2020 Lexus RX

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2020 Lexus RX Test Drive Review: A Much-Needed Touch-Up

For most luxury automakers, the compact luxury crossover segment contains their hottest seller. But for several years now, the mid-size RX has been the best-seller for Lexus. In fact, only the Tesla Model 3 (if you count it as a luxury vehicle) outsells the RX in the United States. This is the most important vehicle for Lexus, which is why the company gave the model a much-needed refresh for the 2020 model year.

No major changes have been made to the RX's V6 and hybrid drivetrains but Lexus has introduced a major upgrade to its infotainment system. It now has a touchscreen. The Remote Touch interface has long been maligned as one of our least favorite infotainment systems on the market but Lexus hopes the addition of a touchscreen can alleviate our gripes and place it in a better position against rivals like the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE. To test out the new touchscreen and the other improvements introduced for the 2020 model year, we borrowed an RX 350L (the three-row version) for a week of testing.

Read in this review:

8.2
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2020 Lexus RX Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 RX?

For 2020, the RX benefits from a few styling tweaks, tech upgrades, and improved driving dynamics. Starting with the styling, the RX has received a revised grille and front bumper design. Lexus claims that the 2020 RX drives even better than before thanks to revised stabilizer bars, better steering response, and upgraded dampers. In the cabin, Lexus has moved the infotainment screen 5.5 inches closer to the driver and added touch functionality, while there are also additional USB ports, new storage options for a smartphone, and a new Lexus app, along with a larger 12.3-inch screen in the options list. The big news is the long-awaited addition of Android Auto, the first such integration of the feature for any Lexus.

An enhanced safety specification sees features like daytime cyclist detection and pedestrian detection (in low light) being added. Other enhancements include a revised color palette, new wood trim options, and two additional wheel designs.

Pros and Cons

  • Typically flawless Lexus build quality
  • Many small improvements for 2020
  • Cushy seats
  • Abundance of standard safety features
  • Comfortable ride
  • Infotainment system seems half-baked
  • Lackluster driving experience
  • Third row couldn't fit a cardboard cutout
  • Not as quick as class rivals
  • Laggy transmission tuning

Best Deals on 2020 Lexus RX

2020 Lexus RX Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
RX 350
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$44,150
RX 450h
3.5L V6 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$46,800
RX 350L
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$47,300
RX 350 F SPORT
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$47,950
RX 350 F SPORT Performance
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$50,350
See All 2020 Lexus RX Trims and Specs

2020 RX Exterior

2020 Lexus RX Front View CarBuzz
2020 Lexus RX Rear View CarBuzz
2020 Lexus RX Frontal Aspect CarBuzz
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Dimensions

  • Length 192.5 in
  • Wheelbase 109.8 in
  • Height 67.7 in
  • Max Width 74.6 in
  • Front Width 64.4 in
  • Rear Width 64.0 in
  • Curb Weight 4,222.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Eminent White Pearl
  • Nebula Gray Pearl
  • Atomic Silver
  • Obsidian
  • Caviar
  • Nori Green Pearl
  • Nightfall Mica
  • Matador Red Mica
  • Moonbeam Beige Metallic
  • Ultra White

2020 RX Performance

2020 Lexus RX Aft View CarBuzz
2020 Lexus RX Wheel CarBuzz
2020 Lexus RX Engine Bay CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    3.5L V6 Gas, 3.5L V6 Hybrid
  • Transmissions
    8-Speed Automatic, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Lexus RX driving experience can best be described as a bowl of vanilla ice cream with no sprinkles. Fine as a plain dessert, but nothing to get excited over. The steering carries a surprising amount of weight but with absolutely no feedback coming through the wheel, there's no way to enjoy the driving experience. Lexus has included Eco, Normal, and Sport modes for the driver to toggle through but if they change anything about the driving experience, we couldn't detect it. Even in Sport Mode, the RX is hesitant to respond to throttle inputs, waiting until long after the gap in traffic has vanished before initiating a downshift from the transmission.

For 2020, Lexus has added hollow front and rear stabilizer bars to reduce weight and limit body roll as well as re-tuned shock absorbers and stiffer roll bars to create a smoother ride. These changes have definitely made the RX smooth but at the expense of composure. The RX handles like a bowl of pudding on wheels, so we suggest you take corners slowly. Our tester was not equipped with the F Sport equipment, since it isn't available on the RX 350L, but we doubt it will improve the car enough to match its European rivals with regard to driving dynamics.

2020 RX Interior

2020 Lexus RX Dashboard CarBuzz
2020 Lexus RX Steering Wheel CarBuzz
2020 Lexus RX Seat CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 44.1 in
  • Front Head Room 39.4 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.0 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.1 in

2020 RX Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Lexus RX Rear Passenger Seats CarBuzz
2020 Lexus RX Rear Seats Folded CarBuzz
2020 Lexus RX Maximum Cargo Space CarBuzz

2020 RX Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    6 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    1 Years \ 10,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Lexus RX a good SUV?

As the best-selling (non-Tesla) luxury vehicle in the US, it doesn't appear as though the RX's faults have kept people from buying it. There are plenty of attributes to enjoy about the RX including its comfort and build quality but we feel there are better options in this class, especially if you need three rows. In its transformation to become a three-row vehicle, we feel like Lexus has completely botched the RX. The 350L model looks awkward at the back and the third row is too small even for children. Our tester carried an MSRP of $63,330 and we can honestly say we'd be happier buying a Kia Telluride or Hyundai Palisade and pocketing nearly $20,000.

Comfortable though the RX may be, options like the Audi Q7, Mercedes GLE, and Volvo XC90 all seem like more exciting options. Don't want a European car? Then check out the Acura MDX, Buick Enclave, Lincoln Aviator, and the upcoming Genesis GV80. The RX is an acceptable choice as a two-row model but we'd avoid the L model.

Check out other Lexus RX Styles

2020 Lexus RX Comparisons

Lexus NX
Acura MDX Acura
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Lexus RX275 hpTBCTBC
Lexus NX 203 hp26/33 mpg$38,350
Acura MDX 290 hp19/25 mpg$48,000

2020 Lexus RX vs Lexus NX

The NX is a smaller, five-seater SUV from Lexus. Starting at $36,870, it comes in at nearly $10,000 less expensive than the base RX 350. Of course, that means a less powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 235 horsepower, although the NX's lighter weight means it is actually the quicker of the two SUVs, able to get to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. At nearly 10 inches shorter, the NX is a bit more nimble than the RX, but both are typically Lexus with a comfortable ride and excellent refinement and build quality. Both have below-average cargo capacities among luxury SUVs, but they are better than most for quality and predicted reliability, as is the case for most models from the Lexus stable. If you don't require the RX's extra available seats and smoother V6 engine, the NX will save you a fair amount of cash while providing a similar level of luxury and comfort.

See Lexus NX Review

2020 Lexus RX vs Acura MDX

Both of these Japanese luxury SUVs represent more luxurious offerings from Toyota and Honda. Under the hood, the MDX uses a 290-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine. Although this is slightly down on the standard RX's 295 hp, the MDX is much sprightlier off the line and can tow more than the Lexus when equipped with all-wheel-drive. The MDX is also a more enjoyable SUV to drive with weighty steering and a comfy ride. On the downside, the Acura's dual-screen infotainment system isn't the best and its cabin doesn't evoke the same quality feel of the one in the RX. Both are three-row SUVs, but only the MDX provides any degree of comfort in the third row for adults. Because a three-row SUV should be able to accommodate seven passengers in comfort, this is the aspect that swings our vote in favor of the Acura.

See Acura MDX Review

2020 Lexus RX Popular Comparisons

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2020 Lexus RX Video Review

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