2018 Lexus RX 350L review: A compromised three-row crossover

    The RX 350 is the golden goose of the Lexus lineup. After debuting 20 years in the past, the luxury crossover trailblazer has change into the top-selling mannequin within the Lexus lineup — to not point out the best-selling luxurious car, full cease. That kind of success is one thing all automakers are foaming on the mouth to emulate.

    With a agency grip on the five-passenger luxurious crossover area, Lexus now turns its consideration to the three-row crossover class with an extended RX 350L, which sellers have been clamoring for to tackle the likes of the Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60.

    Filling a void

    Up till now, the one strategy to get a Lexus crossover or SUV with three rows of seats was with the body-on-frame GX or gargantuan LX, leaving a large void within the lineup for a extra compliant unibody crossover able to carrying seven. Enter the stretched RX 350L using on the identical 109.Eight-inch wheelbase because the standard RX 350, however with a further Four.Four-inches of size added behind the C pillars to accommodate one other row of seats in the best way again.

    The RX 350L’s additional size comes behind the rear doorways.

    Jon Wong/Roadshow

    The outcomes are, properly, cozy. Accessing the rearmost seats is not the best, although the second row does slide ahead to assist make getting out and in barely extra manageable. As soon as again there, with a view to present even a sliver of legroom, the center row cannot be moved very far again, which really limits leg area for each rows of rear seats. Actually, folks intending on utilizing each rear rows of seats will solely be capable of carry babies.

    A not-so-usable third row is the results of the RX not being developed from the start to accommodate seven passengers. The rear door openings weren’t designed for folks stepping into and out of a 3rd row and the best way again seats themselves are comically cramped as a result of they have been by no means speculated to be there. As an alternative, it is an afterthought that comes with main packaging trade-offs.

    Is there any silver lining to the RX 350L? Sure, for individuals who want to hold greater than 5 passengers as soon as, in an awesome whereas, for very quick distances. However the greatest profit is further area to hold stuff. With rear seats folded down, the common RX 350 provides 56.Three cubic toes of cargo area, whereas the RX L packs 70.7 with each rows of backseats stowed. That stacks up favorably to the MDX’s 68.Four cubic toes of area, however is behind the QX60’s 76.2.

    Legroom within the RX 350L’s third row is not precisely plentiful.

    Jon Wong/Roadshow

    A trademark Lexus

    Exterior the additional physique size behind the rear doorways and compromised third-row seats, the longer RX L appears and operates like a standard RX. The distinctive spindle grille stays the design focus with robust physique strains jetting off of it. The cabin is a properly remoted oasis from wind and highway noises boasting soft seats and high quality supplies like comfortable leathers and trendy matte bamboo trim.

    The Enform infotainment system’s big 12.Three-inch heart show, excellent-sounding 12-speaker audio system, navigation and Bluetooth techniques are redeeming qualities, however the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities are a significant disappointment. In fact, the mouse-like Distant Contact controller interface stays the only greatest strike towards Enform — it is distracting to make use of whereas driving and makes switching between menu screens and coming into navigation locations extra time consuming than it must be. Fortunately, Lexus does retain giant commonplace rotary knobs for quantity and radio tuning.

    Ahead collision warning with auto emergency braking, adaptive cruise management, lane-departure warning with lane-keep help and auto excessive beams are commonplace on all RX 350Ls and work as marketed. My tester can be outfitted with elective blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The latter proves helpful numerous instances in parking heaps warning me of each automobiles and pedestrians when backing up out of spots in parking heaps.

    Snug seats and good supplies, however Distant Contact stays a significant inside subject.

    Jon Wong/Roadshow

    Clean operator

    Just like the regular RX, the RX 350L is powered by a Three.5-liter V6 working an eight-speed automated gearbox. Entrance-wheel drive is commonplace, however my tester makes use of all-wheel drive. Oddly, energy is down 5 horsepower in comparison with the standard RX for 290, however torque is similar at 263 pound-feet, returning an estimated 18 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 25 mpg on the freeway. Lexus claims the RX 350L AWD hits 60 miles per hour in a plausible Eight.1 seconds. In stop-and-go motoring, launching from stops is sluggish with the automotive in Regular mode, however livens up in Sport with the engine and transmission at all times working in clean style.

    Additionally clean is the experience. It is well-damped general, taking up the largest bumps and ruts that Midwest roadways have to supply. The extra forgiving suspension offers strategy to some roll by means of corners and steering is flippantly weighted and void of any suggestions. However the RX is not sloppy because of vast Michelin Premier LTX 235/55R20 tires providing respectable grip. It is merely a reliable, comfort-focused luxurious crossover.

    How I would spec it

    My excellent Lexus RX 350L can be an all-wheel drive mannequin to raised take care of Midwest winters, which begins at $49,170, not together with $1,zero25 for vacation spot (the front-wheel drive RX L is available in at $47,770). To proceed the theme of chilly climate preparation, I will add a $150 heated steering wheel, in addition to $640 heated and ventilated entrance seats, although that improve requires me to additionally spec a $810 Premium Bundle that provides a moonroof and fancy inside trim. Since I am an enormous fan of blind-spot monitoring, I need that, and it comes packaged with rear cross-traffic braking and park help for $1,065. All in, my RX 350L stickers for $52,760. My take a look at automotive, in the meantime, punches in at $56,865.

    Lexus additionally provides the longer RX in 450hL guise, for $50,720, and with commonplace all-wheel drive. It makes use of a V6 engine and electrical motor to ship a mixed 308 horsepower, and is estimated to return 31 mpg metropolis, 28 mpg freeway and 30 mpg mixed.

    Not prepared for prime time

    The excellent news is that Lexus now provides a unibody three-row crossover. The dangerous information is that it isn’t very practical to maneuver greater than 5 folks with the rearmost seats shoehorned into the again as an afterthought. Rivals just like the MDX and QX60 designed from the bottom as much as have a 3rd row are merely higher and extra sensible packages.

    Lexus sellers and prospects must be altering their request and asking the Japanese luxurious automaker for a legit three-row crossover that was conceived from the start. As an alternative they get the RX 350L, which is known as a five-passenger crossover masquerading as a seven-passenger entry.

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