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Lexus serves as the luxury arm of Toyota, and as such, both brands offer similar lineups with cars and SUVs sharing a bevy of components and platforms. The Lexus ES is effectively an upscale Toyota Camry, the NX is luxury RAV4, and so on. But which Lexus model serves as the equivalent to the popular midsize, three-row Highlander isn’t quite as clear.

Lexus’ lineup lacks a direct Toyota Highlander equivalent

The Lexus RX is a close equivalent to the Highlander in several key areas. A comparison on Edmunds’ side-by-side tool shows the models have similar exterior dimensions and passenger space, and both are fitted with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, front-wheel drive as standard, and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

However, Lexus discontinued its three-row RX-L for the 2023 model year, making the RX model strictly a five-seater. The Highlander comes standard with a third row and seating for either seven or eight passengers. Though the RX and Highlander have similar exterior dimensions, the Highlander’s slightly larger overall footprint gives it 45 cu-ft of storage space behind the rear row while the RX is limited to 30.

As such, there is no longer an explicit Lexus option for those who want the pragmaticism of additional cargo space and more passenger capacity.

The Lexus GX sports seating for up to eight and plenty of cargo space behind its second row, but it doesn’t exactly align with the RX. Though the GX is about three inches shorter overall than the RX, it’s six inches taller, weighs nearly 1,000 pounds more, has a far thirstier V8 engine, and costs a whopping $28,000 more to start than even the midrange Highlander XLE.

So, people seeking a Highlander with the luxe appointments and refinement of a Lexus are limited to purchasing a used RX-L. Or, they could go bigger and wait for the arrival of Lexus’ newest model, the TX.

The 2024 Lexus TX is a closer match to the Highlander

Lexus recently unveiled another entry into the midsize, three-row luxury SUV segment, the all-new TX. The TX is based on the upcoming 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander, which is slightly larger and more upscale than the standard Highlander.

The base TX will share its engine and transmission with the Highlander, and like its Toyota cousin, a hybrid will also be available.

The TX will serve as the most direct equivalent to the Highlander when it hits the market for 2024, but as its based on the Grand Highlander, there are some notable variations.

The TX is about 10 inches longer, and as such will accommodate 21 cu-ft of cargo behind the rear seats versus the Highlander’s 16. Behind the second-row, the TX will hold about one more cu-ft of stuff.

The Highlander can set up to eight with the standard second-row bench, while the TX will seat six or seven passengers.

Lexus has not released pricing for the 2024 TX as of this writing, but it’s expected to start around $55,000-$60,000, giving it a price point far closer to the Highlander than the GX, which is all-new for 2024.

Effectively then, buyers wanting a more upscale Highlander need to either go smaller with the RX, or opt for something bigger with the upcoming TX. Of course, another option is the 2024 Grand Highlander, which will still wear a Toyota badge but puts more of an emphasis on upscale appointments and pragmaticism.


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