2018 Lexus RX 350L Review
While immensely popular, the Lexus RX has always been a five-passenger crossover SUV. In years past, shoppers needing something with a third row had to look at one of Lexus’ traditional SUVs, like the LX 570, or shop a different luxury brand entirely. But that changes with this year’s stretched-out 2018 Lexus RX 350L.
2018 Lexus RX 350L Review
The 2018 RX 350L is essentially a carbon copy of its two-row sibling, with almost all of the same standard and optional equipment and with many of the same virtues. That means high-quality materials, a quiet interior and excellent build quality. The main difference is the additional third-row seat.
Lexus was able to fit the third row by making the RX 350L 4.4 inches longer than the regular RX 350. That length is all in the back of the vehicle, however; Lexus chose to keep the wheelbase of the RX 350L (the length between the front and rear wheels) the same as the standard RX’s. This choice results in both positives and negatives relative to other three-row crossover SUVs.
On the upside, expect the same easy-to-drive nature with the RX 350L. It’s not a lumbering beast like Lexus’ LX 570 SUV. But the retained wheelbase means Lexus had only so much interior space to squeeze in a third row. Third-row seating is cramped, and adults will have a very difficult time fitting back there. The addition of the third row has also reduced legroom in both the first and second row, and there’s only a minimal amount of increased cargo space.
No doubt the 2018 RX 350L, and its hybrid sibling, the RX 450hL, will be very appealing if you’ve always wanted an RX with the ability to occasionally take on a couple of extra passengers. But for a more dedicated family hauler in the luxury class, you’ll likely be more satisfied with one of the RX L’s three-row competitors such as the Acura MDX or Volvo XC90.
what’s new on 2018 Lexus RX 350L
The 2018 Lexus RX 350L is an all-new model.
we recommend buying 2018 Lexus RX 350L
The amount of standard equipment on the RX 350L is impressive, but we recommend getting the Luxurytrim level. On top of standard equipment such as tri-zone climate control, LED lighting and a power-folding third-row seat, the Luxury trim level adds heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, upgraded leather upholstery, and heated second-row seats. The Luxury trim level is reasonably priced, too, without a lot of superfluous equipment.
2018 Lexus RX 350L trim levels & features
The 2018 Lexus RX 350L is a three-row luxury crossover available in base and Luxury versions. Each comes standard with seven seats, but the second-row bench seat can be switched out for optional captain’s chairs, reducing seating capacity to six passengers. Both come standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine (290 horsepower, 263 pound-feet of torque), an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional.
The base 350L model comes with 18-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights and high beams, LED foglights and running lights, rear privacy glass, keyless ignition and entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a 40/20/40-split rear seat and a power-folding third-row seat.
Other standard equipment includes a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, Safety Connect emergency communications, a suite of drive safety aids (the Safety System+ package, including lane departure warning and intervention, and forward collision warning and mitigation with automatic emergency braking), Bluetooth, an 8-inch display screen, a smartphone-integrated navigation system and a nine-speaker sound system.
The Premium package adds roof rails, a sunroof, auto-dimming side mirrors, automatic wipers, driver-seat memory functions, wood trim and a rear-armrest storage compartment. The Navigation package pads on an integrated navigation system, the Remote Touch tech interface, a larger 12.3-inch display, voice controls, the Lexus Enform App Suite and a 12-speaker sound system. The Navigation package is also available with a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.
The Luxury trim level (also referred to as the Luxury package) includes all the base equipment plus the contents of the Premium package, along with 20-inch wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, rear door sunshades, upgraded leather upholstery, four-way lumbar adjustment for the front seats, and heated second-row seats.
Other options include a Cold Weather package, second-row captain’s chairs, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and automated braking, a panoramic-view backup camera, front and rear parking sensors, a hands-free liftgate, upgraded LED headlights (with 18 individual LED accent lights), and a color head-up display.
2018 Lexus RX 350L trim tested
Edmunds has not yet driven any version of this vehicle but we have experience with the standard-wheelbase model and have had the opportunity to see the new RX 350L up close, getting a feel for layout, materials quality and interior space. The following is our first take on what’s significant about it and what you can expect.
2018 Lexus RX 350L driving
The RX L is 4.4 inches longer than the standard RX, but we don’t expect it to drive much different. Performance will likely suffer a bit, but you can expect smooth acceleration and secure handling.
2018 Lexus RX 350L comfort
With the same wheelbase as the standard RX, we expect a smooth ride and plush front seats. Third-row legroom, however, is really only suitable for kids; second-row legroom has been decreased by 7.2 inches; and even first-row legroom has dropped by 3 inches. Not a lot of space to move around.
2018 Lexus RX 350L interior
The RX L’s primary virtue is interior quality. The surfaces are soft to the touch with impeccable construction all around. Getting in and out of the first and second row is a breeze, but squeezing into the third row can be difficult because of a small opening and a sleek, low roof.