Test Lexus RX 450h L
We tested the first 7-seater SUV that Lexus markets in the American market. Based on the RX and using its well-known hybrid system, the Lexus RX 450h L is presented as the most familiar alternative of the hybrid range of the Japanese manufacturer.
Although its range has been growing a lot in recent years, Lexus had never had a 7-seater model in America until the launch of the new Lexus RX L. As its name reveals, it takes the base of the brand’s flagship Japanese, the Lexus RX, which has retained most of the characteristics. And that ‘L’ of the name indicates that the body is longer to give shelter inside the third row of seats.
With a total length of 5.00 m, it is 11 cm longer than the 5-seater SUV on which it is based, a growth that has gone completely to the rear overhang since the wheelbase of 2.79 m remains unchanged. Therefore the design of the back part has been affected with a wider C-pillar although it has managed to preserve the main features of the standard RX, a more vertical rear window and a less descending roof line to provide more space for the head to the occupants of the two additional new places.
Another characteristic of the RX L is the 20-inch wheels exclusively for this version. For the rest, the image remains unchanged compared to the rest of the RX versions with spectacular bi-LED triple beam headlights, the huge grille in the form of a double traditional arrowhead in Lexus and extremely sharp features. The body can be dressed with 10 different shades.
In Lexus often boast, not without reason, that some things that are done inside are made by hand by craftsmen which shows the care with which they have developed the details of the interior. In addition to those traditional methodologies in Lexus have also sought this scrupulous with more modern ways
To give an example, among the different moldings for the interior we can opt for some of the wood that has some engravings by laser, in a collaboration with Yamaha to use a technique similar to that used by that company to make their most exclusive musical instruments.
Be that as it may, within the RX L is evident the care for the details and the precision with which it has been made. The atmosphere is luxurious, the settings are impeccable and the materials and coatings enjoy a high quality. In particular, the presence of many leather elements with a very soft and padded feel, which is present not only in the upholstery but also in the dashboard, the doors, and the console, is appreciated. It only blurs a bit that the elements that pretend to be metallic are, in fact, plastic.
In a family-friendly model such as this, the presence of numerous compartments and some ingenious solutions such as folding door pockets or the ingenious height-adjustable coasters of the center console are especially appreciated.
The front seats have standard electrical regulations, although the adjustment possibilities are not very broad compared to other competitors. The lumbar adjustment cannot be adjusted vertically (longitudinally), nor extend the front part of the seat base, adjust how the seat is wrapped or have electrically adjustable headrests.
Despite this, these seats are very comfortable and are also heated and ventilated. They have a peculiar character and is that, in addition to being able to regulate those functions to our liking, we can leave it in an automatic mode because the system is capable of detecting body temperature and adjusts only the temperature of each front seat individually to achieve maximum comfort.
The driving position is high as expected in an SUV and it is easy to find a good driving position with the only exception of the annoying position of the start button. Located in a low position and with a protruding shape, it may be uncomfortable because the driver’s knee will support there depending on his height and driving position.
The RX does not offer a fully digital instrument panel as some of its rivals in the segment and resorts to a classic-looking instrumentation accompanied by a very generous head-up display. But in terms of information, the prominence is carried by the multimedia system screen, which can be 8 or 12.3 inches depending on the finish. It is not tactile, its different menus and options are handled through a system called Remote Touch that remembers the mouse of a computer. It is not difficult to use but it is a bit cumbersome.
The RX L boasts livability and offers plenty of space in front and especially in the second row of seats. There is a lot of widths for three adults to travel with ease and also the floor is completely flat, although unfortunately, the central plaza is much more uncomfortable, mainly due to a very hard backrest that hides an armrest.
This elongated version of the RX offers even more legroom than the normal version thanks to a longitudinally sliding bench in 150 mm. In addition, the backrest can also regulate its inclination and is divided into a 40:20:40 ratios.
Of course, one of the keys to the model is its third row of seats. The access is relatively simple because those in the second row leave a reasonable space to pass, but still, have to have some agility. The two additional seats are electrically attached and show a similar quality to the rest of the seats, so they remain very comfortable. They also have their own air conditioning, something that passengers in the second row can not say.
However, the space in this last row is scarce. The seat of the second row is placed in a higher position than the conventional RX to make room for the feet below, something that is appreciated, but still the knees are very high and flexed that is not ideal on a trip long, and there is little height. No doubt they are places designed for a very occasional use for children or for adults less than 1.70 m.
Perhaps, more than for its seven seats that have a fairly limited usability, one of the attractions of the RX L is that it offers a larger trunk than the 5-seater RX. The gate has electric opening as standard and the load threshold is very high but everything is very well finished, there are hangers, hooks and a 12V socket, a compartment where you can place small objects and even the roller tray when it is not used.
With the seven operational seats, it offers 211 liters of cargo capacity. With the two additional seats folded down are a completely flat floor and the trunk offers 652 liters of volume, that is, 113 more than the normal RX. If we also fold the entire second row, 1,656 liters are reached.
A very relaxing driving experience
In some markets, the 7-seater RX is offered with a gasoline engine but in America only its hybrid version is available, the RX 450h L. The hybrid system is the same as that of the RX 5-seater and complies with the new regulations of Euro 6d emissions Temp. It has a 3.5-liter D4-S V6 petrol engine linked to two electric motors, one assisting each axle, and a 37 kW Ni-MH hydride battery.
The electric motor that is on the front axle is the one that acts more frequently, it is more powerful and can move the car by itself while the one on the rear axle has a secondary function and only acts occasionally when it is It is necessary to activate the four-wheel drive to have more traction.
This E-Four all-wheel-drive system does not allow many off-road trips. The off-road capabilities of the RX L are nil and it is advisable to limit field trips to very easy and unhindered roads. The 4×4 system will be useful to increase safety by rolling on surfaces with low adhesion (water, ice, snow).
Speaking of safety, how it can be otherwise security equipment is abundant contemplating all the possibilities of Lexus Safety System + technologies. Among other things, the RX L has 10 airbags, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane maintenance assistant with trajectory correction and adaptive cruise control.
The total power of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system is 313 HP that transmit a good push, with good performance but not bright. Accelerates from 0 to 100 km / h in 8.0 seconds, more than enough for day to day but a little surprising data for a car with more than 300 HP and It is what has to move a vehicle that throws more than 2,200 kg on the scale.
Thus, it is not surprising that in twisty areas it is big, heavy and clumsy. It transmits a good stability and is faithful to the guidance of the steering wheel, but the electric steering has an artificial touch, it is not very agile in the abrupt changes of direction and the oscillations of the body are evident in those circumstances.
It is not exciting from the point of view of sports sensations, nor does it lack. The RX 450h L always invites to make a quiet ride proposing a relaxing atmosphere since its rolling is extremely silent and the adaptive suspension treats the occupants with care at all times.
Within this superb ride comfort, perhaps the best of the segment in this regard fits the e-CVT automatic transmission very well. This continuous drive transmission has a very smooth operation and is capable of simulating a scheme of eight gears if you want to make the changes manually.
In the infotainment system screen and in the instrumentation we can see in real time how the hybrid system works. A Piece information that tells us how much charge is in the battery, at what time it recharges, if we are moving in electric mode or if the combustion engine is on.
In this way, we can optimize fuel consumption or it is possible to let the system manage it by itself. The 7-seater hybrid RX spends 5.2 l / 100 km on average according to the approved data (NEDC) although in real use the usual will be to see consumption between 7 and 8 l / 100 km, a good data for its size.
The sale price of the Lexus RX 450h L part of the $ 89,088 dollars, that is, is 2320 dollars more expensive than the equivalent 5-seater RX and in our country, the Japanese brand proposes three finishes (Executive, Executive Techno and Premium). The price is high as befits a large luxury SUV but the Japanese hybrid model has tax advantages, ease of circumventing possible traffic restrictions in large cities and is quieter, smoother and more comfortable than other options with a combustion engine.
Since the launch of the first generation of the Lexus RX has been sold more than 2.7 million units of this SUV worldwide so surely this new version of seven seats will attract a good number of customers: some looking for those two additional seats, although in reality they have a rather limited utility, and others seduced by the greater load capacity.