The Lexus RX midsize sports utility vehicle is known to offer high levels of luxury. But now, Lexus has managed to offer a third row of seats in the RX, and is bringing this more spacious SUV to the United States. The Japanese premium carmaker made this announcement upon the launch of the new 2018 Lexus RX L at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.
As Lexus disclosed, the new Lexus RX L will be sold in two flavors: the RX 350L and RX 450hL. These models carry the design of their shorter siblings but are now capable of accommodating up to seven occupants, depending on the seating configuration chosen by the customer. At first, people might see the new RX L as the long wheelbase version of the RX. This isn't surprising, considering the fact that other vehicles usually have their cabin space expanded by lengthening their wheelbase. However, doing so might compromise both maneuverability and styling.
Thus, in the case of the new Lexus RX L, the Japanese premium carmaker didn’t add the third row of seats by lengthening the wheelbase. Instead, Lexus tapped on its expertise in vehicle packaging and extended the length of the body 4.3 inches (110 mm) to the rear, thereby lengthening the rear overhangs. In addition, Lexus had to make sure that third-row occupants still enjoy generous headroom. This was achieved by employing a steeper tailgate window angle than on the two-row RX models. Since the second row is positioned a bit higher than the third row, more foot room is created for rear passengers.
Lexus designed the new 2018 RX L to offer the versatility of an SUV and luxurious comfort of a premium sedan. Its front end is defined by Lexus signature spindle grille as bordered by elegant chrome-plated surround and flanked by, as standard, Bi-LED headlights. The new 2018 RX L could also be specified with available premium LED headlights employing three distinct L-shaped elements per side. The rear end, meanwhile, continues the spindle theme, with the tailgate enveloped by L-shaped LED taillights. On the sides, the C-pillars of the new RX L have blacked out C-pillars for a floating-roof effect. As standard, the new RX L rides on 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels shod in 235/65R18 tires. Two 20-inch wheels are available: Split-Five-Spoke Alloy Wheels with Dark Silver and Split-Five-Spoke Alloy Wheels with SuperChrome and interchangeable painted inserts (requires Luxury Package).
Meanwhile, the 2018 Lexus RX 350L is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 290 hp of max output and 263 lb.-ft. of peak torque, as mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Three driving modes can be picked while on the run: Normal, Sport and the efficient Eco mode. The RX 350L is a front-wheel drive SUV as standard, although the available Dynamic Torque Control All Wheel Drive could be specified.
On the other hand, the 2018 Lexus RX 450hL makes use of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system that employs the D4-S injection 3.5-liter V6 engine with two high-torque electric drive motor-generators. The Lexus Hybrid Drive system delivers 308 hp of combined system output. The RX 450hL is a standard AWD unit with an independent rear-mounted electric motor. Aside from the aforementioned three driving modes, the Lexus RX 450hL adds a fourth – EV mode.
Equipment list for the new 2018 RX L includes a 10-way power front leather seats with power lumbar adjustment, aluminum roof rails, power-folding auto-dimming mirrors with memory and acoustic glass windshield, as well as rear armrest with storage box with two USB ports, Tri-Zone automatic climate control with interior air filter, leather seating surfaces for the first two rows, and leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with integrated audio controls.
Also included in the list are the Lexus Display Audio with 8-inch color multimedia display and nine speakers. The new RX L also comes with power liftgate with optional hands-free operation and power tilt-and-telescopic steering column as well as SmartAccess with push-button Start/Stop. Both the RX 350 L and the RX 450hL share the same standard equipment, but the hybrid SUV has Captain’s Chairs as standard.
The 2018 Lexus RX 350L will have a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $47,670 for the FWD version and $49,070 for the AWD variant. A delivery, processing and handling fee of $995 is excluded from the MSRP.