2018 Lexus RX 350 L Review

By Anqoinette Crosby


In our review of the 2018 Lexus RX 350, we raved the sleek sport utility represents an exceptional blend of sophistication, practicality, and flexibility. In fact, its luxurious yet minimalist cabin could be featured in a high-end modern design magazine. While already spacious enough to competently haul an assortment of furniture finds with its two-row seating and cargo area flexibility, Lexus has gone a step farther by adding the three-row, RX L model to the Lexus RX family. 


Though the standard Lexus RX and the L are practically identical, there is one major difference. The standard RX is smaller and seats five people, while the RX L seats up to seven. Lexus accomplished this by adding 4.4 inches of interior space accommodate a third row. As commendable as this is, that third row’s seating should be mandated for smaller children only.


On the other hand, the RX L offers 16.3 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 33.4 with it folded away and 70.7 with both rows folded flat. Enhancing that capability is a power-operated liftgate and rear privacy glass to obscure precious items from would-be interlopers. 


Even with this added utility, the RX L is just as fashionable as its shorter sibling. The Lexus is elegant enough to ferry you to black-tie galas in the city, but it also functions as a hefty hauler for school-aged children. In fact, when it comes to serving families the RX 350L is more than capable of accommodating kids, groceries, appurtenant accessories and the family dog—all at the same time. You can run several errands on the way to collect the kids from school, confident you can bring everyone and everything home in one trip.


The RX L is offered in either base or Luxury versions. Each comes with some wiggle room for seating versatility. Replacing the second-row bench for the optional captain’s chairs ups the elegance factor, but your seating capacity goes down to six.


The base RX 350L comes with a slew of tech and safety equipment such as automatic LED headlights and high beams, LED fog lights and running lights, rear privacy glass, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and a power-folding third-row seat. Other standard equipment includes a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, and a suite of drive safety aids in which you’ll get forward collision warning, lane departure warning and intervention and mitigation with automatic emergency braking.


Step up to our RX 350 L AWD tester with the Premium and Navigation packages and you’ll get a sunroof, driver-seat memory functions, auto-dimming side mirrors, automatic wipers, and a handy rear-armrest storage compartment. The Navigation package gives you voice controls and a 12-speaker sound system, along with an integrated navigation system, and a 12.3-inch display loaded with Lexus’ Enform app system.


Sadly though, the loosey-goosey inaccuracy of the Lexus Remote Touch infotainment controller employed to operate it diminished the experience. On the other hand, the premium materials on display throughout the hospitable interior evoke a calming atmosphere, one that is also quiet due to Lexus’ superb sound insulation. It’s apparent that the RX L was built for a smooth yet engaging driving experience.


For motivation, the RX 350 L uses the same 3.5-liter V6 as the regular RX 350, but with slightly lower output ratings of 290 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts into gears with ease.  It comes standard with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional. As for EPA estimates, you should expect to see about 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.


Starting price for the Lexus RX 350L is $47,770.

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