Sometimes it’s not about reinventing the wheel, but about improving it. The Lexus RX 350L simply builds on its predecessor’s greatness.
- Year, make, model: 2019 Lexus RX 350L
- Engine: 3.5-liter V6 with 295 horsepower
- Seating capacity: Seven
- Car seat anchors: Two
- EPA-estimated MPG (as tested): 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. (24 mpg combined)
- Price (as tested): $47,770 ($52,655)
- Related vehicles we’ve tested: Lexus RX 350 F Sport, Lexus RX 450h, Toyota Highlander
- In a nutshell: The RX 350L offers families the convenience of three rows without stretching the size of the vehicle to outrageous proportions, keeping the driving and parking experience relatively simple. While not the most comfortable for adults or long rides, the third row comes in handy more often than not. As far as the rest of the RX, it’s just as good as its two-row cousin.
Our Time Behind the Wheel
The standard-issue SUV for many suburban families was recently awarded a third row of seats courtesy of a minor body stretch. Luckily, the cosmetic surgery needed to make room is pretty hard to notice, so the RX retains its high-tech and luxurious look without looking like a Japanese version of the Chevy Suburban. The extra capacity in the back may not be anyone’s preferred method of transportation, but we all know how handy those extra seats can come in when family is in town or when picking up extra kiddos from school.
The interior of the Lexus RX 350 is identical to the one we’ve experienced in the 350 F Sport and 450h (hybrid) before, so no news on that end. The cabin is refined, almost everything is wrapped in leather, and almost every surface can be heated or cooled. Sadly, our pricey tester skipped the heated steering wheel option, so that was kind of a bummer during cold mornings. The second row is also heated, but the third isn’t. In addition, parents with multiple toddlers will be disappointed to know that Lexus did not install lower seat anchors in the third row, potentially limiting the car seat capacity to just two.
The driving experience is quintessential Lexus, meaning that the suspension is buttery smooth, the steering is soft, and the cabin is extremely quiet—almost too quiet. The seats are comfortable and all the controls are within reach, even if the infotainment controls quite complicated to operate. However, the footlong screen does come in handy for navigation purposes once you figure out how to use it.
Considering Lexus basically kickstarted the luxury SUV segment two decades ago, it’s no surprise the RX is a joy to drive and a breeze to operate. If what you’re looking for is a three-row SUV that looks good, drives good, is safe, and doesn’t gulp too much fuel, this is a mighty fine option. Sure, you’ll have to shell out a bit more cash than you would for a comparable vehicle from Ford, Chevy, or even Toyota, but the RX truly stands out in terms of design and ride quality. The fact that it now offers room for seven it’s just a bonus.