The Lexus GX SUV, first introduced in 2003, has always been marketed as a luxury SUV but is based on the rugged body-on-frame platform underpinning more serious off-roaders like the Toyota 4Runner and FJ Cruiser.
Despite this, the vehicle has enjoyed a reasonable level of sales and in 2010 spawned a second-generation model
For the third-generation of its GX, Lexus is considering adopting a car-like unibody platform, which would make the GX more a crossover than a true SUV.
The latest information was revealed by Lexus’ U.S. sales manager, Mark Templin, who recently spoke to Ward’s Auto
“There is a potential that at some point, when we replace the GX, we can have a car-based SUV,” he said.
He also revealed that Lexus was contemplating switching the GX to a crossover platform for years but resisted due to the popularity of the existing body-on-frame design.
Reports of Lexus launching a seven-seat crossover have been circulating for several years now
, but with most competitors offering similar vehicles, most recently Infiniti with the 2013 JX
, a full-size crossover from Lexus is now back in the spotlight.
If Lexus is planning to turn its GX SUV into a crossover, we won’t know for several years still as the third-generation GX isn’t due anytime soon.
Another major departure for Lexus, according to Templin, is the possibility of turbocharged engines. He said Lexus engineers were investigating the use of turbochargers, along with other forms of forced induction, though he also explained that Lexus’s naturally-aspirated engines were offering better performance and fuel economy than turbocharged engines offered by some rivals.