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Longer Lexus RX L luxury hybrid SUV debuts seven seats

Seven-seat Lexus RX 450hL has a revised back end to accommodate a third row of seats. Picture: Lexus

Seven-seat Lexus RX 450hL has a revised back end to accommodate a third row of seats. Picture: Lexus

Lexus

The new RX L is first seven-seater Lexus has launched in Europe – Ryan Hirons finds out if this hybrid, luxury SUV makes a big impression too.

Front end styling is shared with the five-seat version. Picture: LexusFront end styling is shared with the five-seat version. Picture: Lexus

Lexus has never offered a car with seven seats since arriving in Europe in 1990. Hard to believe, considering key rivals have for many years.

It has now plugged that gap with the Lexus RX L – a larger seven-seat variant of the current RX on sale since 2015 featuring changes to accommodate a third row of seating. It’s 110mm longer but the wheelbase and height are the same.

Looks and image

Second row seats slide to give access to extra two seats. Picture: LexusSecond row seats slide to give access to extra two seats. Picture: Lexus

Up front, it retains the angular looks with that huge spindle grille and the changes out back are quite hard to spot.

The roofline doesn’t taper off like the regular RX does but strategically-placed design elements behind each rear passenger window create a floating roof effect to disguise the increased height.

Under the bonnet

Boot space is limited with third row of seats in use. Picture: LexusBoot space is limited with third row of seats in use. Picture: Lexus

The sole petrol-electric hybrid powertrain – 3.5-litre V6 engine mated to a battery pack and two electric motors for a total of 308bhp and 335Nm of torque — with a a CVT automatic gearbox. The engine and one electric motor drive the front wheels and a less powerful electric motor the back wheels.

It could do with more punch at lower revs with engine torque taking a while to kick in, and running on electricity alone feels rather sluggish.

How it drives

Interior has a luxury feel with premium materials. Picture: LexusInterior has a luxury feel with premium materials. Picture: Lexus

The Lexus RX L is an appealing package for quality and refinement. It’s quiet cruising and, despite its size, wind noise is low too. Suspension is supple in mormal or eco modes which aids a comfortable journey. Don’t think sport and sport S modes will make it a sporty handler, though. While the steering weights up nicely, it wallows under hard driving.

This is also not one of those big cars that feels smaller on the road — it certainly owns its presence.

Space and comfort

It’s a nice place to be with premium materials and leather throughout the cabin and the fascia finished in soft-touch materials.

The third row of seats may seem practical but, realistically, are only useful for younger children and adults will struggle to fit. Kids will be comfortable in the third row which has air-con and cupholders.

With the slightly longer rear end, boot space grows from 453 litres to 495 litres with the third row of seats folded away.

Equipment

The Lexus RX L is offered in SE, Luxury and Premier trims, from £50,995.

The £61,995 Premier model includes 20in alloy wheels, adaptive suspension, reversing camera, heated and ventilated front seats, triple-zone climate control, five selectable drive modes, ‘triple-eye’ LED headlights and premium navigation infotainment system with a 12.3in display.

Final say

The Lexus RX L is an extremely capable long-distance cruiser and a very comfortable one for adults in the first two rows and children in the third — with plenty of equipment to justify the cost.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Lexus RX 450hL SE £50,995; Luxury £54,095; Premier £61,995

Powertrain: 3,456cc, 259bhp, V6 petrol engine, 165bhp front electric motor and 68bhp rear electric motor.

Performance: 0-62mph 8.0 seconds; top speed 112mph

MPG: 47.1 combined

CO2 emissions: 138g/km

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