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Lexus RX L 2018 revealed in LA

Lexus is planning a February launch for its new seven-seat RX L large SUV, powered by either a petrol V6 or hybrid drivetrain.

Lexus has added an L to its large-size RX SUV to create a seven-seat variant that was unveiled this week at the Los Angeles motor show and goes on sale in Australia from February next year.

The extended wheelbase RX – which carries over much of the body styling from the standard model – becomes the second Lexus after the LX570 to carry seven or more passengers.

Lexus said the third row was added to the RX to meet demand from customers and dealers, with the seven-seater retaining the same V6 petrol and hybrid powertrain as the regular model.

The extended wheelbase RX carries over much of the body styling from the standard model. The extended wheelbase RX carries over much of the body styling from the standard model.

By adding 110mm to the body length at the rear – while retaining the same wheelbase – the 2018 RX 350L and RX 450hL holds a similar sleek profile but includes electric-fold third-row seats and three-zone climate control.

In addition to the extra length for the three-quarter panels, the L variants have a more upright tailgate window to ensure adequate headroom for occupants in the third row and to allow suitable luggage space.

Lexus claims no loss of comfort or luxury in the third row, which is a split 50/50 seat for two passengers and set lower than the middle row to give rear occupants better foot room.

The rear section also houses cupholders, air-conditioning vents, a power-operated tailgate and removable luggage blind.

Access to the third row is simplified by a one-touch lever that folds and slides the second-row seats forward, with no change to head and legroom for the middle pews.

Standard safety equipment in the US – which is expected to flow over to Australia – starts with the Lexus ‘Safety System+’ that includes auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active cruise control, lane-departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beam, blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.

It has 10 airbags including full-length side curtain airbags that cover all three rows. It has 10 airbags including full-length side curtain airbags that cover all three rows.

It has 10 airbags including full-length side curtain airbags that cover all three rows, and features will include 18-inch wheels, an 8.0-inch monitor and leather-facings for the seats.

The SUV will be available in the US with upgrades such as 20-inch wheels, a 12.3-inch monitor and 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio, but final Australian specifications are yet to be determined.

The carry-over 3.5-litre V6 engine from the RX350 remains at 216kW/375Nm and is mated to an eight-speed automatic. It will be available in front- or all-wheel drive (AWD) in the US, but Australia will likely eschew the two-wheel drive version.

It is expected the L variants will follow the existing RX format with AWD drive across the board except for the four-cylinder RX200t version.

Lexus claims no loss of comfort or luxury in the third row, which is a split 50/50 seat for two passengers. Lexus claims no loss of comfort or luxury in the third row, which is a split 50/50 seat for two passengers.

The Lexus RX450hL utilises a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with additional input from two electric motors to produce a total of 230kW.

It has a unique AWD system which has no mechanical link between the front-mounted engine and the rear wheels (unlike the RX350 variants) and uses a separate rear-mounted electric motor to drives the rear axle.

It can operate for short distances on electric power alone.

It becomes the second Lexus after the LX570 to carry seven or more passengers. It becomes the second Lexus after the LX570 to carry seven or more passengers.

The RX comes with paint colours that feature a scratch-resistant self-restoring coat using high-performance macromolecular polymer.

The RX was launched in Australia in 2003 and this year is experiencing its strongest deliveries since 2013.

It has sold 1667 units in the first 10 months of this year, up a fractional 0.1 percent on the same period in 2016.

Is Lexus onto a winner with the longer, seven-seat RX L? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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