We got used to the luxury the entire Lexus crossover/SUV lineup is offering. Now, it is time for the brand to move on. According to the latest news, Toyota’s premium branch is thinking of an off-road SUV. We see the Japanese carmaker combining utility and luxury already in Land Cruiser. And they are doing well. The SUV is entering the new generation next season with 300 Series. On the other hand, Lexus SUV lineup has almost all – from a subcompact to full-size models; petrol, diesel (outside the US), and hybrid drivetrains; F Sport models… They lack a true off-road SUV.
The question is what are the plans? Should Lexus use some vehicles from its lineup and upgrade them to new levels? Also, will there be a new model, perhaps? We will know more during 2019. So far, the certain info all other rumors are based on, are words from Cooper Ericksen, vice president for product planning and strategy at Lexus, who said the company will focus on an off-road model. We can exclude premium sedans from further conversations.
Big SUVs to Get Off-Road Editions
GX and LX are two favorites to get special treatment. After that, these would become more capable of an off-road drive. First of all, body on frame platform is underpinning both SUVs. That is a good start for all other upgrades. We know that BoF is much better for off-road models. Ladder frame is durable and more resistible to all problems you can meet in tough surfaces. Upgrades will definitely include unique shocks and suspension, all-terrain tires, and skid plates.
UX, NX, RX – Not Likely to Be the One
Smaller crossovers and SUVs are not likely to be the off-road vehicle Ericksen was talking about. When you have the potential of GX and LX, you won’t experiment with smaller units. Also, their unibody architecture is less capable of challenges that bed weather and unfriendly terrains are calling. But still, we will keep tabs opened since it will be easier to add a few parts and make RX, for example, an off-road capable SUV. But, for the real deal, and jaw-dropping effect, Toyota and Lexus will need larger SUVs.
Toyota’s ace upon the sleeve – TRD Pro package. Currently, only three vehicles are having it in the offer. Just one SUV – Toyota 4Runner. We can hear rumors about the company expanding its TRD Pro lineup. Among others, favorites were Land Cruiser and Highlander. But, here it comes out of nowhere – Lexus off-road SUV. TRD pro is exactly what we were talking about – the package that improves mobility and durability in tough conditions. Fox shocks and suspension are proven. Tacoma and Tundra trucks are sharing some features with 4Runner. Lexus off-road SUV would get similar features, and of course, unique upgrades. So, all in all, Toyota and its premium branch have the capability to build a premium model in this category.
Lexus Off-Road SUV Features and Price
Packages that will improve performance are not the only features that are going to make the price jump. As a premium carmaker, Lexus packs its vehicles with plenty of equipment. Knowing that the starting price could be over $100,000. Imagine the Land Cruiser with such upgrades. The starting price of both luxurious full-size SUVs is $85,000. TRD Pro or similar upgrades are worth at least $15k. The cost could be lower if the company decides to upgrade Lexus GX.