2020 Lexus RX: A Touch of Change

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2020 lexus rx a touch of change

Lexus’ refreshed RX line is all about minor changes, though one new addition for 2020 might have even Lexus loyalists on their feet, cheering.

Despite an outward appearance that hasn’t changed all that much over the outgoing version, drivers of the 2020 RX can plunk themselves behind the wheel, reach out with their right hand, and touch the difference.

Yes, for 2020, the RX adopts a touchscreen infotainment system, allowing drivers to avoid the brand’s much-maligned touchpad controller when accessing menus and icons on the 8-inch (or optional 12.3-inch) multimedia screen. In this writer’s experience, the touchpad required the fingers of a surgeon to prevent the indicator from skittering across the screen and missing its intended target. As using a laptop touchpad already instills a vague sense of nausea in yours truly, it was far from an ideal setup.

Not that Lexus’ touchpad has gone away. No, it’s still there, aft of the shifter, but you don’t need to use it. The only obstacle preventing touchpad abstainers from achieving a moment of motoring zen is the reach required to physically touch the screen.

Drivers will be happy to learn that, finally, Android Auto connectivity has joined the RX equipment roster. This, along with Apple CarPlay, becomes standard kit for 2020.

Outside, the RX adopts slimmer headlamps flanking the ever-present spindle grille, with larger front intakes taking away some of the gaping maw’s terrifying presence. Foglights now reside in a horizontal strip resting at the bottom of those openings. Rear-end changes amount to a tweaked placement of the reflectors.

Other content changes include an upgraded Dynamic Voice Command that Lexus claims will understand more barked orders. Standard safety features now include traffic sign recognition, daytime bicyclist detection, and low-light pedestrian detection. For those who like taking it easy, the RX’s full-speed adaptive cruise control incorporates lane centering to keep the vehicle from straying, using the vehicle in front as a guide if need be.

Should all of this content fail to impress, Lexus saw fit to add spot welds and extra structural adhesive, resulting in a more rigid chassis, then rejigged the vehicle’s suspension with new shocks and stiffer (yet lighter) stabilizer bars to better smooth out road imperfections and improve handling. Active corner braking arrives to lessen the chance of understeer.

There’s nothing new to report under the hood, as both bodystyles and powertrains carry over for the coming model year. Long-wheelbase, three-row “L” variants and hybrid versions of both bodystyles will be there for the taking. For 2020, F Sport buyers gain a choice of packages: an appearance package that omits the cold air intake, active sound control (cabin exhaust amplification), and heated steering wheel, while keeping the upgraded active variable suspension, or the whole kit and caboodle.

The 2020 RX line goes into production in the third quarter of this year. Pricing to come.

[Images: Lexus]

Join the conversation
2 of 19 comments
  • Lie2me Lie2me on May 30, 2019

    I've always associated the RX series with middle aged real estate agents, because the only time I've every been in one was when someone was trying to sell me a house

  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on May 30, 2019

    I bet Lexus has the smallest design budget of any luxury brand. It just doesn't make sense to spend money making a pretty car.As long as it's quiet ,dead nuts reliable, and cushily suspended, and the dealers are in right part of town and pamper their patrons, they'll move product. That's my Lexus run on sentence. It's too bad GM made Buick what it is, they could've had a piece of the pie.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?