Lexus RX has been a major player in its SUV class in Australia for close to 20 years now. Early in 2018 a stretched seven-seat model was added to the range for the first time. Using the moniker of Lexus RX L its body is 110 mm longer and the roof 10 mm higher than in the ongoing five-seater RX range.
The all-wheel-drive Lexus RX L is sold in two grades, Luxury and Sports Luxury, with features almost identical to their five-seat equivalents. Our test vehicle for the past week has been a Sports Luxury.
The front ends of Lexus models are becoming larger and ever more daring with every new model. The latest RX lines please most buyers, though some still find it a bit over the top. For your information, I finally like it, though it took a while…
The tailgate has a steeper slope than the five-door. This results in a profile with a swooping slope that’s neatly picked out in dark glass and metal and metallic-look details.
One-touch levers on both sides of the Lexus RX L fold and slide the second-row seats forward to give reasonably easy access to the third row. However the area is best used by the junior travellers as oldies may struggle a bit to get in there.
Cleverly, the second row seats are slightly higher than the third row to make good foot room for rear passengers. This does restrict forward view for those right at the back, vision to the side is fine.
A three-zone air-conditioning system provides occupants of all three rows with vents and adjusting controls.
When the 50:50 split-fold third-row seat is in use Lexus RX still has a boot length of 566 mm, so it can cope with a large stroller. At the touch of a button, the third-row seats fold completely flat giving 432 litres of cargo space under the tonneau cover.
Leather-accented trim is used in the first two rows of seats. Sensibly, the third row has durable synthetic coverings.
In the topline Lexus RX L Sporty Luxury there’s a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system and a large, easy-to-read 12.3-inch colour screen. While the controls aren’t as fiddly to use as in some Lexus models, they are still an acquired taste and demand more attention than we like.
These extended Lexus models are powered by either a V6 petrol engine in the 350L, or a petrol-electric Hybrid Drive system in the RX 450hL. Ours was the pure-petrol model mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Active safety features (those designed to prevent or mitigate a crash) include vehicle stability control, traction control, ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, hill-start assist control and low-tyre-pressure warning.
Passive safety items (minimising damage to occupants) in Lexus RX L models are 10 airbags: dual-stage front-seat airbags, front-seat knee airbags, side airbags for the front and second-row seats. The curtain airbags extend to the third-row seats.
There’s a serene luxurious feel inside the Lexus RX L, with top grade materials that impressed all who rode in our test car.
Naturally there’s the quietness and relaxation that has been a hallmark of the Lexus marque since it was launched here in the late 1980s.
You sit further back from the windscreen than in others in this class, but vision ahead and to the side is fine. The big dash somehow gives the feeling you’re well away from the rest of the world.
The topline Lexus seven-seater has adaptive variable suspension. While handling is safe and predictable the vehicle definitely leans to the luxury side of its Sport Luxury title. Which is fine and we are sure it will appeal to the great majority of owners.
Ride comfort is very good and those junior travellers we carted around in the back seat said they loved it back there.
The Lexus 3.5-litre V6 engine keeps on improving with age as engineers fine tune it. It’s near silent when running and the sounds that do come through when it’s worked hard are pleasingly businesslike.
Throttle response is prompt, the automatic transmission was almost invariably in the correct gear and unless you’re travelling really hard the changes are all but imperceptible.
Petrol consumption around town was usually in the nine to eleven litres per hundred kilometres range, which is pretty good for a seven-seat people mover / SUV. On the motorway and in easy paced country running it had no trouble dropping below eight litres per hundred.
Lexus RX L is a beautifully crafted seven-seat passenger wagon that will appeal to those in the $100,000 to $125,000 price range who are looking for something other than a European vehicle.
AT A GLANCE
RX300 Luxury 2WD: $74,251
RX300 F Sport 2WD: $86,551
RX300 Sports Luxury 2WD: $92,701
RX350L Luxury AWD: $84,700
RX350L Sport Luxury AWD: $101,500
RX450hL Hybrid Luxury AWD: $93,440
RX450hL Hybrid Sport Luxury AWD: $110,240
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Lexus for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Lexus RX350L Sport Luxury AWD)
Capacity: 3.456 litres
Maximum Power: 216 kW @ 6300 rpm
Maximum Torque: 358 Nm @ 4600 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 10.6 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 234 g/km
Eight-speed automatic. All-wheel drive
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Wheelbase: 2790 mm
Width: 1895 mm
Height: 1700 mm
Turning Circle: 11.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 2150 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 72 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Four years / 100,000 kilometres