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November 30, 2017

Lexus Adds Third Row to Mid-sized RX Crossover

Lexus is harnessing the power of three (rows) when it unveiled a 7 (or 6)-seater version of its best-selling RX mid-sized crossover at the 2017 LA Auto Show.

Lexus engineers were able to fit an additional row of seats in the RX L model by extending the length by 110 millimeters (mostly at the back area) and by using a steeper tailgate window angle. All in all, Lexus says the RX L offers “good headroom for third-row passengers and greater cargo room behind the third row than competitors offer.” Maximizing the comfort of those in the last row, the RX L’s second row has been slightly higher to create more foot room. A tri-zone climate control system with dedicated vents give it additional comfort. When not in use, the third-row folds at the touch of a button as does the tailgate.

Hiding the added length, Lexus opted to use a blacked-out C-pillar to create a floating roof effect. The rest of the vehicle is trademark Lexus from its sharp signature spindle grille to its L-shaped LED headlights and other L-shaped elements.

The RX L is available with several powertrains such as a direct-injected, normally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 (RX 350L). With Variable Valve Timing Intelligence Wide (VVT-iW), it allows the engine to shift between the traditional Otto and Atkinson combustion cycle seamlessly. Power is rated at 294 horsepower and 356 Nm of torque.

As with the two-row version, the RX 350 L is available in either front- or all-wheel drive. The latter uses a variety of sensors to send power to the wheels front-to-back (up to 50 percent) or side-to-side that need traction the most.

On the other hand, the RX 450h L pairs the 3.5-liter V6 with a pair of electric motors producing a V8-rivaling 308 combined horsepower. The AWD system is unique here in that instead of transfer gears and a driveshaft to the rear wheels used on RX 350L AWD models, an independent rear-mounted electric motor drives the rear wheels when needed to help maintain optimal traction. It can also run in pure electric mode for short distances.

The RX 350h L uses a conventional 8-speed automatic while the RX 450h L uses a planetary-type CVT.

The RX goes on sale in its biggest market, the US early next year. Global markets such as the Philippines is expected to follow soon thereafter.

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