The world is full of incurable romantics and hopeful dreamers who can’t let go of the notion that a once-torrid love affair when two became one is now over, finito, kaput, irretrievably broken, divorce finalized. It seems that Theophilus Chin, the self-described Automotive Manipulator is one of those who, even in the face of overwhelming and irrefutable evidence, refuses to believe that the Toyota Harrier and the Lexus RX have gone their separate ways and will never again be one and the same. (Might once conjoined but now separated twins have been a better analogy?) Anyhoo, when confronted with the unlikely rumor (seemingly started by Anita Lienert of Edmunds.com) that the 4th-generation Lexus RX would debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, Mr. Chin rhetorically asked “Is it going to be a Toyota Harrier with Lexus’ spindle grille as depicted in this rendering?” and then proceeded to…um… render what you see above. Our answer to his question is a clear and unequivocal NO. Mr. Chin’s artistic talent is undeniable, the Lexus spindle grille nose and Harrier body mashup is seamlessly done, and he may well have captured the essence and general look of the upcoming 4th-generation Lexus RX, but DON’T take it as a literal illustration of what to expect.
As if we hadn’t strongly made our case back in July 2013, stay with us as we explore further compelling arguments that, superficial appearances notwithstanding, the current and upcoming Toyota Harrier and Lexus RX are too far apart for the sort of convergence some folks still stubbornly cling to. When we wrote that 2013 piece, Toyota hadn’t revealed the 3rd-gen (XU60) Harrier’s dimensions, but Wikipedia tells us that it sits on a 2660 mm (104.7″) wheelbase and utilizes the New MC platform, just like the Lexus NX and the Toyota RAV4. In contrast, the current Lexus RX sits on a 2740mm (107.9″) wheelbase and utilizes the larger K platform. Theophilus Chin cites a WorldCarFans article as the source that inspired his 31 December 2014 rendering, but did he notice its passage that “…executives have previously suggested the (4th-gen) RX will grow in size to help distance itself from the NX”? Making the new RX simply a renosed Harrier, as that rendering suggests, would not only shrink it, but would be tantamount to making it nothing more than a rebodied NX with V6 engines!
Six days after Mr. Chin “manipulated” his RX prediction, photographs of an actual 4th-gen Lexus RX test mule surfaced on the Netherlands’ AutoWeek.nl (no relation to the similarly-named U.S. publication). Although little detail is truly discernible, the “A” pillar/outside rearview area (as shown above) is notably different from the Harrier’s.
Perhaps the aesthetic relationship between the 3rd-gen Toyota Harrier and the upcoming 4th-gen Lexus RX will echo that of Toyota’s Mark X ZiO (upper right) and Venza (lower right) models. Although similar-looking and even similarly-sized (the Venza is 96mm/4″ longer and 120mm/5″ wider on a 5mm/0.2″ shorter wheelbase than the Mark X ZiO), the Mark X ZiO, if Wikipedia is correct, is among the largest of the New MC platform cars (its wheelbase is identical to that of the Prius v), whereas the Venza is built on the next-size-up K (or Camry) platform.
While we’re addressing 4th-gen Lexus RX fallacies here, let’s add that rumored 2015 Detroit Auto Show debut to the list. As the Lexus GS F world debut press conference came and went, it turned out that the so-called second “new” vehicle was nothing more than an encore appearance by the RC F GT3 Racing Concept that we first saw at last year’s Geneva Motor Show in early March and at Las Vegas’ SEMA Show this past November. There was, however, a very compelling reason for its latest major public showing: the announcement of the Lexus Racing initiative to spearhead the company’s first global racing effort, a subject we’ll be discussing in depth in a future Kaizen Factor story.
We’re still expecting a 2015 calendar year premiere for the new RX, though. Geneva in early March, New York in early April, Frankfurt in mid-September, Tokyo in late October and Los Angeles in mid-November remain as the likeliest major auto show venues. We’re betting on the Big Apple…