When you think of the Lexus brand, you might not associate it with SUVs right away. In fact, the marque has been playing in this field for 20 years and has now introduced aseven-seater version of its RX luxury SUV in South Africa. The company’s evolved tagline ‘Experience Amazing’ reflects its intention to target people who expect something special from a car – and with its new release, Lexus has certainly taken this segment into consideration.
This is partly reflected in the decision to stretch the current RX model by 110mm to add a third row of seats in the rear. Does it work? In terms of style, definitely: the look of the car is not really compromised. The roof height has been increased and the rear wiper redesigned. At the front end you’ll be met with the familiar ‘spindle’ grille, which Lexus fans have come to know and love. It’s by no means a stand-outfrom- the-crowd SUV – the car has more of aconservative appeal about it, but that should play nicely into the hands of those who seek a no-nonsense seven-seater. (Thatelegant practicality is also reflected in the fact that the brand-new colour option, Sleek Ecru, is a sophisticated pearl beige.)
Lexus designed the third row of the RX 350L EX to yield the same comfort and luxury as in the centre row. It can accommodate two passengers as well as achild seat, includes two cup-holders, and offers three-zone climate control so all the passengers can enjoy the air conditioning set to their liking. With standard features that include a 12-inch audio display screen, satellite navigation, 12 speakers, 20-inch alloy wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, and a moonroof, everyone should be comfortable and happy.
Because this is a family car, there’s no need for over-the-top performance. That said, it does sport a 3.5-litre V6 engine. Bear in mind, however, that the vehicle is not light, and instant power is not its strong point – so be sure to approach your overtaking manoeuvres with caution. The standard price of the Lexus RX 350L EX is just under R1 million, but it is built to serve a family’s needs in terms of space, comfort and safety. Speaking of safety, the SUV has a host of airbags (10, to be precise) including curtain-shield airbags that extend to protect third-row passengers. There is no doubt that those in need of the extra space might well want to jump from the current RX to this 350L EX model.
under the bonnet
Model: Lexus RX 350L EX
Engine: 3.5-litre V6 naturally aspirated petrol, 216kW, 358Nm
Combined fuel consumption: 10.2 litres/100km
Luggage compartment: 432 litres with the third row of seats stowed away
Price: From R959000