Rumors that Lexus will introduce a three-row version of its RX crossover are far from over. Adding fuel to the fire, U.S. Lexus boss Jeff Bracken told WardsAuto that the automaker “could make an announcement pretty soon” on the matter.
Dealers are hungry for the new model, considering that competitors like the BMW X5, Acura MDX, and Audi Q7 already offer an extra row. “I would say if it’s not [dealers’ top complaint], it’s one of the most important misses from their perspective,” Bracken said about the lack of a three-row RX. Although the RX is the best-selling luxury SUV in America, larger competitors are still eating into its sales.
A fourth-generation 2016 Lexus RX debuted at this year’s New York auto show in the standard five-seat version. Although it sports a longer body and more rear legroom than the previous model, its dramatically sloped roofline raises questions on how a third row of passengers would fit inside.
Late last year, we reported that Lexus had written off a three-row RX crossover, as the platform it shares with the Highlander was never designed to be stretched. As a result, Lexus started working on a three-row crossover based on the platform for the new LS sedan. We don’t know what that upcoming SUV will be called, but we said it was likely to arrive as a 2018 model.
When Lexus finds a way to bring a three-row RX to market, we expect it to strengthen RX sales. The 2016 RX hasn’t gone to market yet, leading to RX sales to slip 7.7 percent through July.