The new Lexus RX is already flying off showroom floors — with its devoted owner-base loving its all-new cabin inside, design outside and eight model variants. With F Sports and Hybrids all available with or without AWD, the RX350 and RX450h are looking at a huge sales year in 2016.
One thing Lexus mentioned at the launch of the new RX is that owners did not want the next-gen model to grow. To that end, the new RX and its chopped roofline adds second row legroom over the 2015 models (plus powerfold and recline controls). But the new RX is actually ever-so-slightly tighter by overall cargo volume. This speaks to the new model’s chic appeal in the market — plus priorities for owners.
But the RX has more potential than just a five-seat model. Above the NX200t/NX300h, but below the seven-seat GX460, the RX needs a seven-seat variant fairly urgently. This three-row model will be easy to produce and engineer, perhaps capturing an additional 50k unit sales beyond the 2016 RX350/RX450h.
The main questions are: what to call the new LWB model, and how to integrate the design of the 2016 RX with a slightly taller roof, slightly altered D-pillars and perhaps bigger rear doors to aid ingress/egress for people in the wayback.
We have some predictions:
— the model will be an RX variant versus using a new badge altogether. This makes sense: the RX and LWB model will share most body panels for the nose and cabin.
— the price premium? We predict an upgrade total of around $3k, taking the base pricing to about $40k and topping out at $60k for the RX450hL.
— The name: the simplest and most brand-aware would be to add an “L” — making the “RX-L.” This may extend to RX350L, RX350L F Sport, and RX450hL.
This might not be right, of course, and Lexus has not discussed any variants whatsoever. But that itself is a tacit confirmation, or at least as much of one as we needed to head into photoshop.
What will the RX-L look like?
Basically a dead ringer for the very classy new metal of all other RXs for 2016 — except around the back.
Two varieties of rendering to consider: one with an upswept glasshouse in dark-tinted glass, with body-colored lines sweeping up into the rear spoiler and more-vertical tailgate. The taller roof is barely noticeable without seeing the before/afters together for this look.
The alternative is more traditional, but less Murano-ish, in execution. A full block of glass lives above the slight hipbone accent behind the rear doors.
Will this be what the 2017 RX-L actually looks like when it is revealed in ~Chicago’s Feb auto show, and hits dealers six months later?
But if we were betting, these would be our wagers.
2017 Lexus RX-L Renderings
2016 Lexus RX
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.