I’m coming to you from the 3rd row of a Lexus RX. And this is the first time anyone’s been able to say that because after years of pleading, Lexus has finally answered the call for an additional 2 seats in their most popular SUV.
For a company that does so well with the Highlander it’s curious that this new RX L hasn’t happened sooner. But now it’s here and available as the V6-powered 350L in front or all-wheel drive or like this, the 450hL with the gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain exclusively with 4-wheel traction. Pricing starts at $48,795 including delivery. That equates to a $4,200 premium over the 5-passenger RX for what amounts to an additional 4” in vehicle length and seating for up to 7 depending on the 2nd row configuration. A bench-style seat is an alternative to these captain’s chairs.
But if you’re thinking this is a Lexus Highlander, you’d be wrong. Despite the stretched body and steeper tailgate design, the RX L provides less passenger and cargo volume and thus loses 5” in 3rd row legroom to its Toyota counterpart. By every interior measure, this Lexus is smaller and it’s not even close.
So, about this 3rd row; it’s really small. And I’m talking total kids’ fodder here and even then they’d better be the smaller ones in their grade. Now, the mechanisms in place to configure the various seats are very good but I don’t believe this is the 3rd row RX owners have been clamoring for.
The 3rd row seats are power controlled from the rear or the 2nd row so that’s smart. And the captain’s chairs slide, recline and easily get out of the way for access to the back seats. But unless those riding in the 2nd row are willing to move all the way up there’s virtually no legroom in the 3rd row. It does get its own climate controls and there’s clever underfloor storage for items like the tonneau cover. And on occasions when you’re using all 3 rows and still need to haul stuff, there’s some space here to still do that.