4 / 6 / 2018
The new RX L
The new RX L opens up new dimensions in convenience and customer appeal for Lexus’ luxury crossover as the brand’s first seven-seat model to be offered in Europe.
This important addition to the RX range responds to the priorities of families for built-in versatility that provides extra seating when needed with a third row of two individual seats, and easily adaptable, practical load space.
True to Lexus’ principles of superior craftsmanship and Omotenashi hospitality, the RX L has been designed for purpose, with an extended rear body that ensures there is no compromise in comfort or quality for everyone on board. Likewise, every detail has been considered in making the additional seating seamless in its operation and every bit as luxurious and welcoming as the rest of the vehicle.
Power operation allows the rearmost seats to be raised or stowed at the touch of a button, while fine leather upholstery is also provided as standard, together with a new triple-zone air conditioning system with independent controls for third-row occupants.
The extension to the RX’s body has been accomplished without detracting from the vehicle’s coolly elegant design and a coupe-like profile, or its highly manoeuvrable character.
The Lexus RX has a proud history of innovation, not least having been the pathfinder for a new class of luxury crossovers when it was first launched 20 years ago. With the introduction of the RX 400h in 2005, it also introduced self-charging hybrid system to the premium car market for the first time, setting Lexus on course for its hybrid technical leadership among luxury manufacturers.
With more than 2.7 million global sales to its credit so far, the RX is firmly established as a world-class model at the heart of Lexus’ model range. The new RX L will further strengthen its market position as a vehicle that meets the prime requirements of modern families in the premium car market.
Apart from the design changes and the provisions for the extra seating, the RX L shares all the same, proven, strong attributes of performance, powertrain, chassis dynamics and equipment features as the five-seat RX models, as detailed in the press kit chapters below.
THE RX L: ADDING EVEN MORE COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE TO THE LEXUS RX
In some seven-seat vehicles, the extra accommodation is simply added to an existing five-seat model, the kind of solution that can create a cramped interior. Faithful to the concept of omotenashi, Lexus has used ingenious design and packaging to ensure that the two third-row seats are comfortable to use and easy to access.
Although the RX L retains the coupe-like profile of the five-seat RX, suitable headroom for the third-row occupants has been secured by making the angle of the tailgate window slightly steeper. The second-row bench seat has been set higher, so that there is good foot space for the 3rd row passengers, too. The seats are ideal for children on any journey, and comfortable for adult users on shorter trips.
Accessing the third row has been made easy with a one-touch lever control on the outer second row seats which tips the seatback forward and slides the bench smoothly away. A step on the floor guides you in and the seat design has not exposed catches or mechanism that can snag clothing or trip you up as you enter or exit the vehicle.
The second-row bench is divided 40:20:40 and, thanks to the RX L’s longer design, can be slide-adjusted through a 150 mm range - greater than in any other current seven-seat SUV.
The two rearmost seats are fitted with two cupholders positioned in the centre. The tri-zone air conditioning system can be independently operated using controls located next to the left hand seat.
As well as being comfortable, the third-row seats in the new Lexus RX L are simple to deploy – just the press of a button on the second-row seats or in the boot is all that is needed to raise them into place or stow them flat into the floor.
When the seats are folded, the load space has a flat floor that extends to 1,067 mm 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.
To make loading and unloading even easier, the RX L is available with a power tailgate with a “no-touch” sensor system, so it can be opened simply with a hand or even elbow gesture, when the system detects the vehicle smart key on your person.
EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR DESIGN
Lexus RX L: dedicated design features
In its commitment to producing a comfortable and practical seven-seat version of its successful RX crossover, Lexus decided to create what is effectively a bespoke new body style, rather than try to work within the confines of the established five-seat model.
Its solution was to design a new rear end for the vehicle, extending the length behind the rear axle. Although only 110mm longer overall, the RX L makes excellent use of the additional space to ensure that everyone on board can travel comfortably and that the third-row seats have easy access and generous head and leg room.
Rear-seat headroom has been further helped by making the angle of the tailgate window slightly steeper, so the interior roofline is higher towards the back of the car. At the same time, the designers were careful not to detract from the RX’s distinctive, coupe-like profile and the floating roof effect created by the blacked-out rear pillars.
The close attention detail extends to the motor for the tailgate wiper being moved from the top to the bottom of the screen, to maximise the potential headroom.
The front end of the RX L is characterised by a powerful interpretation of Lexus’s signature spindle grille, contained in a chrome-finished frame and flanked by LED headlights – in a triple ‘L’ formation and LED front fog light/cornering light clusters on higher grade models.
The spindle shape of the grille is referenced in the rear end design, too, giving the vehicle a balanced, coherent look. The rear L-shaped LED light clusters extend forward from the tailgate into the rear wings, emphasising the broad width of the vehicle and giving a wide spread of illumination.
Neat details include flush-fitted headlamp washers, illumination and smart entry function incorporated onto the exterior door handles.
The overall length of the RX L is 110 mm greater than the five-seat RX (total length: 5,000mm), to ensure comfortable addition of the third row of seats. Overall height has been increased to 1,700mm and width kept at 1,895mm.
The sharply tapering front and rear wing flares add muscle to the RX L’s appearance, while the main body section displays a diamond shape that flows out from the front spindle grille and back to the tailgate. The sculpted belt-line has a three-dimensional look in its course along the side of the vehicle, running from just above the tail-lights, through the side doors and gently bisecting the space between the headlights and grille.
The cabin design strikes a balance between functionality and luxury, finished with refined materials that exude quality construction and craftsmanship. The ambience is both spacious yet intimate, with high levels of comfort for driver and passengers.
The RX L’s seats have been designed to deliver both support and comfort with an ergonomic design and quality detailing that includes a vertical stitching pattern that is both good looking and durable. The quilting pattern on the front seat seatbacks matches that on the door panel trims.
A range of upholsteries, colours and trims are available, with smooth leather provided on Executive grade in black, Topaz Brown, Noble Brown and ivory. According to upholstery choice, the headlining is in grey or ivory, while trim inlays are finished in black. Semi-aniline leather is used in top grade models, in ivory, black, Topaz Brown or Rich Cream, black and Noble Brown. The quality effect is heightened with aluminium and dark wood inlays with laser-etched detailing. A technique executed out by Yamaha craftspeople who also work on concert-quality pianos and guitars. This reveals a sub-layer of aluminium to create fine patterning.
The driver and front passenger are low-set, allowing for excellent headroom. The position of the steering wheel close to the driver and a lowered angle for the steering column create a more involving driving position.
Second-row passengers enjoy plenty of head and legroom, thanks to the generous wheelbase length. The three seats in bench formation have a generous angle of recline and best-in-class cushion slide adjustment and are easy to fold when more load space is required, using levers by the side of the seats or in the luggage area.
The cargo space can be increased to provide enough room for four large suitcases or multiple golf bags. A space saver spare wheel and jack are provided as standard, stored in an area beneath the boot floor.
The RX L offers optionally the convenience of a smart power tailgate. If you are carrying bags or luggage, there’s no need to fumble for your key fob or reach for the tailgate release button to open up the boot. Instead, you can just place your hand over the Lexus emblem on the tailgate to operate the mechanism – you don’t even have to touch it.
A sensor recognises the key fob in your pocket or bag and your presence at the rear of the vehicle to open the tailgate. The system will work even if you are wearing gloves, and with an elbow motion if both your hands are full.
The centre console is precisely designed to provide easy access to storage areas, cupholders and switchgear.
The audio and climate control sections are separate and clearly defined, making them easy to use. The audio system has machined aluminium knobs that look stylish and feel good to the touch.
There is a side console pocket that’s designed to hold tablets or other small computer devices. A wireless phone charger in the centre console allows compatible smartphones to be charged without using a cable. There is also a space beneath the Remote Touch control’s palm rest which is just the right size to hold a small iPod or other device, with easy connection to the USB or audio jack point in the centre console.
A smart and simple system adapts the depth of the cupholder in the console according to whether you are using a cup or can, or a taller drinks bottle. The base of the unit is fitted with a sliding height adjustment mechanism: simply press down with your bottle to gain the maximum depth, or press the release button to bring the base up to the level appropriate for a cup or can. The adjustment range is 70 to 110 mm.
The attention to detail extends to the design of the centrally mounted analogue clock which is clear to read for both driver and passengers.
Head-up display and 12.3-inch monitor
The instrument panel can incorporate a colour head-up display which projects key information and data onto the base of the windscreen in the driver’s eyeline. The range of data includes adaptive cruise control status, speed limits and Pre-Collision System warnings.
Models equipped with Lexus Premium Navigation benefit from a central 12.3-inch dashboard monitor (an eight-inch monitor is featured on other versions), designed for ease of use and high visibility, whether scrolling through function menu screens, using maps or accessing the RX L’s multimedia and audio systems.
The instrument cluster presents large, easy to read gauges, with a multi-information display positioned between the energy display gauge and the speedometer. The meters illumination changes according to the drive mode selected – blue for Eco and Normal and red for Sport.
The RX L provides a wide field of vision through the windscreen and over the bonnet, which improves safety and also helps the driver gain a better sense of the vehicle’s width when manoeuvring into parking spaces. Better visibility is obtained thanks to the slightly rearward positioning of the door mirrors, reducing the blind spot. The slender front pillars give a cleaner, more minimalist appearance as well as intruding less into the driver’s view.
LEXUS SELF-CHARGING HYBRID
The RX 450hL’s self-charging full hybrid system features a 3.5-litre direct injection V6 petrol engine, with maximum output of 193 kW/262 DIN hp at 6,000 rpm with 335 Nm of torque at 4,600 rpm. The total output of the hybrid powertrain (engine and electric motor combined) amounts to 230 kW/313 DIN hp.
The engine’s combustion chamber design generates a high degree of tumble inside the cylinders, improving combustion performance. Combined cycle fuel economy is from 5.9 l/100km with CO2 emissions from 136 g/km.
E-Four all-wheel drive system
The RX 450hL features the sophisticated Lexus proactive E-Four all-wheel drive system, which locates an additional electric motor on the rear axle. It enables energy and fuel use to be reduced by limiting AWD operation to only when necessary and allowing the rear-mounted electric motor to act as a generator to charge the battery when the vehicle is in regenerative brake mode.
The system has a reduction drive, a three-shaft configuration and a weight-saving aluminium case and cover. Its control functions are tuned to give better response when accelerating through bends.
Torque distribution levels front and rear and to each individual wheel can be shown on the driver’s multi-information display when the system is operating.
CHASSIS AND DRIVING DYNAMICS
The RX L’s platform is engineered for engaging handling performance and driver feedback.
The electric power steering is calibrated to provide a communicative road feel to the driver. The rigidity of the intermediate shaft and instrument panel also contribute to good steering feel, with refinement details such as a slowing of steering wheel movement as it returns to centre adding to the overall controllability, smoothness and responsiveness. The steering angle is set so that it is easy for the driver to maintain when turning deep into a corner.
The driver can take advantage of extended rake and reach adjustment to find the ideal position at the wheel, while the low steering column angle helps provide a sporty driving position.
Suspension and brakes
The RX L’s suspension system (front MacPherson struts, rear trailing arms/double wishbones) is designed to provide extra stability through corners and excellent handling overall.
A large-diameter anti-roll bar gives good roll rigidity, giving the RX L crisp turn-in response. This allows for a reduction in coil spring rates, ensuring a high level of overall ride quality. The design of the hub bearings, anti-roll bar bushings and other detailed improvements add stability and feel to the front of the vehicle. The spring rates and bushing rigidity of the rear suspension are calibrated to complement the sturdiness of the car’s front end.
The RX L is fitted with a powerful braking system, including front and rear ventilated discs, giving excellent stopping power and fade resistance. An electric parking brake is fitted as standard.
Adaptive Variable Suspension
The adaptive variable suspension (AVS) available on high-grade models gives the RX L some of the handling character of a sports saloon, together with excellent ride comfort and stability. It controls the damping force of the shock absorbers at each wheel in response to road surface conditions and driver inputs. For example, on a rough road, AVS instantly switches to a more compliant setting to maintain ride comfort; when cornering, the damping force firms up to help reduce body roll and allow more performance-oriented, flatter handling.
Drive Mode Select
All versions of the RX L are equipped with a Drive Mode Select system, which lets the driver choose between different settings – Eco, Normal, and Sport – to suit the driving conditions. In models equipped with AVS the Sport mode is replaced by Sport S and Sport S+. Each setting regulates the suspension damping force, engine output, throttle response and other engine and chassis parameters.
Eco mode moderates throttle response and engine power output and adjusts climate control operation to support fuel economy.
Normal mode provides an even balance between engine performance and fuel economy. Together with Eco mode, it provides a suspension setting that prioritises comfort.
Sport mode ramps up performance with sharper throttle response and acceleration and adds weight to the steering.
Sport S sets an even higher performance level, with revised throttle mapping and quicker powertrain response. In the RX 450hL, the hybrid system allows for enhanced accelerator response and a feeling of more powerful acceleration.
Sport S+ combines the powertrain enhancements of Sport S mode, while sharpening the feel of the electric power steering and initiating stiffer suspension for flatter cornering.
The driver can also make use of an EV mode which switches the vehicle to all-electric operation, shutting down the petrol engine until the limit of battery charge or speed is reached.
Rigid body structure
The RX L’s platform benefits from a number of cutting-edge technologies that help achieve the best possible structural integrity and overall rigidity. Panel joints are strengthened using high-tech body adhesives and laser screw welding, and much use is made of high-tensile strength steel throughout the vehicle, including key areas such as the underbody cross members and the front and centre pillar sections. A ring-frame construction technique adds strength to the frame sections around the front and rear doors while areas around the rear body frame have numerous spot welds to give more strength and handling stability.
As well as contributing to handling quality and a quieter cabin, these design features also support safety by increasing the vehicle platform’s structural rigidity.
Low noise and vibration
The RX L’s high-rigidity body/chassis structure includes a number of design and engineering features that help deliver a quiet cabin environment.
The details at the front of the vehicle include redirection of the wind flow around the door mirrors, which reduces wind noise. A urethane shielding plate inside the wings helps prevent engine noise from entering the cabin and a material applied to the front wheel arches cuts the amount of noise from the road and deflected debris – “gravel spatter”. There is also thick insulation under the bonnet and a cowl insulator with a large surface area.
The cabin section is fitted with acoustic glass, doors with generous sound insulation and strategically placed noise-absorbing and vibration-damping materials. Weather stripping and door seals are also designed for optimum performance.
The rear body frame is positioned within the rear pillar and body sections surrounding the tailgate. This greatly suppresses lateral vibrations generated from within the rear wheel arches. There is also foam inside the rear pillars to reduce wind noise.
In addition to its exceptional quality and performance, the RX L’s platform has been engineered to proactively contribute to environmental conservation and sustainability, thanks to lead and hexavalent chromium-free engine components (elimination of harmful materials) and the use of easily recyclable Super Olefin Polymer plastics throughout the bodywork.
SAFETY AND DRIVER ASSISTANCE
Lexus Safety System +
The RX L is equipped with Lexus Safety System +, a multi-feature, integrated safety package that delivers exceptional levels of active safety and driver assistance to help prevent accidents happening.
At the heart of the Lexus Safety System + is the Pre-Collision System. This uses a front-mounted camera and millimetre-wave radar to detect vehicles and pedestrians on the road ahead. If it calculates a risk of a collision, it automatically warns the driver and provides extra braking force the moment the brake pedal is pressed. If the driver fails to react and the system judges a collision to be imminent, the brakes are automatically applied to reduce vehicle speed and the force of any impact and the seatbelts are tensioned.
The same radar unit is used to provide Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which helps the driver maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Once the way ahead is clear, the RX L automatically accelerates to its pre-set cruising speed.
The package also includes Lane-Keeping Assist (LKA), which recognises when the vehicle is deviating from its lane on the highway and help the driver steer it safely back to its correct path. Lane Keeping Assist uses a camera on the windscreen to track the vehicle’s course between lane markings painted on the road surface. If it judges that the RX L is about to move out of its lane without the turn indicator being used, the system lights up a warning on the multi-information display and vibrates the steering wheel. It will also apply appropriate steering control force to help bring the vehicle back on course.
Lane-Keeping Assist provides an extra layer of assistance, automatically providing steering inputs to keep the car safely within its lane, notably when the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is being used. In a first for a Lexus, Lane-Keeping Assist can be used even at very low speed, when the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is operating. The driver can also choose which alert they prefer (warning sound or vibrating steering wheel) and the sensitivity of the warning, via the multi-information display. The system can also be switched off, if desired.
Lexus Safety System + further includes Automatic High Beam, which detects oncoming traffic and vehicles ahead and automatically switches the headlights between high and low beam. High grade models feature the Adaptive High-beam System, which gives even better illumination by adjusting light distribution to avoid dazzling other road users, instead of switching the headlights to low beam.
The driver also gains a “second set of eyes” when it comes to important road signs on motorways and major routes. The Road Sign Assist system uses a front camera to recognise principal warning and command signs, which are then replicated on the multi-information and head-up displays, reducing the risk of the driver not being aware of speed limits, lane closures and other important information.
Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) control
When the Pre-Collision System determines that there is a high likelihood of a collision, the Adaptive Variable Suspension control system instantaneously adjusts shock absorber damping within the suspension to enhance the vehicle’s responsiveness as an additional driver aid (available on vehicles equipped with AVS).
Additional safety features
The cameras used in the RX L’s Lane Keeping Assist also provide a Sway Warning function. This monitors the car’s position in its lane and the driver’s steering inputs. If it detects degrees of vehicle swaying, caused by driver distraction or drowsiness, it will sound an alert and display a warning on the multi-information display, recommending the driver takes a break.
Negotiating a tight parking space or making your way over rough and unmade surfaces are familiar driving challenges, and ones which can too often result in bumps, scrapes and frayed tempers. These kinds of tasks are made easier and safer in the Lexus RX L thanks to a 360-degree Panoramic View Monitor. This uses an array of cameras that not only give the driver an all-round view of the vehicle’s location, but also provide a bird’s eye view for even better sight of its immediate surroundings.
The Panoramic View Monitor works in conjunction with the Lexus Park Assist sensors and monitor, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert to make the driver aware of obstacles, hazards and other vehicles that may be hidden from view from the driver’s seat, eliminating any blind spots. When steering the car into parallel or series parking spaces, the Parking Assist Monitor can add guidelines to the real-time camera images to help the driver steer precisely, while front and rear sensors will sound an alert as the vehicle moves closer to another car or obstacle.
A Blind Spot Monitor uses rear-mounted radars to detect vehicles in adjacent lanes, or objects behind the RX L when reversing. The same radars provide a Rear Cross Traffic Alert function, which warns the driver of traffic or people approaching from either side when reversing out of or into a parking space. It works in conjunction with a Blind Spot Monitor, using the same rear-mounted radar.
The Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intelligent Parking Sensors include an automated braking function, providing an extra layer of safety protection when manoeuvring in and out of parking spaces. When the systems detect an obstacle in the vehicle’s path, or sudden acceleration when manoeuvring, the brakes will be automatically applied to avoid an impact.
All models are fitted with four-channel ABS with brake assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Vehicle Stability Control with traction control, Tyre Pressure Warning System and Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management. Driver assistance features include Hill-start Assist Control.
All RX L models are equipped with 10 airbags: dual-stage and dual-chamber driver and front passenger airbags, driver’s knee airbag, front passenger cushion airbag, front and rear side airbags and curtain airbags (also installed on the 3rd row).
The RX L’s body structure provides increased occupant protection thanks to a number of design features. These include frame components that deliver better front collision performance, and a high-strength body that suppresses cabin deformation. Side collision performance is supported by effective impact energy absorption and dispersion measures, and a large rear bumper reinforcement helps disperse energy in the event of a collision towards the left and right rear side members. There are strengthening reinforcements in the roof section and pedestrian impact protection is provided by a frontal structure designed to absorb impact energy, mitigating the severity of potential head and leg injuries.
Euro NCAP safety ratings
The RX L has received 5 stars in the Euro NCAP safety ratings.
AUDIO AND MULTIMEDIA SYSTEMS
Pioneer 12-speaker audio
Pioneer’s 12-speaker system, featured in Executive grade models, comes with a single DVD player and benefits from Coherent Source Transducer (CST) technology that gives extremely realistic and high-quality sound reproduction in the mid to high range and adds boost to low tones. The speaker array includes 20 cm subwoofers and 18 cm woofers in the front doors.
Mark Levinson Premium Surround System
Audiophiles will appreciate the 15-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround System with its advanced Clari-Fi compressed music restoration technology. This improves the frequency characteristics, dynamic range, low tone tension and detail reproduction of compressed audio sources, such as MP3 files.
The Mark Levinson system, featured in the Luxury grade specification also uses Green Edge technology in its ultra-high-efficiency speakers that deliver more than double the sound output of conventional units, while using just the same amount of power. The 7.1 Surround system also provides a DVD playback function.
Lexus Navigation System
The Lexus Navigation System presents maps and guidance on an eight-inch TFT LCD display in the centre console. Operation is by means of a rotary Remote Touch controller. The screen can be set to display a single panel (full map), two-panel (half map, half information), or three-panel (half map, two info screens) view. The driver can set their own information preferences, including navigation, fuel consumption, audio details and air conditioning settings.
Lexus Premium Navigation System
Higher grade versions of the RX L benefit from Lexus Premium Navigation, accompanied by a 12.3-inch display and a Remote Touch touchpad control. It presents crisp graphics, with remarkable brightness, sharpness and contrast, even in direct sunlight, thanks to its Light Control Film surface treatment. The screen allows the display to be used full-screen or divided into an eight-inch map display with a handy sub-screen to present controls for five frequently used functions.