Sometimes the best place to hide something is in plain sight, especially if people aren’t quite sure what they’re looking for. While a great approach for picture books, the secrecy of a new car launch means this tactic is rarely implemented in the automotive industry. Maybe someone forgot to tell Lexus? Yes, the Japanese luxury marque might’ve pulled a Where’s Waldo with the Lexus TX large crossover more than a year ago, and we just didn’t know it at the time.
Back in February of 2022, Lexus unveiled its big electrification plan with rendering of no fewer than 13 cars. While some, like the electric sports car concept, are far-off fantasies, six vehicles were shrouded in shadow. Given the context of the image, it was easy to assume that all vehicles involved were pure EVs, but subsequent events show that isn’t the case.
Take this crossover, for example. Roughly two months after Lexus’ big EV announcement, the marque unveiled the new RX crossover, and it looks identical to the fourth vehicle in the back row. Available with a variety of hybrid powertrains, the new RX can’t be had as an EV, which means this entire row of vehicles could just be hybrids.
Now let’s jump to the Lexus TX. It should essentially be a posh version of the Toyota Grand Highlander, a large three-row crossover with two hybrid powertrains on offer. If we mess around with the lighting in this rendering and compare the result to the official teaser of the Lexus TX, we’ll find that everything visible in both pictures matches. The greenhouse, the D-pillar treatment, the taillight silhouette, even the surfacing around the rear wheel arch. There’s every possibility that this 16-month-old rendering shows us the entire TX, but there’s also the possibility that Lexus thought ahead.
Lexus is owned by Toyota and back in late 2021, the popular Japanese car brand held a big EV day showing off a ton of future products. One of these vehicles is a pickup truck that should look awfully familiar if you’ve been following the world of car news over the past week. It’s virtually identical to the new Tacoma, save for one thing: The grille. Nothing says electric like a largely blanked-out grille, so that’s what the concept got.
If we turn our attention back to the Lexus rendering, it’s hard not to notice the absence of a gaping grille. After all, Lexus is now known for building cars that look like The Predator, first embracing what it calls the spindle grille more than a decade ago. While the RZ 450e electric crossover shows a certain willingness to change, it’s possible that the production-spec TX might not feature the same front fascia seen in this rendering. Still, the details that match give me the confidence to say that the Lexus TX may have been dangling under our noses since early last year. If that turns out to be the case, good job Lexus. You had us all fooled for a second.
(Photo credits: Lexus, Toyota)
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