Lexus to ditch SUVs for CUVs?

By Jason Davis | May 29, 2012
Crossovers! Crossovers! Crossovers! They’re like sport utility vehicles, but based on cars, not trucks, and everyone wants one. Including Lexus, maybe. Lexus has contemplated building a three-row, car-based successor for the popular GX, the based-on-the-4Runner-based-on-the-Tacoma-truck SUV. In fact, Lexus had even trademarked the name “JX” for the possibility of said CUV. That name now belongs to Infiniti for its new based-on-a-Pathfinder-based-on-an-Altima CUV. “There is a potential that at some point, when we replace the GX, we can have a car-based SUV,” said Mark Templin, Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager, to WardsAuto.
If this sounds a little confusing, consider that the CUVs have a softer, quieter suspension than compared to an SUV, which means more comfort and better handling. Additionally, since SUVs are based on heavier truck platforms, many automakers have been unable or unwilling to power them with smaller, more efficient engines. Like the SUV, though, CUVs have the size and space requirements that many Americans want, but since the vehicles are based on cars, they don’t have to be stuffed with large, inefficient engines. The problem for Lexus, if it were to build a GX CUV, is that it would be cutting into market share for its popular RX SUV. That vehicle, which has been a huge success for Lexus, provides tremendous value for consumers shopping smaller German SUVs at higher price points. So will it, or won’t it? For now, Lexus is mum, but the GX is due for a redesign in 2013, and it appears it will follow the truck-based platform it shares with the 4Runner and FJ. But the rumors are swirling, and it has also been reported that Lexus is tinkering with turbochargers, for extra-special mpg goodness. What do you think? Should the GX ditch its truck and off road roots? And would you consider purchasing a Lexus crossover with four-cylinder fuel economy? Source: WardsAuto