If there was ever a week to drive the 2019 Lexus RX 350L, it was this one. It arrived just in time to chauffeur my parents and a visiting aunt around town. Without a doubt, my smooth, luxurious and comfortable ride complete with fantastic driver assist features impressed them all.
The 2019 Lexus RX 350L has been around a year after debuting as a 2018 model. It’s a slightly-stretched three-row version of Lexus’ best-selling RX 350. Mind you, we’re not talking an incredibly spacious third-row, like in the 2020 Kia Telluride I recently reviewed, but one pretty much limited to small children. This particular model is the Luxury trim with all-wheel drive which is optional across the lineup. (Note, Lexus is updating the RX350’s styling and technology for 2020.)
There is no mistaking an RX 350’s grille on the road. My Autumn Shimmer test vehicle rides on 20-inch Superchrome alloy wheels with color inserts. It also sports standard aluminum roof rails and power-folding heated outside mirrors. Bi-LED headlights are standard, but my test model has the optional triple-beam LEDs.
The RX 350L’s cabin is just what you expect from Lexus. It’s well-executed, very comfortable and features premium materials like the Luxury trim-exclusive laser cut wood and aluminum. The cabin is user-friendly and designed well with easily accessible controls. I highly enjoyed the 12-way power semi-aniline leather-trimmed driver’s seat. To my delight, these leather seats were supremely cushiony and comfortable in all respects, unlike the F Sport trim seats which I find too firm for my back. This trim sports heated first- and second-row seats, with ventilation reserved for the front-row only.
From the driver’s seat you grip a heated, power tilt and telescopic wood steering wheel with controls for the 4.2-inch driver display, which I found to be small and lacking graphics quality. But Lexus makes up for it with one of my favorite infotainment screens in the industry. This model’s 12.3-inch high-resolution splits-screen with navigation is excellent. Mapping and graphic quality are top notch. The upgrade also comes with a fantastic 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.
Below the infotainment screen, A/C vents flank Lexus’ ever-present analog clock, and underneath you see an antiquated CD Player along with climate controls. This is where I’d like to see more digital action, as opposed to the row of old-school buttons. On the lower center console you find a leather-wrapped gear shifter, two cup holders, and a knob to select drive modes. There are also buttons for the electronic parking brake along with auto hold and heated/ventilated seats if so equipped. Above the front row there is power tilt and sliding moonroof.
Lexus lists the 350L’s interior seating capacity as 7-passenger (6 with the second-row captain’s seat chairs.) But I caution that the power-folding third-row seats are not big enough for adults. In my travels, four adults fit the SUV quite well. There are sliding and reclining 2nd-row seats with cup holders that retract in and out from the seats, along with manual sunshades. The RX350L offers a 40/20/40 split rear seat and optional touch-free power rear door. Cargo space is ample with the third-row seat down.
The RX 350L’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine is good for 290-horsepower which feels nice on this AWD SUV of just over 4,500 pounds. The engine is mated to a smooth shifting 8-speed automatic. That of course is in line with the ride you get from a Lexus. It’s smooth sailing with a softer, not sporty suspension. (In other words, it’s the perfect SUV to ferry around your 70-something family members who prefer a more yacht-like than speedboat ride.) The RX 350L is easy to drive, easy to maneuver with great brakes, and perhaps most importantly to my dad, extremely quiet in the cabin.
You control the Multimedia infotainment system with a mouse-like remote touchpad on the center console. It’s been updated but still takes a bit of coordination to use. The system supports Alexa Integration. But you’ll have to wait for the 2020 RX 350 lineup to get standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Options on my test vehicle include the color head-up display ($600), second-row captain chairs ($405), cold weather package ($200), touch-free rear tailgate ($200), triple-beam LED auto-leveling headlights ($1,515), 12.3-inch navigation system/15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system ($3,225) and a tow prep package ($265).
The Lexus RX 350L comes with the latest Lexus driver assistance suite which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection along with things like intelligent high beams, lane departure alert and lane keep assist. Rain-sensing wipers are standard. Blind Spot Monitoring with Auto Braking, Parking Assist and a Panoramic View Monitor are all included in an additional package for $1,865.
The RX 350L offers everything you expect from Lexus: quality high-grade materials, a smooth, comfortable ride with confident acceleration along with excellent standard safety features. But if you want a real bonafide third-row I’d look at other larger 3-row options out there.
2019 Lexus RX 350L
- What I liked most: Comfortable, luxurious and quiet interior.
- What I would change: Give me a larger, updated digital driver information display.
- MSRP: Base price, $54,185; as equipped, $63,485.
- Official color: Autumn Shimmer.
- Fuel economy: Rated at 18 city/25 highway/21 combined with filler on the driver’s side
- Odometer reading when tested: 7,215 miles.
- Spare tire: Compact spare.
- Weight: 4,597 pounds (AWD w/Captain Seat Chairs)
- Length-width-height: 196.9 inches long/ 74.6 inches wide/ 67.3 inches tall.
- Fuel-tank capacity: 19.2 gallons.
- Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds.
- 2019 Lexus RX350L in a few words: A supremely comfortable SUV if you are sitting in the first two rows.
- Warranty: 4-year/60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 6-year/70,000 mile powertrain.
- Final assembly location: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
- Manufacturer’s website: Lexus