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Next-Gen Lexus GX May Switch to a Unibody Platform, Lexus Looks at Turbos

The current Lexus GX three-row SUV is part of a dying breed, since it rides on a body-on-frame platform, while many of its competitors have switched to a unibody platform. We’ve now learned that the next GX may also make the switch, thanks to comments from Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager for Lexus. “There is a potential that at some point, when we replace the GX, we can have a car-based SUV.”

2012 Lexus GX 460
The current Lexus GX three-row SUV is part of a dying breed, since it rides on a body-on-frame platform, while many of its competitors have switched to a unibody platform. We’ve now learned that the next GX may also make the switch, thanks to comments from Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager for Lexus. “There is a potential that at some point, when we replace the GX, we can have a car-based SUV.”

According to Templin, Lexus has been studying a three-row unibody crossover, but due to the current success of the GX, the automaker decided to not mess with the current setup. “We were so successful with the GX, nobody wanted to lose the GX.” The decision to retain the body-on-frame setup is in contrast to Lexus’ competitors who have abandoned the traditional SUV, like Infiniti who recently launched the JX crossover that is based on the all-new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, which has switched back to a unibody platform.

The popularity of the Lexus RX crossover is another reason why Lexus has not pulled the trigger on a three-row crossover. The RX is one of the most popular models in the luxury segment, coming in second last year after the BMW 3 Series.

“The RX kind of covers a big swath of the marketplace,” Templin says. “We compete with a lot of those smaller CUVs on price point, so we look like a really good value.”

Templin also stated that Lexus is currently looking at turbocharged four-cylinder engines for its future lineup. But since Lexus’ 3.5L V6 in the 2013 ES 350 is going to be more fuel-efficient than the four-cylinder in the Mercedes-Benz C250, don’t expect it anytime soon.

Ward’s Auto