Lexus RX350L

A seven-seater mid-sized cross­over was a gap which Lexus needed to fill. A gap where the brand was los­ing ground to a host of lux­ury and stan­dard ve­hi­cle sup­pli­ers.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

For Lexus, the an­swer was sim­ple: take a con­ven­tional two row model, add about four and a half inches, stretch the rear win­dow line and add two elec­tri­cally-fold­ing-at-the-pushof-a-but­ton seats. Those spend­ing up­wards of $100,000 on a cross­over prob­a­bly aren’t go­ing to have the need to use seven seats, which is just as well. If you’re go­ing to have seven seats, wouldn’t you make the seats suit­able for peo­ple rather than bone-free Mup­pets? Never mind that any child ban­ished to ‘the naughty seats’ is go­ing to re­ward you re­ally well by get­ting car­sick be­cause they have a win­dow smaller than an ipad to look out of. The idea of a nor­mal-sized adult get­ting through the un­for­giv­ing rear door with the slop­ing roof line to the rear­most seats? No, just no. The sec­ond-row seats do of­fer some se­ri­ous rear squab ver­sa­til­ity with bril­liant lean an­gles to en­sure your sec­ond seat pas­sen­gers are go­ing to en­joy a very re­lax­ing trip. And yes, there are charge ports there for those es­sen­tial items needed on long road trips. No one has a lousy seat in the sec­ond row of the Lexus, with the lack of a trans­mis­sion tun­nel af­ford­ing good leg-space. Even with all three seats oc­cu­pied, there’s space back there for ev­ery­one. And be­hind them of course, is a huge amount of cargo space that is gen­er­ous to the nth de­gree and se­cure too with the cargo blind that’s tucked away in the un­der­floor cubby. But how well does it do up the front? Well, you’ve got a big pow­er­plant un­der that re­verse scal­loped bon­net and be­hind the sig­na­ture – if not uni­ver­sally ap­pre­ci­ated ‘spin­dle’ grille. The pow­er­plant is a V6 3.5-litre petrol, which re­de­fines smooth­ness in terms of power de­liv­ery. It’s an en­gine which Lexus re­ally knows how to build and the seat sins of the RX350L could be for­given thanks to that en­gine alone. Just don’t pay too much at­ten­tion to the fuel read­out. Lexus claim is some­what op­ti­mistic, and I don’t think I saw 10 point any­thing once. 11’s and 12’s yes, but 10’s? Not so much. All four wheels are driven through the eight-speed trans­mis­sion with its faux man­ual Sports mode. Why the Sport mode is there, I can’t fathom; this is an SUV to trans­port you fuss-lessly and com­fort­ably from one place to an­other, not one to chal­lenge a boy racer, sorry, young en­thu­si­ast. You are spoilt for tex­ture and qual­ity in­te­rior or­na­men­ta­tion though. The se­lec­tion of stitched leather, gen­uine rich tim­ber and wood with metal in­lays com­bine to make the cabin as lux­u­ri­ous as pos­si­ble with care­fully po­si­tioned switchgear de­signed to am­plify the feel­ing of space. There is a no­tice­able ab­sence of Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid auto con­nec­tiv­ity though, which is odd con­sid­er­ing the amaz­ingly good 12.5-inch touch­screen which of­fers mas­sive amounts of in­for­ma­tion that can be seen via satel­lite through the sun­roof. Ac­cess­ing some of the func­tions is via a ro­dent­like de­vice which sits atop the cen­tre con­sole. This is a fid­dly thing which im­presses at first with its nov­elty, but the nov­elty wears off af­ter a few hours driv­ing and be­ing frus­trated with its in­ac­cu­racy. I want to say good things about the Lexus RX350L. And I can sing the praises of its over­all shape, the sump­tu­ous­ness of the front cabin, the com­fort level of the seats, the creamy power de­liv­ery and gen­eral state of re­laxed driv­ing this ve­hi­cle im­bues in a driver. But…

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