Once upon a time, buyers seeking three-row seating in a vehicle could either choose a minivan or a large SUV. Lexus is the latest automaker to bring the elusive third row to something a bit smaller (and arguably a bit cooler if you’re not a fan of minivans) with the new RX L models, where the L stands for long. Or longer. We’re not exactly sure, but we do know the manufacturer has done an admirable job of adding more seats without spoiling the lines of its popular RX 350 and RX 450h.
How exactly did Lexus achieve such a feat? To quote the manufacturer directly, it was done “through the mastery of vehicle packaging,” which in this case means making the crossover bigger. Specifically, the rear was extended 4.3 inches and the tailgate window points skyward a bit more. The result is a bit more headroom and leg room for a pair of passengers to sit in the back, and we do mean the very back. As to exactly how much space is gained, Lexus doesn’t specify. But the third row is said to be as comfortable as the second, which would be a big deal if that’s actually the case.
Further supporting that claim is a second row that’s raised slightly from the standard model, offering a bit more clearance for feet and legs. In standard configuration, the second-row bench uses a 40/20/40 split with rear access gained via a lever that slides and folds the second row forward. Second-row captain’s chairs are optional on the 350L and standard on the 450hL, which offers easier ingress/egress and more space, but that of course reduces your seven-passenger vehicle to six. In any case, rearmost occupants enjoy their own climate controls and cupholders, and if people space needs to become cargo room, the third row will power-fold to provide a flat floor. A hands-free power tailgate is also optional.
The third row is available on both the RX 350L and and RX 450hL hybrid, the former of which can be equipped either as front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Power for the RX 350L comes from the familiar 3.5-liter V6 producing 290 horsepower (216 kW) and 263 lb-ft (356 Nm) of torque, while the RX 450hL retains its standard all-wheel drive with 308 combined horsepower and dual electric motors. Either model can be outfitted with a range of options, safety systems, and driving assists, as well as five different levels of the company’s Enform services.
Pricing for the RX 450h L hasn’t been announced, however the RX 350 L will start at $47,670 for front-wheel drive models, and $49,070 for all-wheel drive.
Gallery: 2018 Lexus RX 350L, RX 450hL
Lexus RX Drivers Now Have the Power of Three (Rows)
New RX L provides luxury and logistical liberty
Choice of Six- or Seven-Passenger Models
• Available with V6 Gas or Hybrid Powertrains
• Power-Fold Third Row Seat Standard
• Leather Trimmed Seating on First Two Rows and Tri-Zone Climate Control Standard
• Optional Hands-Free Power Tailgate
LOS ANGELES – Nov. 29, 2017 – Families will now be able to enjoy more space with their luxury utility vehicle thanks to the new three-row Lexus RX L models. The RX created the luxury crossover segment 20 years ago and has reigned supreme as the most popular luxury utility vehicle on the market. The 2018 RX 350L and RX 450hL models retain their stylish figures, but now offer the choice of six or seven-passenger capability.
Once in dealerships, the RX 350L will have a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $47,670* (FWD) and $49,070* (AWD).
Function and Fashion
With the new RX L models, Lexus drivers will now have the option of a third row without compromising the sleek styling and easy maneuverability that they have long valued. With help through the mastery of vehicle packaging, Lexus extended the body length 4.3 inches (110 mm) at the rear and used a steeper tailgate window angle than on the two-row models – ensuring good headroom for third-row passengers.
The standard seven-seat version uses a 40/20/40 split bench-type second row seat. Access to the third row is made easy with the touch of a lever that slides and folds the second seat forward. The available six-seat configuration features second-row captain’s chairs that make third-row ingress/egress easier with “walk-in” convenience.
Lexus designed the third row of the RX L models to offer the same comfort and luxury as in the middle row. The positioning of the second row is slightly higher than the third row, creating more foot room for rear passengers. Standard leather-trimmed upholstery is standard for the first and second rows, in the choice of Black, Stratus Gray, Parchment or Noble Brown. A tri-zone climate control system gives third-row passengers separate heating and air conditioning vents, and for convenience, a power-folding third-row seat and power tailgate are both standard on the RX L models.
Details that enhance three-row versatility in the RX L models include a flat load floor behind the folded third-row, two third-row cupholders, an easily stowable tonneau and covered slide rails.
Lexus Signature Design
The 2018 RX L models offer the same award-winning safety, style, luxury and performance as the two-row versions. The LUV trend-setting combination of SUV versatility and luxury sedan-like comfort comes packaged in the brand’s dramatic mix of sharp creases and curves. The Lexus signature spindle grille, a focal point, is set off by an elegant chrome-plated surround and standard Bi-LED headlights. Available premium LED headlights use three unique L-shaped elements per side.
The RX L models’ elegantly blacked-out C-pillars create a floating-roof effect. The spindle theme repeats at the rear, with L-shaped LED taillights enveloping the tailgate and wrapping into the rear fenders. Available 20-inch wheel designs enhance the powerful-looking stance. All ten RX L paint colors feature a scratch-resistant self-restoring coat, using a high-performance macromolecular polymer.
In the 2018 RX L models, the full-length side curtain airbags cover all three rows. The standard Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beams and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Braking are also available. Panoramic View Monitor is an optional feature.
RX 350L: 290-Horsepower V6
The 2018 Lexus RX 350L offers plenty of power to go with its six- or seven- passenger cabin and added cargo capacity. The 3.5-liter V6 employs the advanced D-4S fuel injection system, which combines direct and port fuel injection systems. To maximize efficiency, Variable Valve Timing – Intelligent Wide (VVT-iW) is used on the intake camshaft, along with VVT-i on the exhaust camshaft, allowing the engine to switch between Otto and Atkinson combustion cycles.
The result is 290 hp and 263 lb.-ft. of torque, with performance and efficiency optimized by an eight-speed automatic transmission. Use of regular-grade gasoline is a boon to customer value. Using Drive Mode Select, the RX 350L driver can exert more control by choosing from among three driving modes. Normal provides an ideal everyday balance of performance and energy conservation, Sport puts an edge on powertrain responsiveness and Eco mode operates the powertrain at its most efficient level.
As on the two-row RX 350, the RX 350L is available with front-wheel drive or available Dynamic Torque Control All Wheel Drive. Under normal cruising conditions, the system engages front-wheel drive to help reduce fuel consumption.
Continuously taking input from various sensors (such as wheel speed, engine RPM, steering angle, throttle opening angle and yaw rate), Dynamic Torque Control AWD actively governs torque distribution to the rear wheels using an electromagnetically controlled coupling in the rear differential. When the vehicle is accelerating, the system automatically shifts to AWD to help prevent front-wheel slippage. While cruising, the system reverts to FWD, and when sensors detect wheel slippage, it can vary front to rear torque distribution from 100:0 to 50:50. The 4.2” TFT multi-information display conveys torque-distribution status (front to rear, and side to side).
RX 450hL Hybrid with AWD
Luxury buyers seeking an eco-advanced family three-row vehicle will find the ideal travel mate in the 2018 Lexus RX 450hL. The Lexus Hybrid Drive system pairs the D4-S injection 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two high-torque electric drive motor-generators, producing 308 combined system horsepower for strong acceleration and passing performance.
The standard AWD system is unique. Instead of transfer gears and a driveshaft to the rear wheels used on the RX 350 AWD models, an independent rear-mounted electric motor drives the rear wheels when needed to help maintain optimal traction.
In the RX 450hL, the Drive Mode Select system adds a fourth mode, EV, that enables the vehicle to drive under electric power at lower speeds for short distances. It’s an excellent way to navigate a large parking lot or garage, or to run a local errand.
Ride and Handling
All onboard the 6- or 7-passenger 2018 Lexus RX L models will experience the same luxuriously smooth, quiet ride as the two-row models offer. Front strut and rear double-wishbone type suspension systems ensure agility and exemplary ride compliance over all types of surfaces. Electric Power Steering (EPS) yields a light and comfortable steering feel with excellent feedback.
Impeccable Cabin Design and Luxury
The RX L cabin is designed with impeccable details, including form-fitting seats, and the available richly finished wood trim (Premium and Luxury Packages) that curves gently up from the center console toward the glove box.
Available interior ornamentation includes Matte Bamboo, Espresso Walnut, Matte Linear Dark Mocha Wood, Striated Black Trim (standard) and laser-etched Gray Sapele Wood with Aluminum. For the Striated Black Trim on the base model, a glossy black three-dimensional embossed pattern is applied to create a high-quality film design with a sense of depth. An available full-color Heads-Up Display (HUD) incorporated into the design of the instrument panel can project key information on the windshield to help the driver focus on the road.
From powerful audio to cutting-edge displays, the multimedia choices available for the 2018 Lexus RX L models cover all needs. The standard Display Audio system includes an eight-inch screen, HD Radio™, Scout GPS Link, Bluetooth® audio, voice recognition, an AUX mini jack, two USB ports and nine speakers. The driver will find frequently used switches placed close at hand for convenience. Middle-row USB ports enable passengers to use and charge their own multimedia devices.
The Navigation Package upgrades to a 12-speaker premium audio system. Also included, the 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display offers a full-screen navigation map or can provide simultaneous access to audio or climate controls and various systems; as well as the mouse-like Remote Touch Interface.
The 2018 RX L models offer audiophile-quality mobile sound with the available 835-watt, 15-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround System in conjunction with the navigation system. Advanced Clari-Fi™ compressed music restoration technology instills new life into digital music files.
The new three-row RX L models join the two-row, five-seat RX versions that continue for 2018. All RX models now offer Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect complimentary for the first 10 years of vehicle ownership. Both were previously offered with a one-year trial.
With the new RX 450hL Hybrid, the most powerful and most fuel-efficient RX model, owners will still reap the benefits of the two-row model, such as optional heated/ventilated front seats and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
• 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine.
• 8-speed Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i).
• Available Active Torque Control AWD system uses an electronically controlled coupling ahead of the rear differential to vary torque distribution anywhere from 100:0 to 50:50 front to rear, depending on driving dynamics and road conditions.
• Lexus Hybrid Drive with 3.5-liter V6 engine, Motor Generator 1, Motor Generator 2 and a planetary-type electronic continuously variable transmission.
• 308 total system horsepower.
• Standard AWD with independent rear electric motor-generator.
• 37 kW nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) hybrid battery.
• A number of cutting-edge technologies enhance structural rigidity, including high-tech body adhesives and laser screw welding; liberal use of high-tensile strength steel throughout the vehicle, and annular frame construction for strengthened frame sections around the front and rear doors.
• 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 235/65R18 tires
• Two 20-inch wheel options: Split-Five-Spoke Alloy Wheels with Dark Silver and Machined Finish; Split-Five-Spoke Alloy Wheels with SuperChrome and Machined Finish and Interchangeable Painted Inserts (requires Luxury Package)
• Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System, Lane Keep Assist with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beams and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
• Available Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Braking.
• For 2018, all RX and RX L models offer Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect complimentary for the first 10 years of vehicle ownership.
• 10 SRS airbags including dual-stage and dual-chamber driver’s and front passenger airbags; driver’s and front passenger knee airbags; front side airbags; rear side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags for all three seat rows.
• 4-sensor, 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRAC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Hill-start Assist Control
• Additionally, Smart Stop Technology automatically reduces engine power when there is simultaneous application of the brake pedal and accelerator pedal under certain conditions.
• Active front headrests help to reduce the severity of a whiplash injury in the event of certain types of lower speed rear collisions.
• Panoramic View Monitor (optional)
• 10-way power front leather seats with power lumbar adjustment.
• Memory settings standard (mirror, seat, steering wheel)
• Aluminum roof rails
• Power-folding autodimming mirrors with memory
• Rear armrest with storage box with two USB ports
• Acoustic glass windshield
• Customizable vehicle settings, including personal door-lock preferences, interior/exterior light adjustments, driver’s seat Easy Exit, and window-closure settings
• Tri-Zone automatic climate control with interior air filter
• Leather seating surfaces (first and second row)
• Leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with integrated audio controls
• Lexus Display Audio with 8-inch color multimedia display and 9 speakers
• Power liftgate with optional hands-free operation
• Power tilt-and-telescopic steering column
• SmartAccess with push-button Start/Stop
• Subscription-free Traffic and Weather updates via HD Radio™
The RX 450hL enjoys the same standard equipment as the 350L, with the added feature of Captain’s Chairs as standard.
Luxury Options (Highlights)
• Premium Package with moonroof and wood trim.
• Luxury Package includes contents of Premium Package plus 20-inch super chrome wheels, heated maple steering wheel, semi-aniline leather trimmed seating, manual rear door sun shades, LED ambient illumination, four-way power lumbar, cushion extender, laser-cut gray Sapele wood with aluminum and LED illuminated door sills.
• Navigation Package with 12.3-inch display, Remote Touch Interface, advanced voice control, Lexus Enform® App Suite, Lexus Enform® Destination Assist, HD Radio with iTunes® Tagging and more.
• 15-speaker Mark Levinson® Surround Sound system (with Navigation Package).
Connected Technologies The 2018 Lexus “Model” offers five available Enform services for enhanced convenience:
• Complimentary now for the first ten years, Lexus Enform Safety Connect includes an Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), Roadside Assistance, Automatic Collision Notification, and Stolen Vehicle Notification. The Lexus Enform response center operates 24/7/365. • Lexus Enform Service Connect (complimentary 10-year subscription now included), enables the LS to send alerts for specific factory recommended maintenance, simultaneously alerting a preferred Lexus retailer.
• With Lexus Enform Remote (one-year trial subscription included), the customer can remotely view and control certain aspects of the vehicle using a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Once registered, the app can operate remote door lock/unlock; remote stop/start for the engine and climate control; vehicle finder, guest driver monitor, and more.
• The complimentary Lexus Enform App Suite app offer access to favorite mobile applications through the vehicle’s center console display, including Pandora®, iHeartRadio, Slacker and Yelp (with Navigation Package). • Lexus Enform Destination Assist (complimentary for one year) acts as an in-car personal concierge, providing directions and destinations delivered by a live agent (with Navigation Package).
• 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles.
• 72 months/70,000 miles powertrain and restraint system coverage.
• 72 months corrosion perforation protection coverage, regardless of mileage.
• Hybrid System Warranty coverage is for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first, and covers the following components: hybrid control module, hybrid battery control module, hybrid battery and inverter with converter.
*MSRP does not include a delivery, processing and handling fee of $995.