The 110mm extension to the RX Ls body - wheelbase remains the same - has been accomplished without detracting from the vehicles design and coupe-like profile

The 110mm extension to the RX L's body - wheelbase remains the same - has been accomplished without detracting from the vehicle's design and coupe-like profile

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A shift away from diesels and new WLTP reporting rules are helping Toyota's luxury Lexus brand in its quest to achieve 100,000 sales in Europe.

The upscale brand is looking to hit six figures by 2020, up from 75,000 vehicles a year currently. Also helping is a new product push - having just launched the RX L, a seven seat version of the current 450h SUV, coming soon are the ES sedan and a smaller SUV, the UX.

In tandem, Lexus will also seek to boost its brand image with a number of lifestyle initiatives including sponsorships and, ambitiously, the launch of a 'sport' yacht. More details to be revealed soon.

Frederico Paravicini, RX product manager for Lexus Europe, told just-auto: "It's important that we build brand appeal to reach new customers as well as bring new models to the market. The RX L is important because there is growing demand in the premium SUV segment for seven seats. This model gives us something with which to compete against the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Volvo XC90 and others."

As you would expect with Lexus, there is great attention to detail. Power operation allows the rearmost seats to be raised or stowed at the touch of a button while fine leather upholstery is also provided as standard.

There is a new triple-zone air conditioning system with independent controls for third row occupants. The 110mm extension to the RX's body - wheelbase remains the same - has been accomplished without detracting from the vehicle's design and coupe-like profile. 

In some seven-seat vehicles, the extra accommodation is simply added to an existing five-seater model; this can lead to a cramped interior. Lexus has used ingenious design and packaging to ensure that the two third row seats are comfortable to use and easy to access. Suitable headroom for the third row occupants has been secured by making the angle of the tailgate window slightly steeper. The second row bench seat has been set higher so that there is good foot space for the third row passengers, too. 

With more than 2.7m global sales, the RX is firmly established at the heart of Lexus' model range and the brand sees the new L variant further strengthening its market position as a vehicle that meets the prime requirements of modern families in the premium car market. 

Apart from the design changes and the provisions for the extra seating, the RX L shares all the same attributes of performance, powertrain, chassis dynamics and equipment features as the five-seat models.

The current RX range was introduced in 2015 so it's surprising Lexus didn't mix in a mild 'mid life' refresh along with the seven seats.

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