Just add seats?
It appears that the success of Lexus’ popular RX SUV is about to get a boost, as Lexus will be rolling in a longer, more practical version of its mid-sized family wagon very soon. Dubbed the ‘RX-L,’ the new model will act as a 7-seater option to the 5-seat only RX, and it’ll be making its global debut at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show.
The Lexus RX fashions itself as one of the mavericks of the luxury-crossover segment, with the very first model that debuted in 1998 offering (then) unrivalled levels of on-road ability (albeit at the compromise of off-road capability, something that SUVs at the time were still pretty focused on). While a luxury SUV pioneer it might not be, it has always done its best on the road, offering a refined and composed ride on sealed surfaces. It never pretended to be an off-road vehicle, so it makes sense that they’re now looking to further that ability by offering a more practical version.
While many of the RX’s competitors have grown to offer 7-seats either as standard or as an option, the RX has so far remained steadfast in its 5-seater layout. Off the bat, simply adding two more seats in the boot wouldn’t really work, as the fourth-generation RX has a very dramatic roofline that would render that third row usable only to those with removable heads.
This is where the RX-L comes in. Purportedly, Lexus have lengthened the RX to offer usable space in the third row, which should go some way in ensuring plenty of room for both people and luggage. The only indication we have at the time of writing of how they’ve done that is from a sole teaser shot, which… only really confirms the name.
We don’t expect to see any significant changes to the powertrain, so the RX-L will likely be offered in 200t, 350, and 450h guises, with front-wheel and all-wheel drive options. The cabin should remain unchanged as well, sans the addition of the third-row seating. We have little doubt that the increased practicality from that lengthened body and additional seats will help further RX sales in North America, though it’s hitherto uncertain if the RX-L will make it to other markets at this point. But we can hope, right?