We make money from advertisers and affiliate partners. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
lexus tx-500h review

At a certain point in any man's life you are faced with the challenge of needing something practical - a three-row SUV for hauling kids around and bringing supplies back from the big box stores, or getting something truly fun and exciting to drive that will make all the other guys envious. No matter what you get it will be a compromise and that's why I'm so excited to have had the opportunity to test drive both the 2024 Lexus TX 500h F-Sport and the Grand Highlander Platinum back to back this month. These two vehicles are essentially fraternal twins with nearly identical DNA but each of them has manifested their own unique personality. In this review we're going to take a look at the Lexus TX and explore the things we liked and didn't like, followed by the Grand Highlander coming up next.

The Lexus TX 500h has a starting price of just under $70,000 and is an all new product in their lineup that shares the same wheelbase as it's twin brother the Toyota Grand Hilander, but works hard to one-up it's sibling, even if only in a few small ways such as incremental power increases due primarily to tuning and requiring premium fuel so that the same powertrain can eek out a few extra horses.

lexus tx 500h rear view

A Sporty 3-Row SUV

Additionally, the F-Sport Premium and F-Sport Luxury trims offer a bit of sports-car-like feeling while the PHEV option adds a very nice bump in overall fuel economy as well as a significant bump in performance over the Grand Highlander. As tested, we had the 500h trim featuring a total of 366 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque from the 2.4L turbocharged DIRECT4 engine running in parallel with the hybrid system. This trim also offers dynamic rear steering, adding somewhat better performance on back roads as we drove past vineyards on the way to St Joseph, Michigan.

These numbers are all good and made for a positive driving experience though, frankly aren't that much more superior to the cheaper (though less sporty) Grand Highlander that "only" gets 362 hp from the same engine, but where gas is going to cost nearly a dollar cheaper per gallon since it doesn't require premium fuel. 

lexus tx side view

Sporty Design vs Luxury Comfort

Sportiness and comfort aren't always side by side but Lexus's F-Sport Performance tries to make it happen here. I didn't love it and would have preferred a generally more luxurious and comfortable experience rather than trying to be something it isn't. I have that same general complaint about all similar trim levels such as the "GT-line" level from Kia. Just give me a great sports experience with copious amounts of performance, or give me a luxury experience ... or do what GMC has done with the AT4X line, where there's no sacrificing between performance and luxury.

That's just me speaking, though. I'm sure there are plenty of people who appreciate a less expensive trim that does both, okay?

awkward door handles

Inside the TX 500h F-Sport the vehicle manifests the new Lexus design language with a tech-forward design that is sleek but frankly felt awkward in parts such as the doorhandles that you need to press ... instead of opening by pulling on them the way I've learned to operate doors for more than 40 years. Maybe this is something that I'd acclimate myself to if I was an owner but it was not a positive experience.

Likewise, as part of the F-Sport design to make the vehicle feel more like a sports car, the seats had a strong bolster on the sides that, for a smaller man, may have been fine .. but I found that for a bigger guy, they were just plain uncomfortable. There were a few other trim issues where I found this pattern as well, and while I enjoyed driving the vehicle, it was absolutely not "big guy friendly," which is a strange thing to say for a reasonably large 3-row SUV.

On the other hand, the middle and rear rows were acceptably spaced, I don't expect any vehicle except for maybe the Sequoa or a Suburban to have rear seats where a full-sized adult would be comfortable, but in the rear seat I did manage to insert myself and an adult male could ride In the back if you were doing a road trip with the guys somewhere just a few hours away.

lexus tx mural

Plenty Of Technology

Lexus engineers love their technology, and so do consumers like myself.  Along with DRS (dynamic rear steering) ... which allows the rear wheels to move in concert with the front ones, making low-speed maneuverability easier and at high speeds helps the vehicle go around curves easier, Lexus also has advanced Adaptive Variable Suspension and assistance to make braking and wheel movements that much more effortless.

It also features a 14" touch screen, seven USB ports, a complete suite of safety tech, and a great set of cupholders that are adjustable to hold pretty much any reasonably sized water bottle or cup firmly without worrying about it jostling around.

lexus tx moving stuff

Cargo Capacity

Along with the three rows of seating that I talked about earlier, the TX offers up to 97 cubic feet of cargo space with all the seats down - more than enough length for us to put bookcases from IKEA in the back and still close the tailgate comfortably. With the third row up, that number drops o 20.2 but that's pretty impressive compared to the ~15 cuft in the CX-90 and only one foot shorter than the Telluride though with all the seats down, the Telluride is 10 cuft smaller in total cargo volume.

Ultimately, these factors make the Lexus TX a fabulous choice for any guys who want style and panache but still need to be able to drag big boxes around in the back of the car. 

We'll take a look at the Grand Highlander next and see how that stacks up. Stay Tuned!