There are few better ways to try out the added seating and cargo space of a new SUV than to pack it full and drive it around. Last month, Lexus gave a group of automotive journalists a mission. We were to purchase $500 worth of gifts each for an Arizona charity using a gift card Lexus provided and try to fit them all into the 2018 Lexus RX L.
At first glance, the RX L looks nearly the same as the 2018 Lexus RX. The RX L builds off the already successful Lexus RX and expands its seating capacity to up to seven (six if you opt for captain’s chairs in the second row). There’s room for back seat passengers thanks to a body that has been extended 4.3 inches and a reconfiguration of the tailgate window to allow for extra headroom. Seven-seater RX Ls come with a 40/20/40 split second row bench seat. Tri-zone climate control, a power-folding third-row seat, and a power tailgate come standard.
Besides the added row, the interior of the RX L is filled with the same high-end appointments including leather seats, convenience technology, and digital displays you’d see in the traditional variant.
The RX 350L has slightly less horsepower and torque than the traditional RX models but you’ll likely not notice any difference, especially in the RX 450hL.
I was tasked with buying for the children of Benevilla, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide adult social care and support services for seniors, adults with disabilities, children, and the families who care for them. Lexus chose the charity because of an already existing relationship between the charity and Arrowhead Lexus.
After a bit of driving around, I started my shopping at a local big box store, armed with a list of suggested items from Lexus. I stocked up two carts full of interactive toys and games- everything from building blocks to musical instruments to a giant version of lawn bowling. I also picked up numerous large packages of diapers because facilities that serve families can never have enough of those.
The total at the register was $498.78 and it suddenly occurred to me that I’d given no thought as to whether or not the RX L was big enough to hold all the things I purchased. Utilizing my husband’s Tetris champion-like packing abilities, the RX L had its entire rear cargo area and second-row seats filled with the gifts. We folded the SUV’s third row flat using automatic controls on the interior of the cargo area for loading/unloading ease.
We stopped for lunch and to pose the group’s purchases outside of a 2018 Lexus LX, which has a reconfigured is foldable third row seats, allowing for 15 percent more cargo space than the previous year’s model.
It was like Christmas in the springtime for the families of Benevilla when the carloads of presents were delivered. The smiles stretched from ear to ear in ways that would even make the Grinch’s heart grow three more sizes.
We had accomplished our mission, and the RX L had as well. The added inches of body add a considerable amount of space and will likely make any family’s Costco and road trips more manageable.
The 2018 Lexus RX 350L starts at $47,670. The hybrid 2018 Lexus RX 450hL starts at $50,620. Both models are on sale at dealerships nationwide now.