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Lexus RX 350L and RX 450hL: LA Auto Show


author photo by Doug DeMuro November 2017

What Is It?

It's a 3-row version of the Lexus RX luxury crossover, and all we can say is: FINALLY! Lexus first debuted the RX crossover in 1999, and most of the RX's rivals -- including its closest rival, the Acura MDX -- have always offered 3-row seating. But not Lexus -- even though the Toyota Highlander, on which the RX is based, has come standard with 3-row seating for years.

Finally, that's changed for 2018. The standard 2-row Lexus RX remains on sale, but now there's a new option: the Lexus RX 350L and the RX 450hL, with the "L" presumably standing for "long" -- a reference to the crossovers' longer overall lengths, which accommodate the third-row seat. As with the standard RX, the RX 350L uses a gas-powered 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, while the RX 450hL offers a 308-horsepower hybrid version of the same engine.

Aside from the rear seats and the added length (the "L" models grows by 4.3 inches to accommodate the seats), little is changed. Third-row access is granted by a lever that slides the second row forward, and the second-row seats are placed a little higher than the third row to increase third-row leg room. Additionally, the steep angle of the RX's rear end has been flattened to allow for more headroom. Otherwise, the RX "L" has the same features as before, the same powertrains and, mostly, the same styling.

Lexus also used this year's Los Angeles Auto Show to debut a less-expensive version of its full-size LX 570 SUV, which -- perhaps coincidentally -- drops its third-row seats. The 2-row LX has more cargo capacity than the 3-row model (which will still be offered), and Lexus may view it as a rival to the Range Rover and the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, both of which only offer 2-row seating. The new entry-level LX is cheaper than those models, however, with a starting price of $86,175 -- about $5,000 less than the current LX 570.

How Much?

Lexus has not yet announced pricing for the RX 350L and the RX 450hL -- but we expect only a slight bump over the standard RX models for the extra seats. The 2018 RX 350 starts around $44,000 with shipping, while the 2018 RX 450h starts around $47,000 -- a substantial decrease from last year's base price of around $54,000.

When Can You Get It?

Early 2018

Add It to Your Shopping List Because…

If you've been waiting for a Lexus crossover with 3-row seating, it's finally here. Although Lexus has offered 3-row seating in two other SUVs -- the GX and the LX -- those are full-size models with old-school, truck-like body-on-frame designs, and they don't match the car-like ride and handling experience many shoppers want. The 3-row RX finally answers the call for a version of the RX crossover that can appeal to a broader audience, as it'll be popular with families who want a more upscale brand (and vehicle) than a standard Toyota Highlander.

Other Cars to Consider

Acura MDX -- The recently updated Acura MDX offers three rows of seats as standard equipment, as it has since 2001. Like the RX, the MDX touts excellent technology and reasonable pricing.

Infiniti QX60 -- The Infiniti QX60 is a midsize luxury crossover with 3-row seating and a focus on comfort, interior room and equipment over sportiness and performance. It touts a smooth, quiet ride and reasonable pricing.

Volvo XC90 -- The Volvo XC90 boasts excellent styling and amazing new technology, along with one of the quietest rides in the industry. Three-row seating is standard on most models, and the XC90 offers a solid, substantial feel.

Used Mercedes-Benz GLS -- If you're looking for even more space than you can get in the RX 350L and the RX 450hL, consider the Mercedes-Benz GLS. It's a full-size luxury crossover, but it touts 3-row seating and some cargo space, even with all seats in place. Prices are high, though, so you may have to consider a used model.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Lexus RX 350L and RX 450hL: LA Auto Show - Autotrader