Hoping to sway more folks into its popular midsize crossover, Lexus showed off a stretched version of the RX 350 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Lengthening the body by 4.3 inches, the longer RX, now called the RX 350L, can haul up to seven passengers. The wheelbase is the same as the two-row version of the RX 350, but the longer Lexus adds standard three-row climate control to help keep the rearmost passengers happy. The RX 350L also lets folks choose between the standard seating for seven with a middle-row bench seat or six with middle-row captain’s chairs.
Drivetrain options carry over from the two-row version, with the 3.5-liter V6 sending 290 hp and 263 lb-ft of twist to the front wheels on standard issue cars. All-wheel drive is optional but will set you back $1,400. Lexus also offers the longer version of its RX SUV with a hybrid driveline: The RX 450hL adds two electric motors into the mix — netting 18 hp over the standard 3.5-liter V6 for a grand total of 308 hp.
Any Lexus RX discussion has to start with the exterior shape. The floating roof, the edgy sheetmetal, the square-ish wheel wells, the front end — love it or hate it, you gotta admit that is one hell …
Absent a longer wheelbase, you may be curious where Lexus found space for its third row: It’s been carved out of the cargo area. With the third row present, cargo space is on the tight side, with enough space for maybe a stroller or a couple of carry-on suitcases. Of course, putting the seats down will give you a spacious place to haul groceries or spare parts for chief engineer Takeaki Kato’s Japanese endurance race car.
Lexus says the RX 350L will be hitting dealer lots in January as 2018 models, with a starting price tag of $48,665 (including destination). With more and more people shifting to three-row crossovers, adding some extra seats to the RX seems like a natural move.