2018 Lexus RX L

Lexus is trying to make up for lost time with the introduction of a stretched RX L model, which adds a much sought-after third row. This new version of the ultra-popular SUV comes up short with its extra set of seats. Squeezing anyone larger than a grade-schooler into the third row is a challenge. But the added cargo space the longer body affords may be reason enough for some shoppers to choose the RX L.

It’s sitting-room quiet inside this Lexus, which is outfitted in elegant-looking trim, rich leather, and high-quality fabrics. The front seats are exceptionally comfortable, and the second row is roomy even for three adults. But if passengers move the second row too far forward to help out those in the wayback, the space becomes too cramped. 

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Most of the controls, particularly with the infotainment system, are an ergonomic mess, with many functions requiring fiddling with the fussy touchpad controller for the center screen.

There’s plenty of power from the refined V6 engine, and the eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly.

The RX L’s 20 mpg overall is 2 mpg less than the five-seat RX 350 but par for the class.

While the RX L delivers a tranquil ride, its handling is lackluster in corners.

All versions of the RX get a suite of advanced safety features, including forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

Read the complete Lexus RX L road test.

2018 Lexus RX L

HIGHS: Ride, quietness, powertrain, fit and finish, advanced standard safety features
LOWS: Distracting controls, clumsy handling, tiny third-row seat
POWERTRAIN: 290-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine; 8-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 20 mpg on regular fuel
PRICE AS TESTED: $56,518

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the June 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.