2020 Lexus RX: Why this SUV is the epitome of practical luxury

Many might not remember this, but the Lexus RX is an important vehicle. The first-generation Lexus RX is proof that a car-based SUV is capable of combining comfort, luxury – and most importantly – reliability in a family vehicle. Fortunately, the refreshed 2020 Lexus RX is all that and more.

The new Lexus RX 350 benefits from major improvements inside and out. Here are the top reasons why the 2020 Lexus RX belongs in the upper echelons of compact luxury SUVs.

The new Lexus RX is a practical luxury SUV

Even though the Lexus RX is only available in two trim models, the Japanese carmaker is offering the RX 350 in four versions. The first is a two-row, five-seater, non-hybrid model. Next is the three-row, 7-seater non-hybrid version followed by the hybrid RX450h. The last model is a three-row hybrid RX 450hL. Front-wheel-drive is standard while all-wheel-drive is optional.

Least to say, there’s a Lexus RX for every need and is the reason why it remains the most popular and bestselling Lexus SUV.

It’s equipped with a strong V6 motor

It doesn’t matter if you choose the two-row or three-row Lexus RX. The RX 350 comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine generating 295-horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Power is transferred to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic.

The 2020 Lexus RX 450h comes with a hybrid-electric powertrain and two electric motors. Combined with the 3.5-liter V6, the powertrain churns out 308-horsepower and 30 mpg, which is phenomenal for a small luxury SUV.

The 2020 Lexus RX has a new design

Not everyone appreciates the strong character lines and large spindle grilles in modern Lexus cars, including the outgoing Lexus RX. However, the revised model manages to clean up the look of the vehicle without losing strength, character, and sophistication in the design.

The 2020 Lexus RX benefits from updated front and rear styling. The large grille is cleaner yet more distinctive courtesy of elaborate blocks with different shapes and angles. The new front grille is also angled more smoothly at each corner for a more rounded and premium look.

The new Lexus RX also receives slimmer headlights for a sharper look. The rear taillights retain the familiar L motif while the rear diffuser, dual exhaust, and updated reflectors all contribute to a sportier rear design.

It’s more engaging to drive

Lexus vehicles are known for many things like superior reliability, unfathomable durability, and top-level build quality. However, Lexus cars are not known for their driving dynamics. Sure, Lexus vehicles are among the most comfortable and refined modern cars today, but Lexus is shedding the ‘dull’ image with the new RX SUV.

The updated Lexus RX 350 gets new front and rear stabilizer bars, which are now hollow to reduce unsprung weight. However, the stabilizer bars are now thicker in diameter and come with reinforced bushings. This helps reduce body roll while improving the steering response of the vehicle.

Lexus even added a stiffer suspension system that offers better handling while significantly reducing road noise and vibrations.

The Lexus RX has a tech-filled interior

The biggest change inside the Lexus RX is the infotainment system. You still get the standard 8-inch touchscreen display. However, the optional 12.3-inch screen is also available. This is a welcome change as the bigger infotainment screen is now a touchscreen, and is now relocated closer to the driver. The old system can only be controlled by the annoying center-console touchpad.

We’re just glad Lexus is listening to customer demands as it got rid of that pesky and pretentious touchpad. Here’s hoping the new touchscreen display makes its way into all Lexus models in the near future.

The 2020 Lexus RX now comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s interesting to point out the new Lexus RX is the first Lexus vehicle to get Android Auto. The new RX also gets six USB ports, Bluetooth compatibility, dual zone climate control, a power liftgate, and a nine-speaker audio system.

The Lexus RX F Sport is also updated for 2020

The 2020 Lexus RX 350 is still offered in base and F Sport version. Lexus naturally updated the F Sport model along with the base RX 350. The new F Sport gets a new F Sport Package that includes a heated steering wheel, active sound control (which is marketing slang for fake exhaust sound piping from the audio system), and – surprisingly – a cold air intake system. When was the last time a Lexus vehicle came fitted with a cold air intake from the factory?

But no sport model is complete without a set of sports suspension. The 2020 Lexus RX 350 F Sport goes further by utilizing the Active Variable Suspension system, which is the same suspension in the Lexus LC coupe.

It remains a comfortable, luxurious, and capable family SUV

It’s also a safe one. Even the base model Lexus RX 350 is equipped with Safety System+ 2.0 which includes lane keeping assist, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and daytime bicyclist detection. It also comes with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

But the biggest strength of the Lexus RX is the ride comfort. It remains one of the best riding luxury SUVs money can buy. We also like how the cabin is cocooned in silence with virtually zero tire roar and wind noise – at any speed.  

The 2020 Lexus RX remains a game changer. It’s not as plush as the BMW X5 or Mercedes-Benz GLE, but it rides more smoothly than the Audi Q5 and Acura RDX. With better handling and a revised interior, the new Lexus RX should be on your shortlist if searching for a new luxury SUV.