In-depth reviews

Lexus RX review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

Boot space isn't the best, but there's plenty of room in the cabin

The latest Lexus RX is the largest yet, which is good news for the car's practicality - but makes it a little more difficult to drive in the city. The CVT gearbox can be a little tricky to modulate, and it certainly rewards those who are happy to take things easy. Anything other than a light throttle sends revs soaring and this will be rather irritating when trying to make smooth progress around town. 

There are five seats in the RX and seven in the RX-L. The rear seats (middle row in the RX-L) fold down in a 60:40 split using levers to the side of each seat, while the third row in the RX-L folds flat easily.

The seven-seat model also gives customers the choice of specifying a three-seat second row bench, or two individual captain’s seats, with manual fold and recline adjustment. The second row also benefits from a slide range extended by an extra 45 mm to 165 mm, providing easier access to the third-row seats.

Third row seats can be moved forward and backward electronically depending on the customer’s needs, providing additional legroom (+95 mm) as required.

A centre console in the RX adds some extra storage to the cabin, including a smart new type of cupholder that adjusts to the size of the cup you place inside it.

There are a few different types of leather seat available, with higher-spec models getting perforated material to allow for ventilation on a hot day. Heated seats are available too, with a memory function to allow multiple drivers to get comfortable more quickly.

Towing capacity is 2,000kg for braked trailers or 750kg for unbraked trailers.

Size

At 4,890mm long, 1,895mm wide (without mirrors) and 1,685mm tall the Lexus RX is a rather large car, and it feels it on city streets. You do sit high up, and the RX is a tall car in the first place - so you get a good view down on everything else around you. The large A-pillars can cause a problem when pulling out at junctions, but you'll find the same problem on any other car like this.

The RX-L sits on the same 2,790mm wheelbase and is also 1,895mm wide, but it's a smidgen taller at 1,700mm, and its total length expands to 5,000mm thanks to the longer rear overhang.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

The rear seats in the Lexus RX have been worked over by the brand to mimic those of a limousine - there's more legroom than before, and the seat backs recline more too. Since there's no bulky transmission tunnel in the floor, the middle seat is usable for more than just short trips.

For taller passengers the high floor could cause some discomfort in the back, but the seats themselves are comfortable and recline using a button on the side of the cushion. The back seats aren't as spacious as the ones in the Range Rover Sport, however.

Interior space for the first two rows remains the same in the RX-L, though the third row is cramped and not really suitable for adults. It's possible to free up a bit of extra legroom for whoever goes back there by sliding the middle row forward, but of course, this eats into legroom for passengers three, four and five.

Boot

The Lexus RX is designed to accommodate batteries for the hybrid system, which means it loses out on boot space compared to rivals offered without electrified powertrains. Space inside with the rear seats up is 539 litres and 1,579 litres with the seats folded. This will be enough for most buyers but the seats don't fold down completely flat. 

The rear seats split 60:40 electronically using a button in the boot or in the cabin. It's a useful effort-saving tool but not a time-saving one as they take an age to drop down. There's no loading lip, so sliding objects in is easy enough, but the opening is high up, which could cause a problem with heavy items. To make things a little more convenient, the F Sport and Takumi models include a powered tailgate as standard.

As for the RX-L, luggage space with five seats in place increases to 591 litres thanks to the extra length of the car's rear end, while dropping the middle row sees space expand to 1,656 litres. However, rivals such as the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7 continue to be roomier when it comes to luggage loading.

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