What is it?
This is the extended-length, seven-seat version of Lexus’s biggest European-market SUV, the RX. While the regular Lexus RX was launched in 2015, the L version came along in 2018; both versions had a refresh for the 2020 model year, when we tested the car in regular-sized form and sportier F Sport trim. This is our first chance to get a taste of the more practical, comfortable and versatile side of the RX ownership experience.
The L version of the car is 110mm longer than the regular RX, and all of the extra length is concentrated within the rear overhang. Above that, the car also has a steeper rear window to make extra room for heads and bags at the rear. It ought to look much more like a three-bedroom semi with a dodgy kitchen extension really, but Lexus’s wedgy, edgy styling for the car, which was updated 18 months ago, disguises its bulk quite cleverly. Very few seven-seat SUVs look good, but at least this one still looks a bit different.
The car comes in ‘self-charging’ petrol hybrid form only, just as before; four-wheel drive is provided by a directly driven electric rear axle. It received some incremental chassis stiffening measures (delivered by better joining and welding techniques) as part of its last facelift, as well as revised dampers and a stiffer rear anti-roll bar.
Equipment-wise, the RX now has a 12.3in infotainment system with touchscreen input and Apple and Android smartphone-mirroring compatibility. If you opt for a higher-trim Takumi version (or you buy the right option pack), you can have a wireless device charging pad and a head-up display too. You can also now have individual ‘captain’s seats’ in the second row (instead of the usual three-seater bench), which offer extra adjustment range, and also make a bit of extra leg and foot space for those in row three.
The car’s value proposition was given a shot in the arm when Lexus introduced a new entry-level version of the RX for a cheaper price late in 2020. That move meant you could, and still can, get into one of these for less than £55,000, complete with seven seats as standard, 20in wheels, that updated infotainment system and a long list of active safety systems. And that’s in a luxury SUV market in which you’ll do well to get into a similarly equipped Volvo XC90 mild-hybrid petrol, or a comparable diesel-powered seven-seat BMW X5 or Land Rover Discovery, for less than £60,000.