- The Lexus RX luxury crossover is getting a third-row seat, making it a seven-passenger SUV for the first time since its introduction in 1998.
- RX’s extra row will be available on the RX350 and the hybrid-electric RX450hL variant.
- Lexus stretched a standard RX by 4.3 inches to achieve the extra capacity.
LOS ANGELES — Sport-utility vehicles have been stealing the spotlight at the LA Auto Show this year, and Lexus led the way with the debut of extra-large versions of its best-selling RX crossover.
The luxury automaker, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, announced the RX350L and RX450hL, featuring for the first time a third row of seats. It’s one of the most significant changes to the platform since it debuted in 1998.
The up-sized RX will accommodate six to seven passengers, depending on the configuration. On first glance, the added size and heft is not very noticeable. Lexus called it “the mastery of vehicle packaging” in a press release, but the company basically stretched a standard RX by 4.3 inches in the back. The longer versions also have a steeper tailgate and window angle, according to Lexus, which helps improve headroom for third-row passengers.
The new addition could help Lexus grab a prevailing segment of the luxury crossover market. Car buyers in the US have made dramatic moves toward SUVs and crossover vehicles beginning a few years ago. In 2016, SUVs accounted for 63% of auto sales in the US, according to Autodata numbers released in January. Demand for large SUVs with three-row seating have also shown its staying power.
The RX’s extra row comes standard as a power-folding seat on both the RX350L and the hybrid-electric RX450hL models. They start at $47,670 and $49,070 respectively, keeping them in the same class of luxury three-row crossovers as the Acura MDX and the Volvo XC90.
A few pictures of the RX L: