2018 Lexus RX L review with video

 

The basics:

Starting price: $66,050 + tax
As tested: $66,050 + tax
Average fuel economy over a week: 11.5 (20 US MPG)
Competitors: Acura MDX, Buick Enclave, Infiniti QX60, Mazda CX9, etc.

Hard to believe it’s been two decades since the Lexus RX first jumped onto the scene. And since then, it has grown to become the best selling choice in the company’s line-up. But maybe the RX wasn’t quite enough for you. Perhaps you need a bit more cargo space, maybe a third row, and yet you don’t want to go whole hog to the more expensive, much larger, much more truck-like GX or LX choices from Lexus. Well, the company has come up with a whole new solution for 2018, the RX L. It’s just over four inches longer but carves out seating for seven (kind of). Take a look at our video above or the report card below for our take on this latest addition to the Lexus family.

Pros:
– While that extra bit of length does add an extra 11-thousand dollars onto the starting price compared to the base trim of the regular RX, we also have a higher level of standard equipment. As tested this week, we have the most bare bones version of the RX L and there’s really not much I’m missing. But if you want second row climate control, wireless phone charging, a heads up display or higher grade leather seats – you’ll need to fork out an extra $6,000 for the Executive package
– Unlike RX L’s south of the border, Canadian versions all include all wheel drive
– Aside from the slightly longer tail, you’re going to find a very similar car to the regular RX: great Lexus build quality, high end materials all through the cabin, a super quiet ride at 61 decibels at 100 kms/hr, and a huge 12.3 inch infotainment system screen
– Powertrain-wise it’s the same 3.5 litre V6 we’ve seen in the RX for a while. But it actually cranks out five fewer horsepower – 290 of them. I wouldn’t call it a screaming performer but it’s plenty eager enough for its intended home – city driving, a bit of highway cruising and towing up to 3500 pounds. And it all gets pumped through a smooth and refined 8 speed automatic transmission

Cons:
– There are some dimensions in the RX L that really have me scratching my head. First up, cargo capacity. The regular RX measure out 695 litres behind the second row. The RX L sits at 650 litres. Despite the extra size, it’s actually got a smaller boot! I guess all those third row seats have to be stored somewhere
– Our standardized trunk test fits just fine but flip that third row up with the standard-equipped motorized seats and we couldn’t even close the trunk, largely because the stroller couldn’t make the squeeze
– By the way, those motorized seats take an eternity (15 seconds up or down) and they had me wishing for a good old manual option instead
– And once that third row is up, it reveals perhaps the tightest jumpseat we’ve ever tested. Headroom is a squeeze even for Devon at 5’7 and there is literally zero legroom unless you rob Peter to pay Paul and slide the second row seats forward
– Here-in lies the other issue… to make way for the third row, the RX L has pinched-up on second row space – taking what was a fairly spacious second row and trimming back a very significant 7 inches of space compared to the regular RX. That makes our rear facing car seat test closer than we’d like to see in a car in this segment – 28 inches from the back of the front passenger seat to the glovebox
– The things I don’t love about the interior? Well, I find the seats too flat-bottomed and unsupportive but some people swear by them. To me, the analog clock occupying the centre of the dash detracts from and clashes with an otherwise very modern looking car, and the weird mouse-like controller for scrolling through the infotainment system is finicky and time-consuming to use
– Now, those extra seats add just under 250 extra pounds to the RX L and that makes it marginally thirstier according to Lexus. We’re averaging a fairly lack lustre 11.5 L/100 kms over a week of mixed driving. If fuel economy is paramount though, you can splurge out on the RX L hybrid. But that adds over $11,500 more to your price tag

Family Wheels report card:
Family Wheels driver comfort score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 4/5 (61 dB at 100 kms/h)
Family Wheels performance score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 3/5
Family Wheels trunk score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 3/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels value score: 3/5

Family Wheels overall score: 35/50= 70%

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