Lexus stretches SUV to fit third-row seat­ing

Taupo Times - - MOTORING - DAVID LIN­KLATER

Lexus has stretched its RX lux­u­rySUV to in­clude third-row seat­ing for the first time. The new model has just gone on sale in New Zealand.

The seven-seat con­fig­u­ra­tion is avail­able in two vari­ants: the hy­brid RX 450hL Lim­ited and the V6-petrol RX 350L Lim­ited.

The change has been made with­out ad­ding to the RX wheel­base. In­stead, the body is ex­tended 110mm at the rear. A steeper tail­gate win­dow helps with head­room and lug­gage space.

The third-row seat fea­tures power-fold­ing and is split 50/50. The rear­most row still has cli­mate con­trol air con­di­tion­ing and is set slightly lower than the sec­ond-row seat to pro­vide more legroom. Lexus ac­knowl­edges it’s suit­able for chil­dren rather than adult oc­cu­pants.

When folded flat the third row seat pro­vides a flat ex­tended lug­gage area, ac­cessed through a hands-free pow­ered tail­gate by wav­ing a hand over the Lexus ‘‘L’’ badge, pro­vid­ing the key is be­ing car­ried.

Ac­cess to the third row is en­abled by a one-touch lever that folds and slides the sec­ond row seat for­ward.

A smaller power tilt and slide moon­roof in the seven-seat mod­els re­places the panoramic glass roof used in the five-seat mod­els.

The new seven seat ver­sion of the RX adds just $500 to the price of the equiv­a­lent five-seater: $108,400 for the 350L Lim­ited and $126,400 for the 450hL Lim­ited.

The five-seat RX will con­tinue to be avail­able in six vari­ants with a choice of hy­brid and 3.5-litre V6 pow­er­trains in stan­dard, F Sport and Lim­ited spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

Re­vi­sions to the 2018 five-seat RX see the al­loy wheels on all mod­els now hav­ing the black cen­tre caps with a chrome Lexus logo, pre­vi­ously only fit­ted to the F Sport model.

The Lexus Safety Sys­tem+ is stan­dard, up­graded across the en­tire RX range to in­clude pedes­trian de­tec­tion as part of the pre-col­li­sion sys­tem.

In the cabin, mod­els with ivory up­hol­stery now have brown seat­belts to pro­vide colour con­trast.

The 3.5-litre V6 en­gine used in the RX 350 makes 221kW and 370Nm. The out­put in the RX 350L is re­duced slightly to 216kW/ 358Nm, due to pack­ag­ing re­quire­ments re­sult­ing in a sin­gle rather than dual ex­haust sys­tem. The en­gine is mated to an eight­speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

The hy­brid mod­els have a re­vised ver­sion of the 3.5-litre V6 with two elec­tric mo­tors pro­duc­ing a com­bined per­for­mance of 230kW. The AWD sys­tem for the hy­brid mod­els uses one of the elec­tric mo­tors at the rear, in­stead of the trans­fer gears and drive shaft used on the RX 350. Once wheel slip is de­tected, the rear elec­tric mo­tor is ac­ti­vated to pro­vide AWD trac­tion.

The RX 350 and 450h come with Lexus Safety Sys­tem+, leather ac­cented up­hol­stery, 20-inch al­loy wheels, smart en­try and start key, rain-sens­ing wipers, LED head­lights, eight-way power ad­justable front seats with heaters and ven­ti­la­tion, 12-speaker au­dio, satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, re­vers­ing cam­era and front/rear park­ing sen­sors.

The F Sport vari­ants add spe­cial wheels, al­loy trim in the cabin and F Sport up­hol­stery, steer­ing wheel pad­dle shifters, adap­tive vari­able sus­pen­sion, panoramic view mon­i­tor, hands­free pow­ered tail­gate, rear seat heaters and head-up dis­play.

The seven and five-seat Lim­ited vari­ants have wooden steer­ing wheel trim, unique wheels, 10-way power ad­justable front seats with mem­ory func­tion, power-fold back­row seats and 15-speaker Mark Levin­son au­dio sys­tem.

New Lexus RX will now be avail­able with third-row seat­ing, at only $250 per ex­tra seat

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