Lexus RX L Review
The luxurious Lexus RX L is an RX with a longer body and two extra seats. It’s relaxing to drive and is relatively cheap to run, but you’ll find alternatives are more spacious
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If you’re looking for a seven-seater SUV that puts an emphasis on comfort and low running costs, then the Lexus RX L will be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s based on the current RX that was launched in 2015, but is 110mm longer to accommodate its third row of seats.
That’s about all that has changed on the inside though, which means interior quality is great. You can also pick between an 8.0 and a 12.3-inch sat-nav system. Sadly, though, the game has moved on significantly now and most alternatives offer systems that are more high-tech, prettier to look at and easier to use. The same alternatives also have less button-heavy dashboard designs with a more minimal, modern appearance.
On the bright side, the Lexus RX L has a very comfortable interior. Leather comes as standard on all models – the hide in Premier cars is particularly soft – plus the front seats are thickly padded and supportive. Electric adjustment comes as standard and the front seats are also heated and cooled – the latter being a rare standard feature in a car, even at this price.
Your adult friends will be almost as happy sat in the middle row. There’s plenty of legroom and enough headroom to ensure tall adults are able to get settled.
With a bottom that sticks out an extra 110mm past the back wheels, the Lexus RX L looks like an RX that’s had multiple rounds of butt-lift surgery
But the rear seats are only really suitable for kids, although they do come with their own air-conditioning controls and a couple of cupholders.
Fold the third row flat into the floor and the resulting load bay is square and easy to load, if not particularly large for this size of car. A handy feature is the boot lid that opens when you touch the ‘Lexus’ badge so you don’t need to yank it open when you have your hands full with shopping. Fold all the seats down and the RX L can swallow a bicycle without even flinching, although an Audi Q7 is significantly roomier still.
Set off down the road in the Lexus RX L and the first thing that strikes you is how easy, comfortable and relaxing it is to drive, although it’s a shame the self-drive tech is pretty basic.
Pootle along at town speeds and the car will run on silent electric power alone, only using its petrol engine if you need a little extra go, which makes it an extremely calming way to cut through busy city streets.
The 3.5-litre V6 petrol only ever sounds harsh under hard acceleration but, since the Lexus RX L isn’t a car that likes to be driven quickly, you probably won’t be doing that very often. Compared with, say, an Audi Q7 the Lexus’ steering feels slow and unresponsive and its body rolls a lot in bends.
Drive sensibly, however, and you can enjoy the low running costs of the RX L’s petrol-electric engine – Lexus claims it can return fuel economy of up to 47.9mpg. Getting close to that figure in the real world will depend on how hard you drive the car – mid-30mpg is a realistic expectation.
As a stress-free way to get from A to B in town, then, the RX L is hard to fault but, the infotainment system can be infuriating and if you do a lot of motorway driving, an Audi Q7 will be a much better bet. It is also a good deal cheaper than alternative seven-seat hybrids and provides even better value when you see the carwow Lexus RX L deals on offer.
For a more detailed and in-depth analysis of the Lexus RX L read our following interior, driving and specifications review sections.
The Lexus RX L rear seats fold electrically flat into the floor, but you have to hold the button while you’re doing and it’s not a speedy operation
Don't think Lexus has scrimped on materials in the back – even those in the rearmost seats get leather upholstery as standard
The Lexus RX L is a very comfortable car. Leather comes as standard on all models – the hide in Premier cars is particularly soft – plus the front seats are thickly padded and supportive.
Even if you’re not the tallest of people, the Lexus RX L’s driver’s seat can gives you a towering view out of the car, and a steering wheel that moves electrically for reach and height means you don’t have to peer over it to see out.
Electric adjustment comes as standard and the front seats are also heated and cooled – the latter being a rare standard feature in a car, even at this price. You’ll also be pleased to hear that electric lumbar adjustment comes as standard in the Lexus RX L, so you can add a little extra support if you suffer from backache on long journeys.
Everyone in the middle row will be comfortable too – there’s plenty of legroom and enough headroom to ensure even tall adults are able to get settled.
The third row of seats are not particularly roomy and so are best suited for children. Still, the leather used in the these seats is the same as the leather in seats further forward and passengers here will be at just the right temperature as the car has triple zone air-conditioning. Your cherubs will be able to control the temperature here too – they have their own control panel.
Interior storage in the Lexus RX L is pretty good, helped by some of the largest door pockets you’ll see in any car. They’re big enough to swallow several large bottles of water.
On top of that, the cupholders up front are large enough to swallow two more big bottles of water, you get a couple of cupholders in the rear-centre armrest and there’s a variety of other smaller cubbies scattered about the place. Kids in the third row of seats get their own cupholders too.
The boot opens electrically at the touch of a button to reveal a load bay that is square and easy to pack, if not particularly large for this size of car. With all seats down, there are 1676 litres of space in the Lexus RX L – that’s 279 litres less than you will find in an Audi Q7. Still, it’s enough to take a bicycle without having to take the wheels off.
At the touch of a button, the rear seats fold into the floor. Well, it’s not quite a touch of a button – you have to keep holding the button for a good dozen or so seconds as the operation is completed.
Once folded there is 474 litres of space, again much less than you get in the Audi Q7’s boot.
With all seats in rows two and three up there’s enough space to pack the Lexus RX L with a few shopping bags, but, you’ve guessed it, alternative cars have more space with all seven seats in place.
A handy feature is the boot lid that opens when you hover your hand, elbow or whatever you have free near the ‘Lexus’ badge so you don’t need to yank it open when you have your hands full with shopping. There are a couple of tethering hooks and a 12v socket in the boot, too.
The Lexus RX L is a comfortable car that’ll leave you feeling relaxed after long journeys. Not everyone will be a fan of the hybrid-only line up – there’s no diesel RX L
If anything can make rush hour more relaxing, it's skulking through traffic in almost complete silence thanks to the Lexus RX L's hybrid system
The Lexus RX L is only available with petrol-electric hybrid engine. The lack of a diesel option may put you off but the 3.5-litre V6 petrol combined with an electric motor works surprisingly well for a car of its generous proportions – especially in town, where the RX L really feels at home. Its silent electric motor can power the car for a few miles on battery power alone, making it very easy and relaxing to drive.
Get up to higher speeds and the V6 petrol joins in, but even then you’ll only ever hear a hum when overtaking. The official fuel economy varies depending on the size of alloy wheels you choose but it’s around 47mpg. In the real world you may struggle to get up to mid-30mpg though.
The Lexus RX L is four-wheel drive thanks to the hybrid set-up – there are electric motors driving both the front and rear wheels. But this isn’t a car you’ll take off road or use to tow. It’ll provide welcome grip in slippery road conditions, however.
Again, because of the hybrid system, the Lexus RX L is automatic only. It’s smooth and quiet and adds to the easy-to-drive ability of the car.
The Lexus RX L has a luxurious, beautifully made interior that will last for years, but the infotainment will make you want to pull your hair out