The Lexus RX is one of the first and still most popular luxury crossover SUVs in its segment, but it historically has lacked one thing that competitors like the Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60 has, a third row. With the new 2018 Lexus RX 350L, Toyota’s luxury division has addressed this deficiency, as Micah Muzio explains in this Video First Look.

2018 Lexus RX L Video Transcript

The Lexus RX essentially dominates the mid-size luxury SUV sales charts but it could be more dominant. To help make that happen Lexus has introduced the RX L. You probably noticed this doesn't look much different from the standard RX but bust out the side-by-side imagery and yes, the L is slightly longer, 4.3 inches to be specific. That extra length has been tastefully grafted to the RX L's rear, which if you're wondering shares the same wheelbase as the standard RX.

What's this 4.3 inches get you? A slightly steeper rear window, two more seats, and slightly more luggage space. Lower its standard power third-row and cargo space behind the RX L's second row handily tops the regular RX, an advantage that drops to about two cubic feet with all the seats folded. Speaking of the RX L's rear seats, a quick analysis reveals a notable lack of legroom versus the competition.  

But numbers do not always tell the entire story let's see how I fit in the third row. I don't fit in the third row. Hey Tim, can you sit in the second row for me? How much leg space do you have? Can you can you move up at all? Cuz my knees are touching the seat back. This doesn't work...okay it works if we needed to get somewhere. We could get somewhere like this, but it's not pleasant.

Adult-worthy it is not, but for occasional kid-use the RX L's third-row could work. Interestingly, adding a third row to the RX has squeezed second-row legroom from 38 inches to a cozy behind its previously mentioned competition. With the second row slid to the most forward position, this is as much leg room as I have. I'm also told that the second row sits up a little bit higher than in the 5-passenger RX, so there's a little more foot space beneath here. So, my feet do technically slide underneath the second row but my knees are just jammed into the seat back. Not great. Oh, climate controls!

You might also be wondering if the RX L drives differently than the original two row RX. Nope. To be somewhat more incisive the RX 350 L uses the same V6 as the RX 350 but weighs about 240 pounds more and that weight has an effect on performance. A modest effect. Acceleration from 0 to 60 in the RX L is 2/10ths of a second slower than in the regular RX. I'm not sure I'd noticed the difference from the driver's seat and I get paid to do this. Also, I get paid to occasionally jump RX Ls.

Like the RX, the RX L can tow 3500 pounds, though the L's extra heft does reduce city and highway efficiency by one mpg. I suppose you might also detect the extra weight of the L during aggressive cornering but as an RX buyer I don't know how that affects you. See I don't own the RX, that's why I can drive so aggressively. Seven seats of fury.

Starting at $48,665, including destination charges, the front-wheel drive RX 350 L costs $4,400 dollars more than a two-row RX 350. When it arrives in dealerships, the RX 450h L hybrid will cost fifty-one and a half thousand dollars and come exclusively with all-wheel drive and a 6- seat cabin that's optional on the gasoline-powered RX 350 L.  If you love the Lexus RX and based on sales numbers you probably do the RX L with his occasional use third-row seats and expanded storage space might make it a winner. But if you want a luxury midsize 3-row SUV with truly usable seating in all rows, you've got better choices. Oh, hai! 

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