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Mark Savage's auto review column, Savage On Wheels, looks at a new vehicle every week and tells consumers what’s good, what’s not so good, and how the vehicle fits into the marketplace.

2024 Lexus TX 550h+ Luxury review

2024 Lexus TX 550h+ Luxury
Mark Savage
Savage On Wheels
2024 Lexus TX 550h+ Luxury

Does the market need another large luxury 3-row SUV? Probably not, even Lexus itself has two others to choose from.

But parent Toyota wisely brought out a near luxury Grand Highlander earlier this year and surprise, surprise, now its luxury make, Lexus delivers its own version — the TX. This big SUV joins the GX and LX that aim much more at the off-roaders as they are based on truck platforms.

TX is car-based, meaning it delivers a more pleasant on-road (where we drive 99.7% of the time) experience. So, TX is all about coddling the passengers while allowing them to tow up to 5,000 pounds of boat or camper on the off chance that they’ll go camping or boating.

Top that you say? Well, the tested TX 550h+ Luxury, the premium TX, is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), meaning better fuel mileage and a 33-mile range of all-electric power, great for around town cruising.

Key here is that PHEV system that mates up the primo Lexus 3.5-liter turbo V6 with a couple electric motors to drive all four wheels, thus the TX has plenty of grip for a minor off-road trundle, or when negotiating winter snow and slush.

That hybrid combo also creates a substantial 404 horsepower with a less racy 247 pound-feet of torque, but still quick to get to highway speeds and it’s all managed through a CVT. That means the power is delivered smoothly, especially when in electric mode. With heavy acceleration the V6 will kick in on a highway plunge, but just briefly and for those who enjoy the sound of a gasoline engine, well, this V6 sounds pretty nice too.

Since this is a plug-in hybrid though an overnight charge on a standard 110-volt garage or household outlet gives the TX a charge that will get most folks to and from work or certainly around town to the grocery, soccer practices, etc. And if one can remember to charge the TX overnight, the gas station visits will be less frequent and of shorter duration. I managed 35.4 mpg for a week costing just $15 for a fill-up. When was the last time you spent less than $20?

This TX+ Luxury model is a PHEV, but there’s also a standard hybrid with a turbo 2.4-liter I4 that makes 362 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, so you’re not giving up power. That’s what the Grand Highlander tested in February featured, but I got only 23.4 mpg with that, so the PHEV really bumps those mileage figures up, at least when TX is fully charged. On a trip where you’d mostly be driving on gas power the EPA says to expect about 29 mpg.

Still, for a large SUV that will haul six adults in comfort, that’s a plus.

For the record this Lexus is about two inches longer than the Toyota version and a bit larger than some competitors, such as the Lincoln Aviator, Cadillac XT6 and Acura MDX.

Ride is well controlled and feels more luxurious than the truck-based SUVs, including those from Lexus. Steering is well-balanced and easy, so parking it isn’t too tough. Plus, there’s the 360-degree camera and parking sensors to ease backing out in a crowded parking lot.

The camera is part of a $2,380 tech package that also adds Advanced Park with remote features so one COULD parallel park while standing nearby. A digital rearview mirror and a HUD (Head-Up Display) system also are part of the package.

An $895 convenience package adds a front cross-traffic alert (annoying at stoplights if one takes a foot off the brake early) that could help prevent a side collision if someone blows through a stoplight. It also adds traffic jam assist that helps the car creep along and drive itself in a traffic jam. That requires a 4G network that is a free trial for three years, but also allows the use of a digital key via your phone.

Luxury is evident throughout the interior of the gorgeous deep metallic blue (Nightfall Mica) tester. Leather is plentiful with two-tone gray seats and door panels. Seats are perforated semi-aniline leather with suede trim that likely will be less easy to clean than standard leather but feels great. A light gray leather insert brightens the door panels too and there’s a suede trim that wraps from the passenger’s door into the mid-dash.

Other trim is a pewter look so no glare from the sun and that’s on dash and console, which includes a wireless phone charger under the center stack.

Screens are large with a 14-incher for infotainment, plus all the functions are easy to access and figure out too. Climate controls are mostly simple buttons with two large temperature knobs, one for each front seat occupant. Heated and cooled seats are standard and adjusted via taps on the screen, as is the heated steering wheel. There are automatic settings for those while row two seats are heated and cooled but adjusted manually. How gosh!

The first two rows of seats are extremely roomy with captain’s chairs in row two and those seats flip forward via a button atop the seat back for easy row three boarding. Legroom is good for average size passengers in row three, certainly better than many large SUVs. Third row seats also can be powered down from inside the cargo bay or via buttons just beyond the row two seats. Row three headrests automatically lower when the seats are powered flat.

There’s a power hatch in back and modest storage when the third-row seat is in place, plus a cargo hold beneath the cargo floor. If one plans to travel with the charger cord it stows there, but the space it tight, so wrap it neatly for storage.

A bugaboo that needs attention (as on the Toyota), a super sensitive and annoying driver attention alert system. It does not recognize that a driver is wearing sunglasses, so it beeps every couple minutes to say the driver’s eyes are closed. They were not.

The electrical outlet charger door also stuck closed a lot. One needs to press it in to spring it open it, as with most gas filler doors these days. But I did it repeatedly to no avail. It finally opened once I started the TX to pull from my driveway. Ugh!

Oddly too, there was no panoramic sunroof on this top-end TX, something the less-costly Toyota Grand Highlander included.

Speaking of which, pricing is way up there as in high-end luxury. Figure the Lexus TX PHEV will cost about $20 grand more than the Toyota model, although the Toyota is just a standard hybrid.

A base gas-powered Lexus TX 350 with a 275-horsepower engine lists at a bit more than $56,000 with delivery and there are Premium and Luxury models that list at about $59,000 and $62,000 respectively, with delivery.

Moving to a hybrid TX 500 F-Sport Performance Premium (that’s a lot of name) jumps the cost to $69,350 with delivery. The TX hybrids also feature rear-wheel steering and a stiffer suspension to correspond with the F Sport image. A TX 500 F Sport Performance Luxury model starts at $72,650 amd includes heated and cooled leather seats with 8-way power.

Jump up to the PHEV TX 550h+ Luxury and the ask is $78,050 with delivery. This one added enough options to push that to $83,133. Sounds like a lot, and it is, but large SUVs frequently run in the $75,000 to $80,000 range and not all are hybrids and fewer still are PHEVs.

Best news for buyers of large luxury SUVs is that Lexus and Toyota offer a variety of power sources that are priced all the way from reasonable to, well, a lot.

FAST STATS: 2024 Lexus TX 550h+ Luxury

Hits: Roomy people hauler with adult-friendly three-row seating, hybrid aids gas mileage, good power, ride, easy handling, AWD and 33-mile electric range. Big info screen, heated wheel and heat/cool front and rear seats, 360-degree camera, wireless charging, power hatch, solid safety systems.

Misses: Super sensitive and annoying driver attention alert, no panoramic sunroof, electric outlet door sticks, high price.

Made in: Princeton, Ind.

Engine: 3.5-liter turbo V6 PHEV, 404 hp/247 torque

Transmission: automatic CVT

Weight: 5,357 lbs.

Wheelbase: 116.1 in.

Length: 203.5 in.

Tow: 5,000 lbs.

MPG: 29 gas / 76 gas/elect,

MPG: 34.5 (tested)

Base Price: $78,050 (includes delivery)

Invoice: NA

Major Options:

120V/1,500-watt outlet, $560

Windshield wiper de-icer, $100

Convenience pkg. (front cross-traffic alert, traffic jam assist, digital key w/3-year 4G network trial), $895

Tech pkg. (panoramic view monitor, Advanced Park w/remote park, digital rearview mirror, HUD), $2,380

Rear hatch cargo lamps, $399

Mudguards, $165

Wheel locks, $85

Carpeted cargo mat, $150

Illuminated cargo sill, $349

Test vehicle: $83,133

Sources: Lexus, www.kbb.com

Mark Savage writes the auto review column, Savage On Wheels, for WUWM (formerly for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and Savageonwheels.com. He is the former executive editor of American Snowmobiler magazine and FineScale Modeler magazine, both part of Kalmbach Media in Waukesha.
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