2024 Lexus TX 350 gets the 8-year-old nod

Lexus has offered various three-row SUVs over the years, but they’ve all been weak attempts. Remember the short-lived, compromised three-row RX L? Neither did we, for a moment. Or did you ever get into the third row in an LX or GX SUV? Good for you.

With the 2024 TX, Lexus finally offers a good choice to growing families. With three usable rows of seating, features that delight kids, and hybrid powertrains, it’s the vehicle Lexus has needed for far too long. It all adds up to a TCC Rating of 6.2 out of 10

It’s good, but the TX isn’t all roses. It feels like a Toyota with some polish, and not more. There are some cloying design choices throughout. Lexus’s infotainment and steering-wheel controls are just tolerable, and the base turbo-4 is merely fine.

After shuttling kids around to soccer practice, school, and birthday parties for a week, here’s what else we learned about the 2024 Lexus TX.

2024 Lexus TX

Pro: Lexus TX fits the family and then some

This Lexus has three full rows of seats. Most models will seat six thanks to second-row captain’s chairs like my tester had, but a second-row bench seat can be had for up to seven seats. At 5-foot-10 I can comfortably sit in each row. Hauling two full rows of 8-year-old boys to a birthday party was “NBD,” as the kids tell me. Birthday presents, boxes of cupcakes, and jackets had no issues all stowing behind the third row thanks to 20.1 cubic feet of space.

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

Con: Lexus TX looks and feels like a fancy Toyota

Not since the original Lexus ES has a vehicle wearing the Lexus badge felt so much like a polished Toyota. Consumers that have never set foot in a Toyota Grand Highlander might not figure it out, but anyone that has will slide into the TX and instantly realize it’s a Grand Highlander with some polish and a Lexus dashboard. Is that worth a minimum of a $10,000 premium? The NX and RX don’t feel like this and neither does the LX. Even the ES pulls off its Lexus credentials better. The Grand Highlander’s hard plastics are replaced with soft-touch pieces, at least. My $69,814 Luxury trim tester featured suede on the dashboard and the $1,160 Mark Levinson sound system’s speakers were covered in cloth. Though, no Grand Highlander rolls on my tester’s $2,140 22-inch wheels. 

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

Pro: Lexus TX delights kids, pleases adults

My kids immediately noticed the second- and third-row air vents were mounted in the ceiling like in a minivan. This allowed them to direct the airflow onto their faces because they were “burning” after running around in the gym. 

The group of 8-year-old boys I hauled hooted and hollered when they realized the third-row seat backs power recline: “Bro! These recline! This is awesome!” 

I was just happy there was a real volume knob and Lexus slapped some fake knobs on the 14.0-inch touchscreen to simulate temperature controls. A friend noticed the wireless smartphone charger slides forward to reveal hidden storage in the front center console, which elicited oohs and ahhs. Little things matter, especially to kids.

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

Con: Lexus TX has weird, bizarre, and annoying design decisions

Strip the L badge from the front end of the TX and no one is going to know this is a Lexus. At best it’s anonymous. 

The 14.0-inch touchscreen used in other Lexus and Toyota products can’t split-screen, which leads to an unnecessary view of a map or whatever’s being listened to. Hope you like a massive view of Apple CarPlay, which is at least wireless.

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

The unmarked controls on the steering wheel carried over from the NX and RX are touch sensitive and their function reveals themselves on the head-up display, which can’t be seen while wearing polarized sunglasses. This results in operating the steering wheel controls, which have dual functionality depending on which mode they are in, blind. 

The digital gauge cluster on my tester wasn’t level, either. It angled left, crookedly. That minor detail annoyed me for the entire week. 

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

The square cup holders in the first and second row have an unlock button. Click it and the entire square cup holder pops out to reveal a square storage bin. Neat. But now where do you put this square cup holder? Why don’t they just retract into the center console like a less expensive Hyundai Palisade? 

The second-row seat controls are confusing for kids with a latch to slide the seats forward next to the latch that can fold the seat back. While sitting in the seat a child, or adult, can’t actually see the markings to know which is which. The fold-flat third row doesn’t create a completely flat, level, load floor. The seat bottoms are mounted above where the hybrid model’s battery pack would go, which leads to a sloped rear cargo area with no raised lip to catch soccer balls in the parking lot. 

2024 Lexus TX

2024 Lexus TX

Pro and Con: Lexus TX features bevy of powertrains

The TX 350 is the base powertrain in the lineup with a 2.4-liter turbo-4 churning out 275 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. It carries an EPA combined rating of 23 mpg, but over the course of 228 miles I only saw an average of 19.6 mpg. 

The turbo-4 can best be described as fine. It’s no rocket booster, but there’s enough steam to get the TX out of the way on the highway once the 8-speed automatic downshifts a few times. The 5,000-pound tow rating seems like a lot, but testing that’s for another day. Sport mode, which takes a minimum of two taps of the touchscreen to engage, keeps the turbo spooled and revs up a bit for more pep in the TX’s step. At a stoplight I could feel the turbo-4 idling in my tush. Is that luxury? I guess it depends.

The hybrid and plug-in hybrid are more noteworthy. The former features my tester’s 2.4-liter turbo-4 plus an electric motor at the rear wheels for standard all-wheel drive. Total system output is a healthy 366 hp with a 27-mpg combined rating. It costs over $70,000, but is more efficient than every competitor in the segment. The plug-in hybrid checks in at just under $80,000 and pairs a silky-smooth 3.5-liter V-6 and three electric motors for standard all-wheel drive. Combined system output checks in at 404 hp, and it can travel 33 miles on electric power only before getting 29 mpg combined. 

Budget-conscious buyers might be tempted into the 2024 Lexus TX 350 for its space, but at first blush it seems like the real story might lie with the pair of hybrids offered. Either way, the TX is a vehicle Lexus showrooms have needed for over a decade. Adults and kids will find themselves comfortable in the third row, as long as they remember to hit the button to recline the seat back.

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2024 Lexus TX 350 Luxury AWD

Base price: $55,0950, including a $1,350 destination fee

Price as tested: $69,814

Drivetrain: 275-hp 2.4-liter turbo-4, 8-speed automatic transmission, AWD

EPA fuel economy: 21/27/23 mpg

The hits: Three adult-sized rows, third-row seat back reclines, available hybrids

The misses: Warmed-over Toyota, base turbo-4, questionable design choices


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