. Templin says the RX is often cross-shopped against 3-row competitors, and ultimately purchased by customers that decide a third row isn't necessary for their needs.