The big news for the 2018 Lexus RX is just that: it's bigger.
Lexus has capped off years of speculation and rumour about its first foray into the three-row crossover segment with the RX L, a stretched version of the brand's best-selling vehicle in Canada.
While we had expected the new variant to ride on a longer wheelbase, Lexus opted to simply extend the body behind the rear wheels by 112 mm (4.4 inches) in order to accommodate a third row of seating in order to better compete with vehicles like the Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60, two popular crossovers that come standard with three rows.
Also new to the RX range is a navigation package for the five-seat model that adds voice-activated navigation along with Lexus's controversial remote touch interface haptic controller.
Aside from the new, larger configuration, the RX's fundamentals remain unchanged. Entry level models retain their RX 350 label, so named for the 3.5L V6 that makes 290 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque, while a gas-electric hybrid powertrain remains the upgrade with its total output of 308 hp in the RX 450h. The RX 350 puts power to all four wheels through an eight-speed gearbox, and the hybrid does so with a continuously variable transmission.
Visually, the RX L's extra size isn't as obvious as you'd think, though it changes the car's shape slightly with a more upright rear window that Lexus says allows for more third-row headroom. The automaker also claims class-leading cargo space behind the third row.
The L doesn't stray from the extroverted styling that defines its smaller sibling. It may not share its German competitors' flair for understated looks, but it certainly does stand out in a crowd and it hasn't hurt the RX's popularity.
The RX's basic kit includes a 12-speaker stereo, 8.0-inch infotainment screen, 4.2 colour information display, 18-inch wheels, garage door opener, auto-leveling headlights and headlight washers, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, leather seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, passive keyless entry, power tailgate and reclining second-row seats.
The RX 450h adds a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, navigation, 20-inch wheels and LED headlights.
The RX L adds a power-folding third-row, seven-passenger seating that can be optioned to six with second-row captain's chairs, three-zone climate control and hands-free tailgate.
Options are grouped into packages, including five available on the RX 350 and two in the RX 450h.
Fuel consumption estimates are 12.2/9.0 L/100 km (city/highway) for the RX 350, 13.1/9.4 for the RX 350L and 7.5/8.4 in the hybrid powered RX 450h.