DETROIT — Lexus has literally added on to the most popular luxury CUV in the country, the RX 350L. They made it longer and gave it a third row of seats.

I had the 2018 Lexus RX 350L AWD. It had bench seats in the second row, captain’s seats are available, and that meant it could carry seven people. Interestingly, it weighed 4,619 lbs. That’s bordering on hefty, but it didn’t drive like an overweight vehicle.

Undoubtedly the ease with which the 350L moved can be attributed in part to its suspension. It had a MacPherson strut and coil springs setup in the front and a double wishbone type and coil springs in the rear.

But what really made this three-row CUV smooth was under the hood. The RX 350L was powered by a 3.5-liter normally aspirated V6 that made 290 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. The engine was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission,

This combination was velvety, almost as quiet as a hybrid and it had ample get up and go when needed. About the only thing to quibble about was the mileage. It wasn’t a guzzler but it wasn’t all that economical either.

That third row was a bit cramped too. There wasn’t much head space for a grown man. The second row seats slid so adjustments can be made for legroom.

The EPA rating for the 2018 Lexus RX 350L AWD was 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg combined. And the performance numbers were achieved with premium gasoline.

It had the usual creature comforts in this price range: $56,836.  Heated and cooled front seats, blind spot alert with rear cross traffic braking and intuitive park assist, a12-speaker premium audio system, a 12.3 inch navigation system, a touch free power hatch door, moonroof, power telescoping and tilting heated wood and leather steering wheel, wood and leather interior, Lexus Enform, a connection suite of apps, 20-inch wheels and a winter package comprised of windshield deicer, auto headlight leveling and headlight cleaner.

But where they really excelled with the RX 350L was the interior. It was chestnut and cream leather accentuated by blond-stained wood trim. It looked expensive, it was comfortable and it conveyed luxury.

That’s what you want to feel like when you get into any vehicle. And it seems Lexus has learned that lesson well.

Frank S. Washington is editor of

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