The 2018 Lexus RX L aims to rectify that. Debuting at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, it’s the first three-row RX Lexus has ever made. It’s the kind of vehicle that should appeal to large families who are too style conscious to buy a minivan, and gives Lexus an answer to rivals like the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, and Infiniti QX60 that already offer three rows.
To make room for that all-important third row, Lexus stretched the RX body by 4.3 inches and made the tailgate window angle steeper to provide extra headroom for backseat passengers. All RX L models get a power 40/20/40 split-folding third-row bench seat. A seven-seat configuration is standard, but buyers can also swap out the second-row bench for a pair of captain’s chairs. This reduces seating capacity to six, but probably makes things more comfortable for second-row passengers and makes third-row access easier.
The RX L is mechanically identical to the two-row RX, meaning buyers get a choice of standalone V6 and hybrid powertrains. The RX 350L uses a 3.5-liter V6 that develops 290 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional, and an eight-speed automatic transmission is offered with both.
The RX 450hL also uses a 3.5-liter V6, but this time paired with a version of Lexus parent Toyota’s hybrid system. Total system output is 308 hp and all-wheel drive is standard. As in the two-row RX hybrid, the all-wheel drive system uses an additional electric motor to power the rear axle, with no mechanical connection to the front axle.
Tech features also mirror those of the two-row RX. The available Lexus Enform Remote app lets owners lock and unlock the doors, start the engine, find the car in a crowded parking lot, and monitor who else is driving the car from a connected iOS or Android smartphone. All RX models come standard with Lexus Safety System+, which includes lane keep assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic braking are optional, along with a head-up display and 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.
The 2018 Lexus RX 350L starts at $48,665 with front-wheel drive and $50,065 with all-wheel drive (both prices include a mandatory $995 destination charge). Pricing for the hybrid model will be revealed at a later date.