Road Test: 2019 Lexus RX 350L

Luxury buyers have enjoyed the RX for decades, and now with the new 350L version, larger families or those seeking more cargo room can enjoy the luxury crossover even more!

The RX 350L features blacked-out C-pillars much like the regular RX to create a floating-roof effect. The spindle grille theme repeats at the rear, with L-shaped LED taillights enveloping the tailgate and wrapping into the rear fenders. The 20-inch wheels enhances the powerful-looking stance.

Luxury buyers will rejoice in knowing all ten RX paint colors feature a scratch-resistant self-restoring coat, using a high-performance macromolecular polymer.

Out front, incredibly bright LED headlights use three unique L-shaped elements per side to light the road ahead.

Lexus engineers extended the side curtain airbags to cover all three rows on the RX 350L, and they’ll less likely to be needed thanks to the standard Lexus Safety System+. Pre-Collision with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent High Beams and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control are standard, while Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Braking are available. Panoramic View Monitor is optional too and we highly recommend it for a 360-degree view of the RX 350L during parking situations.

Under the hood, the ubiquitous 3.5-liter V6 uses an advanced D-4S fuel injection system, which combines direct and port fuel injection systems. To maximize efficiency, Variable Valve Timing – Intelligent Wide (VVT-iW) is used on the intake camshaft, along with VVT-i on the exhaust camshaft, allowing the engine to switch between Otto and Atkinson combustion cycles. An impressive engineering feat even for the modern automobile.

The result is 290 hp and 263 lb.-ft. of torque, with performance and efficiency optimized by an eight-speed automatic transmission. And regular gas is all that’s needed too.

With the twist of a knob, Drive Mode Select puts the RX into three possible driving modes. Normal provides an ideal everyday balance of performance and energy conservation, Sport puts an edge on powertrain responsiveness and Eco mode operates the powertrain at its most efficient level.

As on the RX 350, the RX 350L is available with front-wheel drive or Dynamic Torque Control All Wheel Drive. Under normal cruising conditions, the system engages front-wheel drive to help reduce fuel consumption.

Continuously taking input from various sensors (such as wheel speed, engine RPM, steering angle, throttle opening angle and yaw rate), Dynamic Torque Control AWD actively governs torque distribution to the rear wheels using an electromagnetically controlled coupling in the rear differential. When the vehicle is accelerating, the system automatically shifts to AWD to help prevent front-wheel slippage. While cruising, the system reverts to FWD, and when sensors detect wheel slippage, it can vary front to rear torque distribution from 100:0 to 50:50.

The 4.2” color display in the instrument cluster conveys torque-distribution status (front to rear, and side to side).

All onboard the 2019 RX 350L will experience the same luxuriously smooth, quiet ride as the two-row model. Front strut and rear double-wishbone type suspension systems ensure agility and exemplary ride compliance over all types of surfaces. Electric Power Steering yields a light and comfortable steering feel with good feedback.

The RX L cabin is designed with impeccable details, including form-fitting seats, and delicious wood trim that curves gently up from the center console toward the glove box.

With three-rows of seating, in either six or seven passenger configuration, the new RX 350L looks almost identical to it’s shorter sibling, with designers doing a superb job of hiding the extra length and mass of the added space.

A tri-zone climate control system gives third-row passengers separate heating and air conditioning vents, and for convenience, a power-folding third-row seat and power tailgate are standard.

Details that enhance three-row versatility in the RX L models include a flat load floor behind the folded third-row, two third-row cupholders, an easily stowable tonneau and covered slide rails.

Lexus designed the third row of the RX L to offer the same comfort and luxury as in the middle row. The positioning of the second row is slightly higher than the third row, creating more foot room for rear passengers.

Lexus extended the body 4.3 inches out back and used a steeper tailgate window angle than on the two-row models – ensuring good headroom for third-row passengers.

The standard seven-seat version uses a 40/20/40 split bench-type second row seat. Access to the third row is made easy with the touch of a lever that slides and folds the second seat forward. The six-seat configuration on our tester features second-row captain’s chairs that make third-row ingress/egress easier with “walk-in” convenience.

Ahead of the driver, the full-color Heads-Up Display (HUD) is clear and precise, and is incorporated into the design of the instrument panel better than most other applications. It projects key information on the windshield and helps keep eyes on the road.

Behind the wheel, the RX 350L makes it easy to control all the various infotainment and vehicle functions because everything is within easy reach and not buried in software menus.

We appreciated the wireless phone charging pad in the center console, and the middle-row USB ports enable passengers to charge their own devices.

The audio and nav upgrade on our tester offers audiophile-quality sound with the 835-watt, 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system. Advanced Clari-Fi compressed music restoration technology instills new life into digital music files.

The 12.3-inch HD split-screen display offers a full-screen navigation map or can provide simultaneous access to audio or climate controls and various systems. We’re SO glad to see Apple CarPlay finally standard on the RX. Using the mouse-like Remote Touch Interface is much easier with CarPlay.

All RX models offer Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect complimentary for the first 10 years of ownership, another huge benefit from inside as well as through the mobile app.

Summary Scorecard (1-10)
Ride and Handling10
Powertrain and Fuel Economy9
Interior Fit and Finish10
Gauges and Controls9
Total Score95

Make: Lexus
Model: RX 350L
Trim Level: Luxury
Engine: 3.5L V6
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Options: Blind-spot monitoring, captains chairs, heads-up display, triple-beam LED headlights, 12.3″ nav system, towing prep, 3M paint protection, key gloves, cold weather pkg, touch-free rear door

Base Price: $54,085
As-Tested Price: $63,769

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