Car News

Lexus Does Back Seat Shuffle at LA Auto Show

The luxury crossover that helped launch the segment is now available with three rows. And the big-brother is getting a new version that drops the third row and a big piece of the sticker price along with it.

The RX crossover now comes in a pair of three-row, long wheelbase L models. The RX 350L and RX 450hL hybrid get 110 mm added to the rear of the body to allow room for not just passengers in the third row, but for more cargo room for the stuff they bring along. Lexus has also tweaked the styling, making the original raked tailgate more upright and leaving space for passengers to put their heads.

The RX L models have a 60/40 split third-row seat that has power folding. The middle row can be a conventional bench, or buyers can pick a six-passenger version with captain's chairs in the second row.

With the seats folded, the now-longer cargo area has a flat floor. A hands-free tailgate is also standard.

Passengers in the very back get their own climate control system with dedicated vents. The second row is raised to give the extra passengers more foot room. There are also extra cup holders in back. Lexus has also lengthened the side curtain airbags to protect them.

The powertrains remain the same with the 350L offering a 290 hp 3.5L V6 and the 450hL's Lexus Hybrid Drive system offering a combined 308 hp.

The RX L models should arrive at dealers later this year.

In a step in the opposite direction, Lexus showed off a new version of the LX 570 that drops the third row in favour of more cargo space.

Lexus said that buyers of the full-size LX wanted more space, but didn't use their third row. So Lexus obliged, for a model that's US-bound only. Cargo space is up, from 1,266 L to 1,430, and the price is down by about $5,000. The two-row LX also comes with standard roof rails, adding more cargo space up top.