2018 Lexus RX L's Got Back: SUV Gains Third Row

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Competes with: Acura MDX, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Cadillac XT5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, Volvo XC90

Looks like: Sir Mix A Lot’s take on the current RX

Powertrains:

  • RX 350L: 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 with 263 pounds-feet of torque; eight-speed automatic transmission; standard front-wheel drive, available all-wheel drive
  • RX 450hL: 3.5-liter V-6 gas engine and two electric motors for 308 combined system hp; continuously variable automatic transmission; standard all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: January 2018 for the RX 350L, spring of 2018 for the RX 450hL

Debuting at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show are two stretched-out variants of the Lexus RX SUV, the 2018 RX 350L and 2018 RX 450hL. The added length is used to fit in a third row of seats for the RX, which expands seating capacity to six or seven passengers depending on second-row configuration.

Related: More 2017 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

Front-wheel-drive versions of the 2018 RX 350L will start at $48,665, with all-wheel-drive models starting at $50,065 (all prices include destination charges). Lexus says pricing information on the 2018 RX 450hL will be released closer to that vehicle’s on-sale date in the spring.

Exterior

To accommodate the third row of seats, the RX 350L and 450hL add 4.3 inches of length. The rear windshield also gets a more vertical orientation to allow for more third-row headroom, something rear passengers will appreciate. This changes the appearance of the vehicle’s rear: The C-pillars are still blacked out to provide the floating roof aesthetic, but the added length has also elongated the dipping roofline. We’ll see how that impacts visibility for third-row passengers when we get into it at the show.

Interior

Buyers will have a choice between six- and seven-seat versions of the RX 350L, with a second-row bench or captain’s chairs. The 450hL comes with captain’s chairs standard. A power-folding third row and power liftgate come standard on all models.

Lexus says that the third row sits lower than the second row to give those passengers enough room for their feet to fit under the second row. The second-row bench has a fold-and-slide feature for third-row access, while the captain’s chairs offer “walk-in” access — we’ll have to test this feature ourselves to see exactly what that means.

Under the Hood

The RX 350L features a 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 263 pounds-feet of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive comes standard. All-wheel drive is optional.

For the RX 450hL, power comes from a 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine and two electric motors that produce 308 combined hp. The hybrid features a continuously variable automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive.

Safety

The side curtain airbags have been extended to cover all three rows of seats. Lexus Safety System Plus is standard and includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams. For 2018, Lexus has also expanded its Enform Safety Connect system. It now includes an emergency assistance button, roadside assistance, stolen vehicle location and automatic collision notification up from a one-year to a 10-year subscription (this applies to two-row versions of the RX, as well).

Lexus says the RX 350L will be available in January 2018, while the RX 450hL will go on sale in the spring of 2018.

Editor’s note: This story was updated Nov. 29, 2017, to reflect pricing for the RX 350L and RX 450hL.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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Former L.A. Bureau Chief Brian Wong is a California native with a soft spot for convertibles and free parking. Email Brian Wong

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