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Lexus RX L

Test drive: LLM motoring editor Lisa Curtiss reviews the Lexus RX L

By Lisa Curtiss on 3rd August 2020

If your lifestyle requires a 7-seater car to regularly ferry children, relatives, friends around, the Lexus RX-L is an excellent choice. This luxurious, stylish, spacious, reliable and beautifully built SUV ticks all the boxes, and boasts some decent eco credentials too.

This latest incarnation, the 7-seater RX L, pushes the boundaries for luxury SUVs further in line with Lexus’s determination to exceed customer expectations. This is a highly attractive SUV with elegant lines and a tasteful amount of chrome and special features. Unlike most other 7-seaters, the RX L isn’t at all boxy and actually looks sporty, muscular and agile. Enhancement details include a new rendition of the signature Lexus grille with a mesh pattern of radiating L shapes that forms a design link to the UX urban crossover; slimmer headlight units; more rounded edges to the front bumper; and an extended line from the rocker panel that connects with the bottom of the grille, projecting strength and stability.

At the rear, a more elegant and powerful look has been created with a redesigned lower bumper that links smoothly to the rear wings. Elements such as the lights, reflectors, underguard and exhaust outlets are arranged on a strong horizontal axis to emphasise the vehicle’s width and sense of purpose, while new LED combination lights feature a series of L motifs for the brake and tail lights and turn indicators.

Lexus RX L

Slip inside the cabin to view a raft of enhancements, including a new 12.3-inch central display with touchscreen function, and enjoy seamless smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The dash is uncluttered, ergonomically arranged, stylish yet unfussy. There’s, reassuringly, no cheap scratchy plastics, and every single component and material used feels and looks high end and built to last.

Being a 7-seater, space is of course what most potential buyers will be most interested in. And they certainly won’t be disappointed. Instead of the usual token, very temporary looking, third row seats, the RX L’s are safe and solid looking, and now feature two different seating positions, being electronically adjustable, they add even more leg space (+94mm) when the situation demands. Fine leather upholstery is also provided as standard, together with a triple-zone air conditioning system with independent controls for third row occupants. The RX L Takumi we tested can also be specified with two individual captain’s-style chairs in the second row in place of the three-seat bench. This six-seat arrangement frees up more leg room for the third row passengers.

Even with this extra row in use, there’s still plenty of usable boot space. When the seats are folded, the load space has a flat floor that extends to a generous 1,067mm in length. A retracting tonneau cover keeps luggage out of sight; when not required, the cover unit can be stored in a dedicated space beneath the boot floor.

Engine wise, the RX L’s self-charging full hybrid system features a 3.5-litre direct injection V6 petrol engine, which has a maximum output of 259bhp at 6,000rpm with 335Nm of torque at 4,600rpm. The total system output (engine and electric motor combined) amounts to 308bhp.

The combined cycle fuel consumption is from 34.4mpg and combined cycle CO2 emissions are from 185g/km for the RX L.

The powertrain of this 2020 Lexus RX L is unchanged but benefits from the significant improvements introduced at the launch of the fourth generation model. The key components and control systems in the Lexus Hybrid Drive System were improved and re-engineered to deliver class-leading fuel economy, minimal emissions and excellent on-road performance. The front transaxle gained a new water-cooled transmission oil cooler for the electric motor and a pre-loaded differential to improve performance and straight-line stability.

Out on the road, the RX L is a dynamic delight to drive. For a large car it’s surprisingly agile, with plenty of feel and power to be used. On the long motorway journeys we tested the car on it excelled – super comfortable, light, bright and airy, with minimal road and wind noise, great visibility and ample power. It’s equally as good on country B roads too, proving a truly versatile top quality vehicle for singles, couples or busy families.

Do opt for the Takumi version we had, to enjoy features such as 20-inch alloys, head-up display, 360-degree panoramic view monitor, card key, blind spot monitor, semi-aniline leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable front seats with memory setting, four-way lumbar support on front seats, heated, power-adjustable second row seats, Mark Levinson 15-speaker surround sound audio, and a sunroof. A truly excellent SUV.