The new three-row, seven-seater Lexus RX350L has officially touched down in South Africa, slotting into the middle of the now-three-derivative line-up.

Whereas the standard RX features five seats, the RX350L gains a third row with two extra perches. With the body extended by 110 mm (the wheelbase is unchanged), the roof raised by 10 mm and the slope of the powered tailgate steeper, the Toyota-backed brand promises “excellent” leg- and headroom for third-row passengers.

Lexus says the power-folding third row (with its own, dedicated climate control zone) can accommodate two passengers, and furthermore includes two cup-holders. With the 50-50 split-folding third row upright, Lexus says the cargo length measures 566 mm.

At the touch of a button, the third-row seats fold completely flat, freeing up a claimed 432 litres of cargo space (measured to the tonneau cover). For simple third-row access, one-touch levers on each side of the vehicle are used to fold and slide the second-row seats forward. Slide length for these seats has been extended 45 mm forward.

Interestingly, the second row has been repositioned slightly higher to create more foot room for passengers in the final row. A moon roof replaces the panoramic roof fitted to five-seat variants, while the second-row seats are manual instead of power-operated.

In terms of safety, curtain airbags have been extended to protect third-row passengers, while an additional child-seat anchorage point has been included. As with other RX models, ten airbags come standard.

The RX350L draws its urge from the brand's familiar 3,5-litre V6 petrol engine (linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission), which in this configuration makes 216 kW and 358 N.m – interestingly, slightly down on the 221 kW/370 N.m offered in the standard RX350. The reason? Well, “packaging requirements” for the third-row meant a single exhaust rather than the dual system had to be fitted to RX350, resulting in the slight reductions in power and torque.

As with other models in the range, the RX350L is covered by a four-year/90 000 km maintenance plan.

Lexus RX350: R916 600
Lexus RX350L: R949 300
Lexus RX450h: R1 222 600