Lexus is extending the length of its popular-selling RX crossover SUV to make way for a third row, giving luxury customers another option as SUV sales boom. Toyota’s luxury brand used the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show to globally debut the 2018 RX 350L and to announce a RX 450hL model.

The 3-row 2018 RX 350L is just 4.3 inches longer than its 5-seat, 2-row sibling. Lexus used creative interior packaging and a steeper tailgate window to fit the third row, which features two seats and a middle area with two cupholders. From the outside, the RX 350L looks only a tad different in the back and from the rear side. Blackened C-pillars makes it look like the crossover’s roof is floating. The rear features L-shaped LED taillights that stretch from the tailgate, into the back side of the utility.

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Cabin seats 6 or 7

When it hits showrooms in December, the RX 350L will be available with a standard 7-passenger configuration and optional 6-passenger setup featuring captain’s chairs in the middle row. Lexus says the new longer RX 350 is a response to customer demand.

The SUV’s slightly higher second row gives more foot room for third-row passengers, who also get their own heating and air conditioning vents. The RX 350L also comes standard with leather-trimmed seating in the first two rows, a power-folding third row and power tailgate. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, with 20-inch wheels optional.

The longer RX also features a standard Lexus Safety System +, which includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent High Beams and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

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Long list of options

Options include Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Braking, Panoramic View Monitor, and full-color Head-Up Display.

The RX 350L base trim has an 8-inch infotainment screen, while a 12.3-inch screen is optional with the Navigation Package. Lexus’ Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect, offering features such as emergency assistance, stolen vehicle notification and driver alerts on factory recommended maintenance, are now free for the first 10 years of RX ownership.

The RX 350L comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine generating 290 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to an electronically controlled, 8-speed automatic transmission. Drivers can choose three driving modes: Normal, Sport and Eco.

The 2018 RX 450hlL hybrid model available in spring 2018 combines the V6 engine with two, high-torque electric motors that produce 308 horsepower. The hybrid system includes a 37-kilowatt nickel metal hydride battery. On the RX 450hL, drivers can select EV mode to drive with electric-only power at low speeds, and for short trips such as while cruising in a large parking lot or scouting for parking in a garage.

The 2018 RX 450hL comes standard with all-wheel drive and seating for six with the captain’s chairs. Options such as heated/ventilated front seats and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert are available.

The 2018 RX 350L starts at $47,670 for a front-wheel drive version ($4,400 higher than the RX 350) and $49,070 for an all-wheel drive model. Prices exclude a $995 delivery fee. Pricing for the RX 450hL hasn’t been released.

 

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