The Lexus RX 350 is one of the most popular luxury SUVs on the market. Its combination of heightened ground clearance, car-like ride, and upscale interiors laid the groundwork for the burgeoning luxury SUV segment.
Still, the RX 350 didn’t have a third row until Lexus introduced a new, elongated variant of the RX 350 dubbed the RX 350L.
You’ll likely see many of these SUVs on the road soon — maybe you’re even looking at new 2018 vehicles and thinking about buying one. Either way, here are a few key things to know about the Lexus RX 350L.
1. Don’t be fooled by the styling.
At first glance, the RX 350 and RX 350L look similar. From the front, there are almost no notable differences. It’s not until you look from the side that you notice an added 4.3 inches of length on the same wheelbase.
This means the third row is gained by extending the cabin over the rear overhang. It’s an added benefit, but getting in and out may be on the tighter side. It’s probably best for the kids to sit in the way back.
2. Captain’s chairs are a space-saver.
The rear bench seats two, yielding a maximum of seven passengers total. The standard seating configuration provides a 40/20/40 split-fold second row with a lever that slides the second row forward and provides access to the third row.
Available second-row captain’s chairs drop the capacity to six, but the chairs fold forward and provide easier access to the third row.
Lexus also claims the rear window angle is steeper to allow for more headroom.
3. The base engine is similar to the RX 350’s.
The base engine will be similar to the standard RX 350: a 3.5-liter V6 making 290 horsepower sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission to available all-wheel drive.
Lexus will also offer a three-row version of its hybrid RX 450h, dubbed the RX 450h L. It utilizes the same V6 engine, but it’s paired with a battery pack, electric power, and continuously variable transmission.
4. It includes some impressive tech.
Lexus packs a lot of technology into the RX 350L, including Bluetooth connectivity, first- and second-row USB ports, and nine speakers. An available navigation package ups the speaker count to 12 and increases the infotainment screen to a massive 12.3-inch unit. It’s controlled via the Lexus Remote Touch interface, a joystick-like controller by the shifter.
Many systems are also operable via the Remote Touch App for smartphones, which allows you to locate your vehicle, start it, lock and unlock doors, and receive status updates.
5. Numerous safety features are standard.
The RX 350L comes with front- and side-impact airbags, a backup camera, traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The vehicle also comes standard with the Lexus Safety System+, which is a suite of high-tech safety gear including forward-collision warning and avoidance with pedestrian detection. This suite also includes lane-departure warning, intelligent high beams, and adaptive cruise control.
Lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring are optional.
6. It has stiff competition.
Base MSRP for the 2018 Lexus RX 350L is $47,670. An all-wheel-drive Luxury trim starts at $54,085. Pricing has not yet been announced for the hybrid variant.
This puts the RX 350L in a competitive field that includes the Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60 from rival Japanese luxury brands. More broadly, it could compete with the Audi Q7, Land Rover Discovery, and BMW X5.