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Lexus 2020 RX SUV Family Brings Home Safety Awards, Falls Short on Headlights

lexus rx 350 2020  02 angle  black  exterior  front jpg 2020 Lexus RX 350 | photo by Joe Bruzek

Lexus’ RX family of SUVs earned a Top Safety Pick award after acing nearly all of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s tests, but it missed out on the highest Top Safety Pick Plus award due to headlights that fell short of top performance. The rigorous headlight evaluation has tripped up a lot of vehicles in IIHS safety testing.

Related: 2020 Lexus RX Review: Just What the Doctor Ordered

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The RX family includes the RX 350 and RX 350L — two-row and stretched three-row gasoline versions — as well as the hybrid RX 450h and RX 450hL. The RX aced all six IIHS crash tests — driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints and seats — with the top score of good on a scale of good, acceptable, marginal or poor. The 2020 model is the first RX to undergo the passenger-side small overlap test and the rating only applies to the 2020 version, which got structural reinforcements for the new model year.

IIHS also tests forward collision prevention systems on a scale of superior, advanced or basic. The RX’s standard forward crash-prevention system with automatic braking also earned the highest possible rating.

Where the RX fell short is in headlight testing. The base headlights and one set of optional LED headlights earned second-tier acceptable ratings, short of the top score required for the Top Safety Pick Plus award. And the optional curve-adaptive LED headlights earned a poor rating because of excessive glare.

Competitors such as the 2019 BMW X5 and 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE have Top Safety Pick Plus awards, while the 2019 Volvo XC60 is a Top Safety Pick.

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Road Test Editor Brian Normile joined the automotive industry and in 2013, and he became part of the Editorial staff in 2014. Brian spent his childhood devouring every car magazine he got his hands on — not literally, eventually — and now reviews and tests vehicles to help consumers make informed choices. Someday, Brian hopes to learn what to do with his hands when he’s reviewing a car on camera. He would daily-drive an Alfa Romeo 4C if he could. Email Brian Normile

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