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Lexus RX 350L: Lengthy wait for 7-seater is over




LEXUS is selling a car with seven seats here for the first time. The RX 350L is a stretched version of its popular RX Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) with a third row of seats.

To create the room for two more people back there, Lexus added 11cm to the rear of the RX and used a more upright tailgate design.

The RX 350L was introduced last weekend and costs S$299,800 inclusive of Certificate Of Entitlement, which makes it S$23,000 cheaper than the five-seat RX 350.

The five-seat version is more expensive because it comes with features that the RX 350L lacks, such as a panoramic glass roof and a 360-degree camera system that aids parking.

The difference in equipment levels is down to the fact that the stretched car is aimed at buyers who prize room over frills.

"Whether you want to transport three generations of your family, or make space for luggage and larger loads, the RX 350L is designed to complement your lifestyle," according to Samuel Yong, the marketing director for Lexus distributor Borneo Motors Singapore.

The new car's third row area has air-con vents with their own controls, USB charging ports and drinks holders.

The seats back there fold up from the boot floor electrically, and the car retains the power tailgate that other RX models have.

The RX 350L is part of an ongoing push into the SUV market by Lexus. Next year, the Japanese brand will debut the UX, a sporty crossover car one size down from its NX model, which is itself smaller than the RX.

The brand is also working on a flagship luxury SUV based on the LF-1 Limitless, a concept car that it showed at January's Detroit motor show.

As for the RX 350L, it joins an increasingly crowded market of well-equipped SUVs with seven seats. The list of such cars available here includes the BMW X5, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento, as well as Volvo's XC90, which popularised the format.

While buyers are essentially spoilt for choice, devotees of the Lexus brand itself at least have a seven-seat option to consider now. Their lengthy weight for the lengthy car is over.

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