The quirky but cool Lexus RX family SUV gains an extra pair of seats to take the fight to its Euro rivals.
Riotous. There’s no other word to describe the spectacle of swages, lines, dips and crests that define the Lexus RX. It looks unlike anything else on the road. This striking design does, however, come with compromises. If you want a sleek roofline that dips as aggressively as it meets the back end, you’ll have to accept that interior room will shrink accordingly. This has meant that, as a family car, the RX has been lagging in appeal next to such competitors as the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90.
So Toyota’s luxury arm has introduced an appropriately named L-model that’s been stretched by 110 mm to free up space in which to install a third row of seats, which fold out of their housings at the touch of a button and are sizeable enough for two adults to squeeze in and grin and bear a short stint.
Elsewhere, it’s business as usual. Like all Lexus models (Lexii?), every nice-to-have is included in the RX350L EX’s nearly R1 million tag, including motors whirring the sumptuously comfy front seats into place, satellite navigation displayed on a 12-inch central screen and a punchy audio system linked to 12 speakers. Add these features to a German opponent and you’d be forgiven for wiping a tear when you spot the final prize.
The RX350L strikes a knockout punch when you set off. Rolling refinement is second to none and it floats, occupants impervious to pockmarked tar passing beneath the tyres.
And that simply adds to what makes the RX350L so compelling. Despite its ultra-modern design, it feels like a throwback to the days when car-makers built cars to be as relaxing as possible, shirking a desire to make them “sporty”.
TEXT Terence Steenkamp PHOTOGRAPH Supplied