Flex appeal

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South African families can now enjoy more space in the luxury RX SUV following the launch of new variants that offer the flexibility of three rows of seating.

The seven-seat RX "L" models, available with V6 petrol or hybrid powertrains, were developed to meet frequent requests from customers and dealers, the 2018 RX 350L and RX 450hL retain the model's sleek features while incorporating a power-fold third-row seat and three-zone climate control.

Lexus has extended the body length 110 mm at the rear and used a steeper tailgate window angle to ensure good headroom for the additional passengers and class-leading luggage-space length behind the third row. The 60/40 split-fold third row can accommodate both child seats and adults and is designed to offer the same comfort and luxury as in the middle row. It is positioned slightly lower than the second row, creating more foot room for rear passengers. Third-row passengers have the comfort and convenience of separate rear air-conditioning and dedicated vents as well as a pair of cupholders.

Details that enhance versatility include a flat load floor behind the folded third-row, an easily stowable tonneau and covered slide rails. Access to the third row is made easy with a one-touch lever that folds and slides the second seat forward. Second-row seating head and legroom are unchanged. The 2018 RX "L" models offer levels of safety, style, luxury and performance expected in this luxury Lexus SUV. A full range of airbags are standard, including full-length side curtain airbags that cover all three rows.

The 3.5-litre V6 engine in the Lexus RX 350L employs the advanced D-4S fuel injection system, which combines direct and port fuel injection systems. For maximum efficiency, variable valve timing with intelligence - wide (VVT iW) is used on the intake camshaft, along with VVT i on the exhaust camshaft, allowing the engine to switch between Otto and Atkinson combustion cycles. The result is 216kw of power and 358nm of torque, with performance and efficiency optimised by an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The RX 350L features the Lexus Dynamic Torque Control AWD system that engages front-wheel drive under normal cruising conditions to help reduce fuel consumption. It uses an electronically controlled coupling ahead of the rear differential to send up to 50 per cent of available torque to the rear wheels, depending on driving dynamics and road conditions.

Lexus RX L occupants will experience the same luxuriously smooth, quiet ride as the two-row models offer. Front strut and rear double-wishbone suspension systems ensure agility and exemplary ride compliance over all types of surfaces. Electric power steering yields a light and comfortable steering feel with excellent feedback. Elegantly blacked out C pillars create a floating-roof effect while 20-inch wheel designs enhance the powerful-looking stance.

The Lexus RX 350L EX is priced from R959 000.

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