2018 LEXUS RX 350L AWD 

How important is the Lexus RX nameplate? Very important. When you introduce a mid-size luxury SUV and take the category by storm for almost 20 years, you better believe Lexus is going to figure out a way to expand on it’s success. One of the consistent knocks on the RX was the lack of a third row. Welcome in the 2018 Lexus RX 350L with an added third row – a first for the RX line.

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Pros:

  • Sporty drive even with the longer and heavier body
  • Corners and maneuvers easily with smooth acceleration
  • Quiet ride
  • Delightful interior
  • There’s a third row! (See next bullet below.)


Cons:

  • Third row seating is cramped (almost 5” less than next nearest competitor, Acura MDX and 8.5” less than segment leader, Volvo XC90) — not “adult friendly”
  • Added third row significantly reduces rear cargo space (when seats are up)
  • Slow folding seats
  • Poor rear visibility, major blindspot

As of 2018, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto not yet offered

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Luxury trim

Our test model came equipped with the Luxury trim which delivers a whole host features that make the Lexus name proud. Some of the premium features included standard tri-zone climate control, standard LED lighting, standard Power-folding third row seat, standard rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth, 12.3” navigation system with Mark Levinson 15-speaker premium audio, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, upgraded leather upholstery as well as heated second-row seats, and rear door sunshades. It also included roof rails, sunroof, auto-dimming side mirrors, automatic wipers, driver-seat memory functions, wood trim and a rear armrest storage compartment and 20-inch Superchrome alloy wheels.

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Interior

While this is the first 7-passenger RX350, the third row is absolutely dismal for adults. Sure, you’ll probably be using the third row on rare occasions or for the smallest of your humans (or their friends), but in the off-chance you’re the designated driver for an all-adult hang, your friends will be opting for the roomier alternative. Or they’ll be cursing your name before you arrive at your first destination.

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Third row disappointments aside, the interior is all Lexus. And that is a very good things. It has a sharp, well-designed interior with wide, plush seats. As with any Lexus, there are plenty of soft touch materials and premium appointments throughout the cabin. The center console has added stitching around the edges, wood trim that curves up the passenger side of the console and an infotainment screen that is perfectly placed for optimal viewing to the driver (top of the dash).

There are ample controls….controls for audio and climate controls. Detailed selections for the infotainment system are accessed via a mouse-like controller. I found the Remote Touch controller better than the touchpad control but not by much.

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Exterior

The RX L retains the basic RX 350 design but when compared side-by-side, it is obviously bigger, by 4.5 inches to be exact. This does give the 2018 RX 350L more cargo space than it’s smaller RX 350 sibling when the third row is folded down. Overall exterior styling is crisp but nothing too jaw-dropping. Chiseled lines combined with sharp edges and a double-trapezoid grille make the RX350L’s design consistent within the Lexus SUV/CUV design family.

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Engine

The 2018 Lexus RX 350L uses the same 3.5-Liter, V6 engine as the normal RX 350 and is mated to an 8-speed transmission delivering 290 hp and 263 lb. ft. of torque (slightly lower than the standard RX 350). The shifts are smooth and steering is nimble when pushed to perform. It is a plush ride and will certainly deliver comfort but don’t expect a thrill ride. EPA-estimated fuel economy comes in at 18 mpg/city, 25 mpg/hwy and 21 mpg combined

 

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Safety

Our 2018 RX 350L test vehicle included Lexus Safety System+which comes with forward collision warning and lane-keep assistance. Both RX and RX L come with an Enform Safety Connect subscription (a telematic service like OnStar that provides emergency assistance) for 10 years of ownership. This system will also alert you of the vehicle’s location in the unlikely event that the car is stolen.

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Pricing

Our 2018 RX 350L Luxury edition came in at a $54,085 base and topping out at $62,660 with an blind spot monitoring w/rear-cross traffic braking / intuitive park assist and panoramic view monitor, triple-beam LED auto leveling headlights, 12.3” navigation system with Mark Levinson 15-speaker premium audio (and delivery and processing).

2018 Lexus RX350L

To find out more about the new 2018 Lexus RX 350L, visit your local Lexus dealer or at https://www.lexus.com/models/RX.

 See you on the road,

 Fabian