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The Lexus RX 350L comes with third-row seating. Photo: Lexus

This week I'm driving the Lexus RX 350L, a stretch version of the luxury carmaker's best-selling RX crossover utility.

Why it matters: Lexus needed to add a third row to the RX to keep up with competitors, but it's probably best to park little kids back there, not grandma or teenagers.

What's new: The 2020 RXL gets rid of Lexus' annoying mouse-like Remote Touch controller on the center console and replaces it with a slightly less awkward touchpad. At least the infotainment system now has touchscreen capability. None of the interfaces are ideal, which is true in most cars today.

  • The RXL starts at $47,300. My loaded version was $63,540, including delivery and handling charges.

Many assisted driving features are standard in the RXL, including more sensitive camera and radar systems that can detect daytime bicyclists as well as pedestrians even in low light.

  • I liked that road signs are clearly displayed in the instrument panel, too.

I had a little more trouble with Lexus' "lane tracing assist" technology, which is designed to keep the vehicle in the center of the lane while using dynamic cruise control.

  • If road markings are not detected, the system is also capable, in certain conditions, of following the car ahead of it.
  • During my drive, it was cloudy, the roads were wet and there were snow flurries. I saw no reason why the system shouldn't work.
  • Still, the car annoyingly slowed down and sped up with each rise or dip in the road, and it frequently latched on to cars in other lanes when the road curved ever so slightly.

My thought bubble: This is why drivers turn off driver-assistance technology that doesn't inspire confidence, defeating its potentially life-saving benefits.

Go deeper

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.