Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: January 20, 2020
It’s not our first rodeo in the Lexus RX. We’ve had the opportunity to drive the luxury brand’s top-selling SUV a number of times, from the hybrid variant to the standard V6-powered RX 350, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed every second behind the wheel. Not only does the RX outsell the popular IS and ES Sedan, but also the NX crossover, and by a huge margin too. Don’t be surprised then, if Lexus decides to play it safe with their cash cow and introduce only a handful of changes for 2020.
These minor revisions include a slightly restyled front bumper, grill, and taillights, though without putting it next to an outgoing 2019 model, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference. Even after spending a week with the 2020 RX 350 F Sport, I still can’t differentiate it from other RX models passing by. The best way is to actually go into the online configurator and shift the image between the 2019 to 2020 model. A new exterior paint colour called Moonbeam Beige Metallic is available - think of it like a fancier Corolla beige with more underlying grey hues. The feature-rich and upscale interior remains largely the same aside from tech upgrades like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The mind-bendingly frustrating mouse pad joystick has been banished to the underworld, and in its place is a trackpad that frankly speaking, doesn’t do much to alleviate the infotainment’s complex menu system, but is a step forward in the right direction.
Addressing our (and many customer) complaints, the touchscreen has also been relocated closer to the driver for easier reach, though it can still be a stretch, even for me and I’m six-feet tall. The power liftgate for the trunk now opens faster, and Lexus’s suite of safety assistance features come as standard, which includes pre-collision warning, automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, lane-keeping assist, and automatic high beams. Don’t forget that the RX also comes in a long wheelbase variant, offering a third-row of seats. To seal the deal, Lexus has further tweaked the steering and suspension for a more cohesive and rigid ride.
That about sums it up, and amounts to much of the same RX as before, both aesthetically and dynamically. It is difficult to detect any appreciable differences without a back-to-back comparison in ride quality and steering, but the RX is already outstandingly balanced to begin with. As expected, we still sing its praises after our RX 350 demonstrated above average road manners and chassis balance. If you’re debating between the RX 350 and its hybrid RX 450h variant, I would stick with the strictly gas-powered RX 350 unless saving fuel is of utmost importance. The powertrain in the RX 350 feels more complete, more responsive, and there’s none of that CVT nonsense buzzing in your ears as you accelerate. You can read our detailed review of the 2019 RX 450h by clicking here.
At this point, you might think that we are head over heels for the RX and that’s because if it we had $60,000 in cash lying about, there would an RX in our garage right now. Speaking of finances, the 2020 Lexus RX models are actually cheaper than their outgoing models (though still more expensive than their MSRP back in 2017). The RX 350 starts at an easy $56,050, while the RX 450h commands $58,800. Don’t be fooled though, as even the RX is prone to a swollen price tag, with F Sport packages and other amenities pushing the final MSRP right up to $70,000. And while the minor changes for 2020 do little to change the overall RX driving experience, they serve to perfect the formula that has driven Lexus sales to the moon. Why fix something that isn’t broken?
Model: 2020 Lexus RX 350 F Sport
Paint Type: Ultra White
Base Price: $56,065
Price as Tested: $69,850
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,890 / 1,895 / 1,720
Curb weight (kg): 1,990
Engine: 3.5-litre V6
Horsepower: 295 hp @ 6,300 rpm
Torque: 267 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 12.9