Lexus finally got around to adding a third row on its RX in 2017, but in China, it’s gone even bigger.
The Japanese brand launched a minivan called the LM at Auto Shanghai in April 2019. Lexus LM is based on the Toyota Alphard, a large people mover aimed at Asian markets.
While the Alphard already had a glistening chrome grille that could add some serious bling to big city skylines, the Lexus version takes it to the extreme with the LM. It uses Lexus’s latest spindle grille design, which uses crisscrossing elements for a more distinctive nose.
Interestingly, Lexus has positioned the LM as a flagship model sitting alongside the brand’s other flagships: the LC coupe, LS sedan, LX SUV and LY Yatch. This means there’s plenty of luxury on board, including a 26-inch screen display, a Rolls-Royce-style umbrella storage bin, an available chiller compartment, and the choice of two reclining rear seats that replace the two rows of seats in the standard setup.
Available in both front- and all-wheel drive, there are two engine offerings, the LM 350 with a 3.5-litre petrol V6, or the LM 300h with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid set-up.
Buyers can opt for the traditional three-row, seven-seat layout but by doing so will miss out on a handy touch-screen control pad slotted between the two quilted leather-trimmed, power-adjustable seats, which recline far enough to enjoy a solid sleep.
The new Lexus LM will be available first in China, and top-shelf models could be priced as high as $A200,000 after import duties are added. It’s been designed predominantly for the Chinese market, where wealthy people like to travel in style in the back seat.
Of course, luxury people movers and mini vans are nothing new. Mercedes-Benz’s V-class produces plenty of them and Volkswagen has some well-appointed versions of its Multivan that are more about leather and luxury than the seat count.
There’s little chance the LM will make its way to Australia. The minivan segment here is rather small and dominated by just a few vehicles.
Instead, Lexus will focus on expanding its crossover and SUV offerings for our market as the vehicles command premiums and enjoy popularity on these shores.