The 2020 Lexus RX received minor fixes that make for a massive improvement to this mid-size luxury SUV. Case in point is the RX’s new touchscreen infotainment controls, which make amends for the previous model’s irritating touchpad system mounted on the center console. Pitched against rivals like the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60 and Lincoln Nautilus, the Lexus RX no longer needs to make excuses when cross-shopped against these and many other luxury SUVs.
Available with two or three rows of seating, not to mention an available hybrid drivetrain, the Lexus RX prioritizes driving comfort and a whisper-quiet cabin. This isn’t the sportiest SUV out there, but it’s certainly one of the most cosseting to drive. Don’t think the RX is a total marshmallow, however. There’s plenty of power available from the standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine, with a choice of front- and all-wheel drive along with two flavors of the F Sport trim.
It adds up to one supremely smooth and refined SUV, not to mention one that comes with the Lexus brand’s reputation for impeccable reliability. Be sure to follow the related link above to read our full review by Cars.com’s Joe Bruzek. For a more rapid-fire take on this SUV’s prolific pros, along with some confounding cons, keep scrolling.
Here are six things we like, and three we … well, like less, about the 2020 Lexus RX:
Things We Like
1. Strong V-6
If you thought we’d kick things off with the much-talked-about upgraded infotainment system, we’ll get there soon enough — but let’s not forget how suavely the RX hustles down the road thanks to a wonderfully refined 3.5-liter V-6 that delivers a total of 295 horsepower and 268 pounds-feet of torque. Buyers have a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, with the former drivetrain returning an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in city driving and 27 mpg on the highway. Adding all-wheel drive drops these figures to a still-respectable 19/26 mpg city/highway average.
2. Touchscreen Infotainment System
Behold, the long-awaited update that relegates the previous RX’s maddening infotainment controls to the automotive garbage heap. To be clear, the touchpad controller is still there on the center console. But you may deem it redundant given the new standard 8-inch and optional 12.3-inch touchscreens. These screens make the RX so much easier to live with on a daily basis. The controls are clear and concise, with nice, big, easy-to-locate buttons — plus the system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and avoids squashing icons into a corner of the screen like in some rival systems.
3. Smartphone Storage
Lexus went one step further by creating a convenient slot designed specifically to hold your smartphone. OK, show of hands: Who has ever hit the gas or brake pedal and launched their phone into inner-cabin orbit? This convenient niche on the center console keeps your phone safe and secure — though a couple improvements could make it even better (which we’ll get to later).
4. Smooth Suspension
The Lexus RX still does what it does best, offering a ride and handling balance that takes the stress out of everyday driving. The suspension smooths over rough pavement with ease, though it never feels too pillow soft in how it keeps the RX under control. Some rival luxury SUVs deliver sharper handling but, once again, the RX lets you feel firmly in control as the miles melt away in comfort.
5. Classy Cabin
The posh ride is only part of what makes the RX feel like a premium product. Step inside and you’ll find an interior filled with top-notch materials and soft-touch surfaces. Nothing feels built to a cost-cutting budget, there are no cheap-looking switches or controls to ruin the elegant ambiance.
6. Hands-Free Tailgate
While perhaps not earth-shattering, the inclusion of an improved hands-free tailgate is another bonus found in the 2020 RX. With a simple swipe of your foot under the rear bumper, the cargo hatch swings open with refreshing consistency. Previously, the system required holding your hand over the rear Lexus badge to open the hatch — not exactly “hands-free.”
More From Cars.com:
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- Lexus 2020 RX SUV Family Brings Home Safety Awards, Falls Short on Headlights
- 2020 Lexus RX 350 Addresses SUV’s Biggest Problem, But Doesn’t Fix It
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Things We Don’t
1. Touching Touchscreen Requires Reach
In his review, Bruzek noted the dash-mounted infotainment screen has been moved 5 inches closer to the driver. That makes a big difference considering the system now responds to touch inputs — but it still requires a pretty lengthy reach to access the controls. Shorter-limbed drivers would be wise to find a comfy seating position when SUV shopping, then determine if they’re able to reach the RX’s screen.
2. F Sport Models Lack an Edge
Lexus has expanded the F Sport performance range in the 2020 RX, though we think the upgrades lack the sporty edge that makes them worth the price. The F Sport Performance Package adds adaptive shocks like those found on the LC 500 sports car. But at more than $4,800, it’s a steep price to pay for a fancier suspension and exterior design updates.
3. Smartphone Setup Not-So-Smart
Remember that handy smartphone holder? While it keeps your phone from becoming a projectile, the two USB ports closest to it are charge-only units. Accessing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto requires plugging your phone into an outlet tucked farther away in the center console. There is also no wireless recharging, which would make the holder that much more useful.
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