Stick Shift: 2018 Lexus RX 350L

In the past, if you were after a seven passenger SUV with the Lexus badge on the nose, your search pretty much began and ended with the LX 570 or GX 460. No longer the case. Now, all new for 2018, Toyota’s luxury line has seen fit to take their already wildly popular RX 350, stretch it an extra 4.4 inches, and add a third-row seat. Lucky for us, Lexus hasn’t messed with their RX formula too much more, as the RX 350L is essentially the same as the other RX models in every other meaningful way. This is to say, bold exterior styling, a refined interior with smart use of top-shelf materials, and a quite, controlled ride quality. 

While there’s plenty to love in even the base model RX 350L, I would recommend taking a big step up with the luxury package, as it offers lots of extra for a very reasonable price. In addition to the already long list of standard equipment, the Luxury package will get you heated, and more importantly, ventilated seats, which anyone enduring an Arizona summer will appreciate. You’ll also receive upgraded leather, a heated wood steering wheel and heated seats in the second row as well. With so much padded interior panels, laser cut wood trim and aluminum adorning the cabin, plus beautiful LED ambient lighting, you’ll feel pampered to the next level. 

Photo via: Lexus

Anyone who’s spent enough time in Lexus vehicles knows that their interior quality tends to be their best foot forward. The new RX 350L is no exception. The only problem is that with this all new third-row seat, a certain level of flexibility and joint dislocation is required just to get to it, thanks to a small opening and sleek, low roofline. Once there, you better not be over 5’5” or you’ll be in for a long, uncomfortable ride. 

Photo via: Lexus

A 3.5L V6 making a little shy of 300 hp felt sluggish and slow to respond when getting up to speed. Once there though, it didn’t have any trouble passing traffic or taking the highway by force. Everything said, the 2018 Lexus RX 350L is a much needed addition to the Lexus line-up. They were smart to keep everything that’s made the RX such a success in the past, and just add the third-row. This has effectively giving bigger families another SUV option besides the GX and more expensive and seriously equipped LX. 

Price as tested: $61,060.00

By: Brandon Randall

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