Lexus TX chief engineer explains decision to differ from Toyota Grand Highlander’s Hybrid Powertrain

Lexus TX (

Lexus’s upcoming 2024 TX and Toyota’s Grand Highlander may share a platform, but they differ significantly in their hybrid powertrains, particularly in terms of output. While Toyota offers a 245-horsepower hybrid option, Lexus’s entry-level TX Hybrid boasts a 366-horsepower 2.4-liter turbo hybrid powertrain. This difference results in a $9,000 price gap between the base (non-hybrid) TX 350 and the TX 500h.

At the launch drive of the TX, Lexus was asked if they would consider a more affordable hybrid variant to bridge the price difference. However, Lexus’s Chief Engineer, Naohisa Hatta, explained that equipping the TX with the entry-level Toyota powertrain was not the right fit for the new vehicle.

Hatta stated, “Lexus is defining performance goals, which is different for each model. The performance [for the hybrid] didn’t meet the needs for TX. The 2.4 is our core, F Sport is for dynamic driving, and the V6 is for luxurious driving with linear characteristics.”

While the Grand Highlander Hybrid features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with two electric motors to produce 245 hp, the TX surpasses its Toyota counterpart in both power and torque. The TX’s gas-only 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder generates 275 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque compared to the Grand Highlander’s 265 hp and 310 lb-ft. Similarly, the TX Hybrid outperforms the Grand Highlander Hybrid, producing 366 hp and 406 lb-ft versus 362 hp and 400 lb-ft.

Lexus also offers a V6 PHEV in the TX, not available in the Grand Highlander, producing 404 hp.

Hatta clarified that while the additional output in the TX is achieved using premium fuel, the drive programs, throttle position, output relationship, body structure, rigidity, and steering are different in the TX compared to the Grand Highlander.

The TX and TX Hybrid are set to go on sale later in the year, with the plug-in TX 550h+ arriving in dealerships in 2024. This marks the first Lexus PHEV to be manufactured in the US, although its eligibility for the $7,500 federal tax credit remains uncertain.