for 2018, lexus added a third-row option to its rx 350. lexus' mid-size suv is a popular vehicle, so it makes sense that adding more available seats would only widen its appeal. not so fast: while the rx 350l's second row is roomy and easily accommodates two car seats, the third row is cramped, uncomfortable and hard to access. the model we tested featured a second-row bench seat and two-seat third row.
how many car seats fit in the third row? two
related: more car seat checks
- latch, grade a: there are two sets of lower anchors, and access and connection was easy. there are three top tether anchors under hinged plastic covers on the seatback. locating them and connecting was also not a problem.
- infant, grade a: there was plenty of room for this seat, and it was easy to install.
- rear-facing convertible, grade a: again, this seat had ample room, and latch connection wasn't an issue.
- forward-convertible, grade a: after removing the head restraint, this seat fit well and was easy to install in the second row. we had no issues connecting to the top tether anchor.
- booster, grade b: after raising the head restraint, the booster fit well in the second row. the buckles sink down into the upholstery, however, complicating connection for kids.
- third-row access, grade c: the seats slide forward to create an opening to the third row, but they're pretty heavy; the opening is tiny and the step-in height is tall. also, with the second row slid all the way back, it's touching the third row, making it unusable for passengers.
- third-row forward-facing convertible, grade b: we again removed the head restraint to get a good fit. since there are no lower latch anchors in the third row, we used the seat belt to install the car seat. the third row's only top tether anchor is on the driver's side, so that's where we installed the convertible. space is tight, and the car seat wants to ride on top of the seat belt, so we had to wedge it in there.
- third-row booster, grade c: we again removed the head restraint to get a good fit. as in the second row, the buckles sink into the seat cushion in the third row, which will likely make it difficult for kids to buckle up independently. the seat is also not wide enough, so the booster wants to sit on top of the buckle, making it extra tricky to buckle up.
solid indicates an a grade for optimum ease of use and fit. so-so indicates b or c grades for one to two ease-of-use or fit issues. skip it indicates d or f grades.
a: plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn't impact driver or front-passenger legroom. easy to find and connect to latch and tether anchors. no fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. easy access to the third row.
b: one room, fit or connection issue. some problems accessing third row when available.
c: marginal room plus one fit or connection issue. difficult to access third row when available.
d: insufficient room, plus multiple fit or connection issues.
f: does not fit or is unsafe.
about 's car seat checks
editors jennifer geiger, jennifer newman and matt schmitz are certified child safety seat installation technicians.
for the car seat check, we use a graco snugride classic connect 30 infant-safety seat, a britax marathon convertible seat and graco turbobooster seat. the front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a shorter passenger. the three child seats are installed in the second row. the booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.
we also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row's middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. if there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. learn more about how we conduct our car seat checks.
parents should also remember that they can use the latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat, and that latch anchors have a weight limit of 65 pounds, including the weight of the child and the weight of the seat itself.
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