By on May 30, 2019


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]

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19 Comments on “2020 Lexus RX: A Touch of Change...”

  • avatar

    Still awful.

  • avatar

    Going all the way back the the egg-shaped rx300, I’ve always found this model line horrendously ugly. The tradition continues.

  • avatar

    Any dashboard with a display screen sticking out like some kind of Etch-a-Sketch is an automatic design fail.

    • 0 avatar

      Then 90% of current vehicles fail. I blame Audi. I believe they were the first and being a luxury brand everyone copied them. Was Mazda next? Every time I see an iPad stuck on the dash I cringe. I could get the same results with a generic mount, like how I added a GPS to my boat!

  • avatar

    I had hopes that the Trailblazer moving the Lexus signature grille down-market would trigger a Lexus refresh to ditch it. Not likely since Lexus still has the trendy analog clock in the same way the Sebring did.

    Is there a delete option for the Whorehouse Red upholstery?

  • avatar

    “A Touch of Change” …… a BIGGER grill!

  • avatar

    “A Touch of Change” …… an even BIGGER grill!

  • avatar

    I quite like the “design” elements of the car. But it’s simply not possibly to make this look good when stuck with a CUV envelope. It looks almost like a race car; ground effects, aero appendages and all. But one that is sitting in a garage, on foot tall jackstands.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    My best friend has a 2016 RX 450h. We both agree that the infotainment system is just awful. The mouse is far too imprecise to actually be useful, and the graphics look like those of a DVD player from 2002.

    This will be a welcome improvement.

    Meanwhile, the facelift itself is so subtle that no one will notice. Perfect for owners of the pre-refresh model.

  • avatar

    I have little issue with this SUV except that its expensive. An affordable used one sounds good to me. Its just a good reliable SUV with a funky mug. I don’t care too much what it looks like if it give me 10+ years of reliable service.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    “reach out with their right hand, and touch the difference”

    Golly, for a moment, I thought you were going to tell us the RX would be available with a 6-speed manual!

    dream on……!

  • avatar

    A good vehicle wrapped up in a herd of pointless styling cues. It’s time for Japan Inc. to end the Styled by Transformers era.

  • avatar

    And yet another iPad rising from the dash!

    At least make it look somewhat integrated! If it comes out of the dash like this, or literally looks like an iPad plopped on with a suction cup, it’s a fail!

  • avatar

    Hey Lexus, how about making a retrofit possible. I just spent some quality time in my mom’s 2019 ES350 and that touchpad is the spawn of Satan. While you’re at it, the Fisher-Price plastics you use on the doors where the locks and window switches are has got to go. This is supposed to be a luxury car –don’t think so, the ride is kind of lousy– so a spot that you’re going to touch a lot ought to feel “luxury”.

  • avatar

    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

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    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.

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