Lexus RX L
FIRST DRIVE Verdict on premium brand’s first seven-seater
Electrified SUV gets bigger seven-seat option
THE ES (Page 30) isn’t the only new Lexus arriving in the UK in the coming weeks. While the RX L you see here will look familiar, it’s actually the firm’s first seven-seater, and it hopes to capture the imagination of growing families in search of a luxury hybrid SUV.
The Lexus RX L’s headline is that third row of seats, squeezed into a car just 110mm longer than the standard model. It’s a subtle redesign, with the only real changes made at the rear of the SUV. The wheelbase is the same, but there’s a slightly longer overhang and a more upright rear windscreen, creating a taller roof for occupants right at the back.
Lexus says that children should be comfortable on long journeys, but it’s a squeeze for adults. An Audi Q7 is more generous here, although passengers in the RX get their own air-con controls. Climbing back there isn’t too difficult, either; the opening is a bit narrow, but folding the second-row seatbacks and sliding the bench forward is done with one lever. Similarly, the two seats in the boot fold flat at the touch of a button.
The slightly longer rear end sees boot space grow from 453 litres to 495 litres when five seats are in place. It’s not enough to overcome the load capacity compromise created by the car’s hybrid powertrain, though; a Q7 provides a whopping 770 litres in five-seat mode.
Despite having over 300bhp under the bonnet, the RX L won’t set pulses racing from behind the wheel. The drive selector features a Sport mode, but the RX L feels sluggish under full throttle.
Instead (like the ES) this is a car you’ll get the best out by driving smoothly. Ride quality is good at all speeds, while the smooth hybrid assistance and refinement make the RX L relaxing to drive.
The extra weight of the third row of seats and additional bodywork means claimed economy takes a knock, mind, dipping from 51.4mpg to 47.1mpg.
V6 hybrid delivers 308bhp, but the Lexus still feels sluggish on the road