2018 Lexus RX 350L

2018 Lexus RX 350L Review

The 2018 Lexus RX 350L has what the standard RX 350 never did: a third row of seating.
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

While immensely popular, the Lexus RX has always been a five-passenger crossover SUV. In years past, shoppers needing something with a third row had to look at one of Lexus' traditional SUVs, like the LX 570, or shop a different luxury brand entirely. But that changes with this year's stretched-out 2018 Lexus RX 350L.

The 2018 RX 350L is essentially a carbon copy of its two-row sibling, with almost all of the same standard and optional equipment and with many of the same virtues. That means high-quality materials, a quiet interior and excellent build quality. The main difference is the additional third-row seat.

Lexus was able to fit the third row by making the RX 350L 4.4 inches longer than the regular RX 350. That length is all in the back of the vehicle, however; Lexus chose to keep the wheelbase of the RX 350L (the length between the front and rear wheels) the same as the standard RX's. This choice results in both positives and negatives relative to other three-row crossover SUVs.

On the upside, expect the same easy-to-drive nature with the RX 350L. It's not a lumbering beast like Lexus' LX 570 SUV. But the retained wheelbase means Lexus had only so much interior space to squeeze in a third row. Third-row seating is cramped, and adults will have a very difficult time fitting back there. The addition of the third row has also reduced legroom in both the first and second row, and there's only a minimal amount of increased cargo space.

No doubt the 2018 RX 350L, and its hybrid sibling, the RX 450hL, will be very appealing if you've always wanted an RX with the ability to occasionally take on a couple of extra passengers. But for a more dedicated family hauler in the luxury class, you'll likely be more satisfied with one of the RX L's three-row competitors such as the Acura MDX or Volvo XC90.



what's new

The 2018 Lexus RX 350L is an all-new model.

we recommend

The amount of standard equipment on the RX 350L is impressive, but we recommend getting the Luxury trim level. On top of standard equipment such as tri-zone climate control, LED lighting and a power-folding third-row seat, the Luxury trim level adds heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, upgraded leather upholstery, and heated second-row seats. The Luxury trim level is reasonably priced, too, without a lot of superfluous equipment.




trim levels & features

The 2018 Lexus RX 350L is a three-row luxury crossover available in base and Luxury versions. Each comes standard with seven seats, but the second-row bench seat can be switched out for optional captain's chairs, reducing seating capacity to six passengers. Both come standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine (290 horsepower, 263 pound-feet of torque), an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional.

The base 350L model comes with 18-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights and high beams, LED foglights and running lights, rear privacy glass, keyless ignition and entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a 40/20/40-split rear seat and a power-folding third-row seat.

Other standard equipment includes a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, Safety Connect emergency communications, a suite of drive safety aids (the Safety System+ package, including lane departure warning and intervention, and forward collision warning and mitigation with automatic emergency braking), Bluetooth, an 8-inch display screen, a smartphone-integrated navigation system and a nine-speaker sound system.

The Premium package adds roof rails, a sunroof, auto-dimming side mirrors, automatic wipers, driver-seat memory functions, wood trim and a rear-armrest storage compartment. The Navigation package pads on an integrated navigation system, the Remote Touch tech interface, a larger 12.3-inch display, voice controls, the Lexus Enform App Suite and a 12-speaker sound system. The Navigation package is also available with a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.

The Luxury trim level (also referred to as the Luxury package) includes all the base equipment plus the contents of the Premium package, along with 20-inch wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, rear door sunshades, upgraded leather upholstery, four-way lumbar adjustment for the front seats, and heated second-row seats.

Other options include a Cold Weather package, second-row captain's chairs, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and automated braking, a panoramic-view backup camera, front and rear parking sensors, a hands-free liftgate, upgraded LED headlights (with 18 individual LED accent lights), and a color head-up display.



trim tested

Edmunds has not yet driven any version of this vehicle but we have experience with the standard-wheelbase model and have had the opportunity to see the new RX 350L up close, getting a feel for layout, materials quality and interior space. The following is our first take on what's significant about it and what you can expect.

Driving

The RX L is 4.4 inches longer than the standard RX, but we don't expect it to drive much different. Performance will likely suffer a bit, but you can expect smooth acceleration and secure handling.

Comfort

With the same wheelbase as the standard RX, we expect a smooth ride and plush front seats. Third-row legroom, however, is really only suitable for kids; second-row legroom has been decreased by 7.2 inches; and even first-row legroom has dropped by 3 inches. Not a lot of space to move around.

Interior

The RX L's primary virtue is interior quality. The surfaces are soft to the touch with impeccable construction all around. Getting in and out of the first and second row is a breeze, but squeezing into the third row can be difficult because of a small opening and a sleek, low roof.

Utility

The RX 350L is longer, but it doesn't add much utility to the RX formula. It has 58.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the second and third row folded, compared to the standard RX, which has 56.3 cubes behind the first row.

Technology

The base RX 350L comes with quite a bit of tech and safety equipment. It's also available with extras such as a 12.3-inch display and a Mark Levinson sound system. The Remote Touch infotainment interface is distracting to use, however.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.