2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – 2018 Lexus RX L Gets Third Row, LX 570 Optionally Loses It
Luxury SUVs Engage in Give and Take
Lexus is making he 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show all about the third-row seat, revealing the long-expected (and even longer-awaited) seven-passenger RX L, slated for the 2018 model year. Conversely, the Lexus LX 570 is losing its third-row seating, at least as an option, for 2018; the fold-up jump seats will be jettisoned in favor of added cargo room.
2018 Lexus RX LAvailable in RX 350L gasoline or RX 450hL hybrid variants, the extended version of Lexus’ volume crossover is 4.3 inches longer than the standard model, with less rake in the rear roofline to make space for a third row of occupants. The RX L comes standard with seating for seven, with a second-row bench seat that slides and folds forward to ease access to the third-row seat. The crossover will also be available with second-row captain’s chairs that open up a center aisle for even easier third-row access.
The company claims it designed the third row of the Lexus crossover to be as comfortable as the seats up front. While we’re skeptical the way-back will be spacious enough for anyone but kids and smaller adults, Lexus does say that the middle row is positioned slightly higher than the third row, opening up space underneath for ample foot room. Tri-zone climate controls that include separate heating and A/C vents for the back seat also enhance comfort. The third row also gets its own cupholders, and the seat power-folds to open up a flat load floor.
The RX 350L comes standard with the same 290hp 3.5L V-6 as other RX models, with all-wheel drive available as an option. Clearly on-road–biased, the all-wheel-drive system can vary front to rear torque distribution from 100:0 to 50:50. The extended-length RX is also available with a hybrid powertrain, the RX 450hL. A 3.5L V-6 and two high-torque electric motor-generators produce a combined 308 hp, and standard all-wheel drive comes by way of a rear-mounted electric motor rather than a traditional driveshaft.
Directly competing with the Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60, and Buick Enclave, the RX 350L FWD will start at $47,670, while the AWD will demand $49,070. Those numbers are about $4,500 more than the five-seat RX, so although pricing for the hybrid is still unannounced, we anticipate that vehicle to start at around $57,000. Expect it to arrive in dealer showrooms by the end of the year.
2018 Lexus LX 570The original Lexus LX was the company’s first seven-seat product, offering owners of the fullsize SUV three rows of seats since 1996. However, the rearmost row of seating isn’t easily removable, and it folds up against the sides of the cargo area, troop carrier–style. As such, it takes up a bit more room than it should.
Recognizing that some owners rarely (if ever) use the third row, Lexus will offer the 2018 LX 570 in a five-seat configuration, exchanging two seats for a total of 50.5 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second row, up 5.8 cubes over the LX 570 eight-seater. For those who need the seat belts, Lexus will still offer the three-row SUV.
The two-row LX will be offered in a single trim level, with buyer choices left to exterior and interior colors. That makes us wonder if it’ll be available with the same luxury package as the three-row LX, which includes ventilated seats and other comfort niceties. Even if not, no one could accuse the two-row of being spartan. Standard features on the 2018 LX include Intuitive Park Assist, blind-spot monitoring, off-road–centric camera systems, and a massive 12.3-inch center display screen. The company’s Enform Remote smartphone app, which is complimentary for the first year, allows the owner to lock, unlock, and start the SUV from anywhere, and it also comes with driver monitoring in the event you loan your rig to a friend, new driver, or valet.
The 2018 LX 570 five-seater will start at $84,980, which is $5,000 less than the three-row model. A discounted price, added cargo space, and all the capability we’ve come to expect of this Land Cruiser variant? For buyers who’d never use a third row anyway, that all adds up to an attractive proposition.