If you’re taking a long road trip, you want that ride to be as comfortable as possible, in a vehicle that you can count on to get you there safely, so I was pretty excited when given the chance to review the Lexus RX350L on my recent birthday trip down to the beach.
Most people are well aware of the sweet, luxurious perks of the Lexus RX, but the RX L adds a little something (or a lot, depending on your point of view) with a third row. The actual vehicle length isn’t all that different, though—just 4.4 inches longer. We’ll come back to why that’s good and bad later.
The driver and front row passenger are definitely sitting pretty in extremely comfortable leather chairs…and there’s no disputing that the Lexus RX L offers a super quiet ride. It’s ideal for long commutes or road trips like the adventure I just took.
Beyond the comfort, the 12.3-inch infotainment display on the dashboard is probably my second favorite feature of the RX L. It’d be even cooler if it folded flat when the vehicle was turned off, then folded back up when the vehicle turns on, but I admit that’s more of a James Bond type feature that may be something for the cars of the future. It does play a prominent role on the dashboard, though, and is super easy to read without being distracting. The image on that screen of the backup camera is frame-worthy. However, the mouse-style controller remote touch that controls it takes a bit of a learning curve. That’s a little frustrating to figure out while you’re driving, so you may want to master it while still sitting in the driveway.
As for how the vehicle handles, there are no complaints whatsoever. The RX 350L has a 3.5-liter V6 engine and 290 horsepower. The 8-speed automatic transmission easily shifts and this crossover offers super smooth steering. A six-hour drive in the RX L is as comfortable as a six-hour sit on my couch at home, other than the not being able to kick my feet up on the coffee table part. Another big perk—the advanced safety features on the Lexus RX L come standard. And the cargo area is wide and spacious, and easy to load.
Now, back to that third row I touched on earlier. It’s great if you MUST have seven seats–which we didn’t for our little journey—but keep in mind that making room for the back row means less room in the middle. The people sitting in that third row are going to need to have little legs. That’s just the bottom line—plus, it’s not easy to get in and out of that third row. Yes, that middle row seat can slide, but it’s still tricky getting back to the very last row. Again, it’s great to have three rows if you really need to get seven people in the vehicle, but if you want to truly appreciate the comfort that comes with this ride, you’re going to want to stick to the four or five passenger arrangement (depending on whether you do captain’s chairs or a bench there).
You’ll also pay a little more for the third row. The RX L pricing starts at $47,670 a couple thousand dollars more than the five-passenger model of the same year.
Don’t let the handful of negatives spoil your opinion of the overall ride, though. It’s probably the most comfortable crossover I’ve ever been in, and I’ve reviewed many, and it’s super classy to boot. To me, it’s not a question of whether you’ll want it…it’s a matter of who you’ll want to take with you on your road trips.
Check it out in this quick video I put together from my adventures in the Lexus.
(Note to readers: I drove the Lexus for one week for the sake of this review. I was not otherwise compensated and my opinion remains my own.)
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