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The ever-popular Lexus RX crossover has been a fan favorite for quite some time now. After four generations, and many redesigns, a newer package rolled out in 2018, which is an upgrade to the RX. One trim package offered is the top-tiered luxury version donning three rows of seats.

Having an extra row of seats garners plenty of attention, but it failed to impress Car and Driver in their evaluation of the 2020 model. They didn’t quite like it, and they reported exactly why in their review.

Overview of the Lexus RX350L

The Lexus RX350L seats up to six-passengers with three rows of seats. It’s marketed as the luxury line of the now-famous RX crossovers. It offers some impressive amenities, such as the option for a 12.3-inch infotainment display screen and AWD.

Powering it up is a DOHC 24-valve V-6 engine that puts out an impressive 290hp. Paired with that is an 8-speed automatic transmission. While its rivals offer a bit more beefiness, the RX350L has more than enough for a family vehicle. 

Acceleration times in this model aren’t too shabby either. It can go from 0 to 60 in 7.3 seconds. For a quarter-mile stretch, going 90 mph, it clocks in at 15.5 seconds.

What didn’t Car and Driver like about it?

The biggest complaint they had about the Lexus RX350L is the sloppily designed third-row seating. Since Lexus didn’t even extend the wheelbase to accommodate the third row, it just seems like it’s an afterthought thrown in to get people to buy a 6 passenger vehicle. 

While seating is fine for the first two rows, the last one makes for an extremely cramped space. Many third-row seat SUVs failed to impress as well. Car and Driver reported that if they scooted the second-row seats all the way back in their tracks, they would touch the seat cushion of the third-row seat. 

That means you have very little space to sit if you’re delegated to the very back of the vehicle. In fact, editors of Car and Driver go on to say that in order to sit comfortably in the third row, the second row of seats would have to be pushed all the way forward, making sitting there cramped. 

How does it stack up to the traditional Lexus RX model and is it worth it?

The L-version of the RX350 is the top of the line, most luxurious package you can get. While it offers a few amenities that the traditional doesn’t, they’re still relatively close, if you opt for a higher trim level in the RX. 

The 5-passenger RX model has a slightly smaller cargo space than the RX350L when you include the folded down third-row seats. But seating in the RX version is more spacious than the third-row seats in the RX350L.

To get the 6-passenger L-version would cost around $68,000. Car and Driver recommended that if you really need the third row of seats, consider other alternatives like the Acura MDX or the Lincoln Aviator. Those rear seats would provide much more comfortable seating than you could ever get with the 2020 version of the RX350L. 

They also go on to say that if you can get by without an extra row of seats, and you don’t mind the smaller cargo space, the traditional Lexus RX would be a more worthwhile purchase. 

When it comes down to it, the RX350L is a decent SUV, but it doesn’t quite compete with its rivals who offer a more luxury-based package and have roomier seating. If you really want the Lexus, though, you might be better off with the traditional version of the RX instead.


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