Just as compact SUVs are gaining in popularity, it seems that at the other end of the segment, there is also growing demand for longer SUVs with an extra row of seats. Lexus has heard this from customers and dealers and has now come out with a new variant of the RX which is longer and has three rows of seats. It’s the first time the model – designated RX L – has a 3-row variant which can now take up to 7 occupants.
The additional row of seats has been incorporated by extending the overall body length another 110 mm. However, the sleek profile (not something that was used in descriptions of SUVs in earlier years) has not been lost. However, the rear end (which is where the extra length has been added) has a steeper steeper tailgate window angle than on the two-row models. This is to ensure good headroom for passengers in the third row.
Access to the third row is easy with the touch of a lever that slides and folds the second seat forward. An optional 6-seat configuration features second-row ‘Captain’s chairs’ that make third-row entry/exit easier with “walk-in” convenience.
In some SUVs, the third row is not comfortable as the seats have been ‘forced’ in rather than being specifically designed as part of the packaging. Not so with the new RX L, claims Lexus, as the same comfort and luxury are the same as being in the middle row. The positioning of the second row is slightly higher than the third row, creating more foot room for rear passengers.
To ensure that the people right at the back stay cool and comfortable, there’s a tri-zone climate control system with separate air conditioning vents. Other details that enhance three-row versatility in the RX L include a flat load floor behind the folded third-row, two third-row cupholders, an easily stowable tonneau and covered slide rails.
In most markets, the RX L has full-length side curtain airbags cover all three rows. The Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent High Beams and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Braking and a Panoramic View Monitor are also available.
Depending on the market, the RX L can be ordered with a 3.5-litre V6 engine or Lexus Hybrid Drive. It’s not known if this variant will also be available with the 2-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.