To start with, Lexus created the 1998 RX 300 — the primary luxurious crossover SUV — and it was good. Greater than 20 years later, the RX is Lexus’s finest promoting mannequin, but in addition finds itself in a really crowded market filled with compelling premium and luxurious SUVs. The fourth-generation mannequin provided stable efficiency and luxury, however awkward and outdated expertise had turn out to be the Lexus’ Achilles’ heel. Fortunately, the refreshed 2020 Lexus RX that debuted earlier this 12 months goals to shore up that weak point with a a lot wanted replace to the dashboard and security expertise.
A lot of what is new for 2020 occurs beneath the sheetmetal, the place the RX’s chassis has undergone vital stiffening. Lexus tells me that there is been a tenfold improve in structural adhesive in and new “laser screw weld” approach that permits the automaker to squeeze in twice as many welds factors with out damaging the chassis’ metallic on account of overheating. The result’s a firmer platform, which allowed Lexus’ engineers to stiffen the dampers, roll bars and different transferring bits for a claimed enchancment in dealing with.
On the highway, the modifications the driving dynamics are adequately subtle that I had a tough time noticing any enchancment with a back-to-back journey within the 2019 mannequin. Flip-in feels a hair sharper and extra responsive, however total this nonetheless seems like the identical RX as earlier than. New “energetic nook braking” stability management ought to support at close to the restrict dealing with, however there wasn’t a lot of that in my pretty relaxed day of driving.
Nevertheless, I did discover a a lot bigger discount in cabin noise at velocity. There’s rather a lot much less highway and wind noise and the thump over bumps can be much less pronounced, which makes the SUV a way more enjoyable commuting cocoon.
Externally, the RX’s design has been sharpened and simplified with a bunch of tweaks to the entrance and rear fascias which have improved the aesthetic of the the nonetheless aggressively styled SUV. The optionally available LED headlamps have new look and the grille’s design has been cleaned up a bit. Lexus’ design language has began to develop on me and this refresh is a step in the appropriate route, but it surely’s nonetheless not fairly my cup of tea.
The sharp look is not everybody’s cup of tea, however the 2020 replace hones among the rougher parts.
My favourite new enchancment to the 2020 RX components is the obtainable 12.Three-inch cut up display screen show on the dashboard. It is now contact delicate and sits nearer to the motive force for simpler attain. (The outdated, set-back infotainment design was simply awkward and left the dashboard feeling enormous and empty.) The bigger, nearer display screen additionally seems to have the next decision and extra vibrant colours that pop extra clearly in daylight.
Along with touching the display screen, drivers can even use the Distant Contact Pad on the middle console to regulate the infotainment system. I discover this convenient for clicking round whereas driving because the pad falls properly on the hand at my driving place, however different members of Roadshow’s workers have discovered the contact pad to be extra distracting than useful.
The Lexus Enform software program and its menu construction have barely improved. Drivers even have the choice to connect with Apple CarPlay to carry their very own apps on the highway. The 2020 RX can be the primary ever Toyota/Lexus automobile to assist Android Auto and one of many first automobiles I’ve seen to assist the brand new widescreen assist for Google’s smartphone software program. Each cellphone mirroring applied sciences are customary on all RX fashions, even with the bottom Eight-inch show that I used to be unable to check.
Talking of latest customary options, the Lexus Security System+ 2.zero can be now customary gear throughout lineup. Along with pre-collision detection and automated emergency braking, this era of the automaker’s driver support suite upgrades with new highway signal detection, daytime bicyclist detection and low-light pedestrian detection.
The 2020 RX comes with extra security tech as customary gear.
Lane-keeping steering help has additionally been upgraded to Lane Tracing Help, which helps hold the RX centered in its lane slightly than ping-ponging forwards and backwards between the markings. The system is now in a position to make use of a number one automobile as its information for lane conserving if highway markings are lacking or not seen. The system works nicely with the space sensing adaptive cruise management all the best way right down to cease and go speeds.
Just about the remainder of the Lexus RX expertise is unchanged for this 2020 mannequin 12 months refresh. Inside quantity for individuals and cargo can be unchanged for 2020 and the SUV continues to be obtainable in 5 and seven-passenger configurations. Lexus expects that the three-row RX L fashions will make up a bigger proportion of gross sales for this era, however that is a change in buyer habits.
The RX 350’s Three.5-liter direct-injected V6 engine has gone untouched and rocks the identical 295 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque as earlier than. It is nonetheless obtainable in front- or all-wheel drive configurations, returning 23 and 22 mixed miles per gallon, respectively. In the meantime, the hybrid-powered RX 450h continues with the three.5-liter V6 and twin electrical motor all-wheel drive setup. Output is regular at a mixed 308 horsepower and gasoline financial system steps as much as 30 mixed mpg.
The refreshed 2020 RX meets the unique luxurious crossover, a 1998 Lexus RX 300.
The 2020 RX fashions ought to hit the highway in fall 2019. The replace retains intact its easy powertrain choices and even improves its snug, quiet journey. And infusion of tech — for each infotainment and security — helps to maintain the posh SUV aggressive for a number of extra years whereas Lexus works on a way more daring substitute for its hottest mannequin.
Pricing should not stray too removed from the present $44,845 beginning worth for the RX 350 and $47,270 for the RX 450h, however count on extra concrete figures nearer to launch. When you’re on the fence in regards to the 2019 RX proper now, it will be definitely worth the few months’ look forward to the marginally improved 2020 mannequin.
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