Lexus has introduced a long wheelbase, seven-seat version of its popular RX model at the Los Angeles Motor Show during a press event on November 29, calling it the 2018 RX 350L.
The RX is a big SUV, so it makes sense that it uses that huge platform to carry extra passengers. After all, there’s a massive wheelbase to take advantage of.
Doing that, though, will clearly impinge on boot space, so it seems likely that the RX 350L will receive a light stretch compared to the normal RX, enabling a sliding second row and the two extra seats in the trunk space.
Lexus says that the new RX 350L will have “greater flexibility for passengers”, and whether that means simply having the extra row or some other configurable seating arrangement remains to be seen.
Inside, not much else changes. The same sweeping dash arrangement continues, and you can expect the quality we’ve come to know from the brand to permeate the cabin.
There will also be a hybrid version, with the RX 450hL most likely launching alongside the RX 350L, if not shortly down the track. The only sticking point will be whether the battery pack and the space it consumes is too much of a compromise when adding in the extra two seats.
For some markets, a diesel option would be a good idea, but Lexus and diesel engines just don’t go together, so we’re looking at only two engine options at this stage.
As to how it will drive, that we’ll have to wait to see, but we’d expect a very similar experience to the current five-seat version.
Unusually, Lexus has opted to simply extend the back end, rather than lengthen the wheelbase, but this has actually created an arguably more balanced looking vehicle with a steeper rake on the tailgate.
The boot has been increased by 110mm, giving an overall length of five metres, and the car can be configured from the factory with either two captains chairs for the second row, or as a bench with a 40/20/40 split fold.
The RX 350L gets a 3.5-litre V6 coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and is available in front-wheel-drive or all-wheel drive.
Then there’s the RX 450hL, which has gets the 3.5-litre V6 and an electric hybrid system, but this comes only in all-wheel-drive.
Expect RX long wheebase versions to mirror their five-seat siblings in interior specifications, though Lexus hasn’t confirmed this as yet. But given Lexus penchant for up-speccing its cars, the base 8.0-inch infotainment screen is expected to be ditched in favour of the larger 12.3-inch screen, for example.
The 2018 Lexus RX 350L and 2018 Lexus RX 450hL will arrive early 2018, with dealers taking deposits now.