Sometimes it only takes a small change to make a big difference. That’s how Lexus has succeeded in designing its first seven-seat version of the RX luxury SUV, the new Lexus RX L.
Focusing on small but crucial details, Lexus has created an impressive new member of the RX family, adding more seats to the cabin yet maintaining all of the comfort, convenience and quality that are true to the brand’s omotenashi principles of hospitality.
Inside the new RX L there are two extra seats, generous knee and headroom for everyone and plenty of space for luggage. But on the outside, the car is only 110mm longer than the five-seat model – barely the width of a man’s hand.
In fact, it’s by adding those few extra millimetres that Lexus has gone further than most of its competitors, in effect creating a new body for the RX, rather than trying to squeeze more seats into its existing model.
At first glance, there’s no mistaking that this is an RX, with all the intriguingly elegant and incisive styling that make it one of the best-looking models in its class. The designers were clear that the RX’s distinctive coupe-like profile had to be preserved.
But look more closely and you will notice that not only is the RX L longer at the rear, the angle of its tailgate has been made slightly steeper. That fine adjustment is actually important in making sure there’s comfortable headroom for anyone sitting in the third row of seats. Even more valuable millimetres have been gained simply by moving the rear wiper mechanism from the top to the bottom of the window.
Open the door and you will see just how smart a solution Lexus has come up with to provide a third row of seats and a lay-out that’s easy to adapt when you need more space for luggage. Raise the seats, or stow one or both of them flat: it just takes the press of button.
The seats are finished to the same high quality as the rest of the cabin and are comfortable for youngsters or adults for long journeys or shorter trips. The RX L means that when you want a night out with friends for example, you need only take one car.
The cabin is designed to be a social space, what Lexus designers call a “lounge” effect that’s open and light and where it’s easy for everyone to see what’s happening, share conversations and enjoy the in-car entertainment together on longer journeys.