2016 Lexus RX 450h F SportEnlarge Photo
Its dealers have been clamoring for a crossover SUV with third-row seats for years, but now Lexus has finally confirmed one is coming.
Speaking with Automotive News (subscription required), Lexus General Manager Jeff Bracken said a version of the mid-size RX with third-row seats would go on sale in late 2017 or early the following year.
The news isn’t a huge surprise as we already have spy shots of prototypes. The shots reveal an RX with a stretched wheelbase and heavily camouflaged rear section.
And modifying the RX to fit third-row seats shouldn’t be a tough task as the vehicle’s corporate cousin, the Toyota Highlander, already has three rows.
2017 Toyota HighlanderEnlarge Photo
For the name, Lexus is expected to simply add an “L” to the names of existing RX variants, as opposed to introducing a new nameplate such as the oft-rumored TX moniker. We know this because the automaker has registered trademarks for the RX 350L and RX 450hL names with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The arrival of the three-row RX should provide a boost in sales for a vehicle that’s already extremely popular. Lexus has consistently sold more than 100,000 examples of the RX in the U.S. every year for the past several years.
Key rivals will be the Audi Q7, Infiniti JX and Volvo XC90.