Long lux­ury

New Lexus mod­els are larger and ever more dar­ing

Albany Extra - - Motoring - Ewan Kennedy

Lexus RX has been a ma­jor player in its SUV class in Aus­tralia for close to 20 years now.

Early in 2018, a stretched sev­enseat model was added to the range for the first time.

Us­ing the moniker of Lexus RX L, its body is 110mm longer and the roof 10mm higher than in the on­go­ing five-seater RX range.

The all-wheel-drive Lexus RX L is sold in two grades, Lux­ury and Sports Lux­ury, with fea­tures al­most iden­ti­cal to their five-seat equiv­a­lents.

Our test ve­hi­cle for the past week has been a Sports Lux­ury.

The front ends of Lexus mod­els are be­com­ing larger and ever more dar­ing with ev­ery new model.

The lat­est RX lines please most buy­ers, though some still find it a bit over the top.

For your in­for­ma­tion, I fi­nally like it, though it took a while.

The tail­gate has a steeper slope than the five-door. This re­sults in a pro­file with a swoop­ing slope that's neatly picked out in dark glass and metal and metal­lic-look de­tails.

One-touch levers on both sides of the Lexus RX L fold and slide the sec­ond-row seats for­ward to give rea­son­ably easy ac­cess to the third row.

How­ever, the area is best used by the ju­nior trav­ellers as oldies may strug­gle a bit to get in there.

Clev­erly, the sec­ond row seats are slightly higher than the third row to make good foot room for rear pas­sen­gers. This does re­strict for­ward view for those right at the back, vi­sion to the side is fine.

A three-zone air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tem pro­vides oc­cu­pants of all three rows with vents and ad­just­ing con­trols.

When the 50:50 split-fold thirdrow seat is in use Lexus RX still has a boot length of 566 mm, so it can cope with a large stroller.

At the touch of a but­ton, the third-row seats fold com­pletely flat giv­ing 432 litres of cargo space un­der the ton­neau cover.

Leather-ac­cented trim is used in the first two rows of seats.

Sen­si­bly, the third row has durable syn­thetic cov­er­ings.

In the topline Lexus RX L Sporty Lux­ury, there’s a 15-speaker Mark Levin­son sound sys­tem and a large, easy-to-read 12.3-inch colour screen.

While the con­trols aren’t as fid­dly to use as in some Lexus mod­els, they are still an ac­quired taste and de­mand more at­ten­tion than we like.

These ex­tended Lexus mod­els are pow­ered by ei­ther a V6 petrol en­gine in the 350L, or a petrol­elec­tric Hy­brid Drive sys­tem in the RX 450hL. Ours was the purepetrol model mated to an eight­speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

Ac­tive safety fea­tures (those de­signed to pre­vent or mit­i­gate a crash) in­clude ve­hi­cle sta­bil­ity con­trol, trac­tion con­trol, ABS brakes with elec­tronic brake-force dis­tri­bu­tion and brake as­sist, hill­start as­sist con­trol and low-tyre­pres­sure warn­ing.

Pas­sive safety items (min­imis­ing dam­age to oc­cu­pants) in Lexus RX L mod­els are 10 airbags: dual-stage front-seat airbags, front-seat knee airbags, side airbags for the front and sec­ond-row seats.

The cur­tain airbags ex­tend to the third-row seats.

There’s a serene lux­u­ri­ous feel in­side the Lexus RX L, with top grade ma­te­ri­als that im­pressed all who rode in our test car. Nat­u­rally, there’s the quiet­ness and re­lax­ation that has been a hall­mark of the Lexus mar­que since it was launched here in the late 1980s.

You sit fur­ther back from the wind­screen than in oth­ers in this class, but vi­sion ahead and to the side is fine. The big dash some­how gives the feel­ing you're well away from the rest of the world.

The top-line Lexus seven-seater has adap­tive vari­able sus­pen­sion.

While han­dling is safe and pre­dictable, the ve­hi­cle def­i­nitely leans to the lux­ury side of its Sport Lux­ury ti­tle, which is fine and we are sure it will ap­peal to the great ma­jor­ity of own­ers.

Ride com­fort is very good and those ju­nior trav­ellers we carted around in the back seat said they loved it back there.

The Lexus 3.5-litre V6 en­gine keeps on im­prov­ing with age as en­gi­neers fine tune it. It’s near silent when run­ning and the sounds that do come through when it’s worked hard are pleas­ingly busi­nesslike. Throt­tle re­sponse is prompt, the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion was al­most in­vari­ably in the cor­rect gear and un­less you're trav­el­ling re­ally hard the changes are all but im­per­cep­ti­ble.

Petrol con­sump­tion around town was usu­ally in the 9-11L/100km range, which is pretty good for a seven-seat peo­ple mover/SUV.

On the mo­tor­way and in easy paced coun­try run­ning it had no trou­ble drop­ping be­low eight litres per hun­dred.

Lexus RX L is a beau­ti­fully crafted seven-seat pas­sen­ger wagon, which will ap­peal to those in the $100,000-$125,000 price range who are look­ing for some­thing other than a Euro­pean ve­hi­cle.

The all-wheel-drive Lexus RX L is sold in two grades, Lux­ury and Sports Lux­ury, with fea­tures al­most iden­ti­cal to their five-seat equiv­a­lents.

Pic­tures: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

Leather-ac­cented trim is used in the first two rows of seats.

The lat­est RX lines please most buy­ers, though some find it a bit over the top.

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