The Lexus RX350L is an incredibly important vehicle for Toyota/Lexus. I have long noted that if they could find a way to squeeze a 3rd row into an RX it would absolutely print money for them. Incredibly it took over two decades for us to get just that. The 2019 Lexus RX350L is exactly that vehicle and we just spent a week with it.
We recently tested a normal sized RX, so we can say that the first thing that strikes you about the RX350L is that it just looks larger, because it is. During the two decades that we’ve had the RX SUV, nicely chronicled (and defended) by our Jacob Aurenheimer, we’ve grown accustomed to how it looks, specifically how big it is. Your brain sees an RX and expects it to be a certain size. So it is a little mind warping to see an RX that just keeps going past where you expect it to end.
The biggest question most of you have on your mind is probably “so how is the 3rd row”? Unfortunately, must like most of the competition in the midsize luxury segment, the 3rd row seating somewhat exists only on paper. During our test, two 5’5” teenagers who did some time in the back row said they were cramped and couldn’t sit there much more than 30 minutes. If you plan to put smaller people back there, be they adults or children, that might make things more palpable. I will say that the adults likely enjoyed the 2nd row captain chairs more than kids. There is something awesome about a captain’s chair, beyond just being able to refer to yourself as “Captain”. It’s certainly practical, providing 3rd row access without having to fold or flip seats, even if it means losing a seat in the middle.
Elsewhere in the long RX, we were pretty impressed by the stereo and the crossover is ultra quiet on highway, as expected from a Lexus. Also part for the course were the excellent interior materials, which you would hope to see in a vehicle that costs a bit more than $57,000. Which brings me the window sticker. The base MSRP for an RX350L is $48,070, which isn’t bad. You get a ton of stuff for that base price, as with most Lexus models.
Our tester came with additions like blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic braking, and intuitive park assist ($1,065), the aforementioned captains chairs ($405), 20″ 5 spoke wheels ($1,170), touch free power rear door ($200), heated and ventilated front seats ($540), the “Audio package” ($2,120), the Premium package ($810), Towing package ($265), heated steering wheel ($150) and paint protection ($429). Oh and “Key gloves” for $30, gotta have those.
The only thing that struck us on that list as a bit surprising were the power rear door, which seems to be pretty standard on most vehicles of this size and price. Total out the door price was $57,329 with the ole delivery, processing, and handling fee (which you can usually negotiate your way out of). That’s a lot of Lexus for under $60K.
Out on the road, we appreciated the good visibility all around, something that isn’t always true of longer SUVs. And while not exactly a track car, the RX350L has an ample power to/hp ratio, making merges as simple as putting your right foot down. From an economy perspective you’re looking at 18 city, 25 highway, for a 21 MPG combined rating. Not amazing, but comparable with the competition.
What I found the most interesting were the envious neighbors. The RX was accidentally parked in the wrong driveway during delivery, and I thought I was going to have to forcibly take it back. Even after dozens of press loaners, this was one that elicited the most envy from the folks on the block.