If you’re looking for a luxury seven-seat SUV, the Lexus RX L makes a strong case. It’s comfortable, quiet and eco-friendly thanks to its hybrid engine which allows you to drive short distances in a fully electric mode.It is a premium vehicle, and with hybrid Lexus RX L prices starting at $50,510 / £52,855 (the RX L isn’t available in Australia) this isn’t a SUV which will be everyone’s price range.You do get seven seats for your money however, but if five will suffice you can always opt for the Lexus RX, which starts at $46,800 / £51,565 / AU$100,756.
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Lexus RX L design and drive
The Lexus RX L features the same futuristic aesthetic to the rest of the manufacturer’s range of cars with a massive front grill, slimline light blocks and sweeping body lines down either side.Due to it’s size – the RX L is 5 meters in length and almost 2 meters wide – it somewhat dominates on the road. It’s tall too, at 1.7 meters, which gives you a commanding view from the driver’s seat.
As we’ve mentioned, the Lexus RX L comes with seven seats – which explains why it’s as long as it is. The rear couple of seats fold into the floor to provide you with a large, uninterrupted trunk space when you don’t need to seat seven people.Even with the rear row of seats up, there’s enough space behind them for a few bags of shopping. If you’re planning on popping bums on the rear seats, we’d recommend them belonging to kids as there isn’t much in the way of legroom. An adult would find the seating arrangement uncomfortable for anything more than just the shortest trips.Thankfully, the middle trio of seats offer more in the way of leg room and space, and further up the cabin the front two positions are comfortable and spacious. The front seats come with heat and cooling functions, ensuring you remain the perfect temperature whatever the weather, while the outer seats on the middle row also have a heating function – with the controls hidden in the fold-down central arm rest.
Storage continues to be a plus point throughout the cabin, with deep door pockets capable of holding a variety of trinkets and devices.Hit the road in the Lexus RX L and you’ll find the petrol engine provides more than enough power to get you moving at a decent pace. The RX L we drove had a top speed of 112mph and a quoted 0-62mph time of 8 seconds, which means you’ll get up to speed without much effort.There are Sport and Sport+ modes which stiffen the suspension and give you a little more power under foot compared to the normal and eco modes, but you don’t have to guzzle gas on every journey.The Lexus RX L comes with a self charging hybrid engine, which cuts down on the amount of gas you use on each journey, and you can even opt to drive in EV mode (fully electric). This only works for a handful of miles, so short trips only, but it’s a nice additional feature to have if you need to make a quick run to the shops.
Lexus RX L specs and tech
The Lexus RX L comes packed with plenty of tech and features to keep you safe, entertained and on track.Blind spot indicators on the mirrors give a quick visual alert as to whether it’s a good time to change lanes, while the 360 degree cameras and parking sensors give you a view all the way around the car which – invaluable when it comes to parking such a large vehicle, especially in tight spots.Inside there are USB ports so you can charge your devices and connect them to the infotainment system. There’s a wireless charging pad as well, allowing you to top up compatible smartphones (which support Qi wireless charging) without the need for a cable.Bluetooth is also on offer, allowing you to wirelessly stream music from your phone, as well as make and receive calls via the car’s hands-free interface.
There isn’t, however, support for Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, which means you can’t get apps such as Spotify, Apple Maps, Google Maps and WhatsApp to take advantage of the huge 12-inch central display. This screen is bright and clear, and the way it’s styled is a little futuristic.Your instinct may be to prod this screen with your finger – ours certainly was – but this isn’t a touch display. Instead, Lexus wants you to use the direction toggle which sits just below the gear stick.
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Touchscreens in cars are becoming more common, and while they’re not to everyone’s taste, it feels like the newer technology is a little more intuitive and user friendly than Lexus’ implementation.It doesn’t take too long to grasp the basics of the controls. The toggle moves in all directions, which allows you to move the cursor on screen, and depresses to allow you to select options. There are physical scrolling, menu and back buttons above it, for quick control, plus a dedicated Map button which can jump you straight to the sat nav.We found the directional toggle a little fiddly to use, and it wasn’t the most precise when it came to moving the cursor to some of the smaller icons.The sat nav worked well, even if it did seem a little basic visually, and it includes useful junction and service station information – especially handy on long journeys. There’s a smaller digital display tucked in the instrument cluster, nestled between the speedometer and hybrid engine gauge, which can relay a variety of data to you including speed, navigation directions, gear selection, trip computer and more.
That’s not all, as the RX L also comes with a HUD (head’s up display) which projects vital information such as your speed, the current road’s speed limit, compass and cruise control setting into your eye line on the windshield. This allows you to keep your eyes on the road, while still seeing this information.The climate control in the Lexus RX L is adaptive, which allows it to match the vehicle in front, speeding up (to the limit you set) and slowing down in unison. This makes driving long distances on motorways less demanding, and more relaxing.The Lexus RX L offers a spacious, premium and greener experience with plenty of technology and storage. While the interface perhaps lacks the modern simplicity of touch technology, there’s more than enough on offer to justify the outlay.
John McCann is getting behind the wheel to give you an alternative look at the wealth of cars – and the tech inside them – available today. From super-fast sports cars to tech-packed hatchbacks, he’ll take you through a range of makes, models, power and price tags in his regular TR Drives column.