June 6, 2020

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2020 Lexus RX 350L review: The bestseller gets a little better

The Lexus RX 350 lineup will get some welcome updates for 2020.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

The Lexus RX has been a income juggernaut because it ignited the luxurious SUV phase more than two many years in the past. Right now, it gives reliable design, convenience and functionality across a broad lineup. You can get a fuel or hybrid drivetrain, more engaging F Sport trims and as of a couple of a long time in the past, a third row.

Like

  • Silky drivetrain.
  • Calm, tranquil journey.
  • Updated infotainment.

Never Like

  • Cramped third-row seating.
  • Remote Touch Pad is infuriating.
  • Loose steering.

But just simply because the RX sits atop the income charts does not mean it’s not with no shortcomings. The in-your-deal with entrance close isn’t really everyone’s cup of tea, and the cumbersome-to-function tech leaves a lot to be ideal. And even though the journey veers toward getting supple and lavish, the RX is a considerably cry from getting pleasurable to function. Enter the 2020 model, which aims to enhance all these items.

Massaged appears to be like and the ‘third row’

I have created on many occasions that I don’t thoughts Lexus’ spindle grille. Like BMW’s kidney grille, it’s recognizable and synonymous with the brand. The entrance and rear fascias are up to date on the 2020 RX 350, with the most visible transform going on on the grille. On non-F Sport versions, the horizontal slats are out in favor of a more impactful mesh pattern that, alongside with the altered bumper deal with and slim headlights, make it edgier.

On my 350L Luxurious exam vehicle, the 20-inch break up-spoke wheels are also new this 12 months, as is the Moonbeam Beige Metallic paint coat that isn’t really thoughts-numbingly bland, which I quite rarely say about shades of beige. I would go for the other new paint preference of Nori Environmentally friendly Pearl, first observed on the pint-dimension UX crossover as a substitute, although.

In the RX’s effectively-designed, gentle, leather-lined cockpit, there are some modest format variations to be aware, this sort of as the new smartphone holder on the center console. Located in entrance of the cupholders, the slot securely holds phones and delivers easy accessibility to it avoiding you from fishing it out of cubby. It’s not a enormous point, but from time to time it’s the minor items that make a large big difference.

Unfortunately, what could not be aided is the RX 350L’s third-row seating. It continues to be tricky to accessibility and ridiculously tight the moment you’re again there, with sufficient legroom for somebody 10 a long time outdated  at very best, if not younger. Even then, passengers in the second row will need to scooch their seats forward, sacrificing their legroom as effectively. 

Foolish rabbit, the RX 350L’s third row is for young children.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

If the way-again seats audio like an afterthought, it’s simply because they are — the RX was under no circumstances designed to have these. This more substantial RX rides on the exact wheelbase as the typical model, but basically will get an additional four.four-inches of size guiding the C pillars as band-aid to serve third-row hungry buyers. 

That’s not to say it’s all lousy. If you will need to have more persons in a pinch, the 350L’s third row operates for quick distances, and there’s more cargo house when those people seats are folded flat. The typical RX 350 gives 56.3 cubic feet of cargo house, even though the RX L packs 70.seven with each rows of again seats stowed. That stacks up favorably to the Acura MDX’s 68.four cubic feet of house, but is guiding the Infiniti QX60’s seventy six.two.

Tech strides

Perhaps the most noteworthy 2020 RX advancement is the out there twelve.3-inch break up-display which is established nearer to entrance passengers, which is now a touchscreen with crisp graphics. That indicates working by the Lexus Enform infotainment method no longer depends on the distracting Remote Touch Pad. Changing radio stations and moving into navigation destinations is now much easier, with a little simplified menus.

Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle have lastly arrive to the RX.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Lexus Enform also lastly gains Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle capabilities in all RX designs, in addition to featuring Amazon Alexa integration and Wi-Fi hotspot. On my tester, a charming fifteen-speaker Mark Levinson audio set up pipes tunes into the cabin, and there are 6 USBs and a few twelve-volt scattered through the inside, that means anyone can plug in their phones.

The Lexus Safety System Plus two. is also now typical products across the RX lineup. The package deal combines new options this sort of as road indicator detection, daytime bicyclist detection and minimal-mild pedestrian detection, alongside with earlier typical goodies like adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with auto braking and lane-departure warning with lane-trying to keep help. My tester is also outfitted with optional blind-place checking and rear cross-targeted traffic notify, which are must-have units in my ebook. 

Smooth, but a bit tighter

All RXs carry on to be run by a 3.5-liter V6 working with an 8-velocity automatic gearbox. Front-wheel drive is typical, but my tester runs all-wheel drive. In the RX 350L, the V6 tends to make 290 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque, which is down from the typical 350’s 295 horses and 267 lb.-ft., due to a various exhaust method. The EPA estimates that the drivetrain returns 18 miles for every gallon in the metropolis and 25 mpg on the freeway.

The 3.5-liter V6 in the RX 350L is a smooth operator with 290 horses.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

In Normal mode, the more substantial RX requires a firmer press of the throttle to rollout in a brisk fashion,  although the transmission seamlessly performs cog swaps. Snap items into Sport and acceleration is livelier, and the trans holds on to gears longer and is more keen to downshift. 

In an try to punch up the RX’s dynamic chops, Lexus tinkered with the chassis and suspension. Structural adhesive usage boosts tenfold and new welding tactics result in two times as a lot of place welds with no harming chassis metallic, generating a stiffer system. That’s joined by stiffer dampers and thicker antiroll bars with bolstered bushings to decrease overall body roll and give greater steering reaction.

Are the variations visible? A minor, but it’s not entrance-webpage information. Pushing it some about expressway interchanges, the four,600-pound RX L hangs on reasonably effectively right after some original overall body roll. Credit score the 20-inch Michelin Premier LTX tires and the new active corner braking security method that assists decrease understeer by applying brake force to the inner tire. 

A 20-inch wheel and tire package deal assistance the more substantial RX corner competently.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Of course, sporty driving isn’t really the RX’s principal mission in lifestyle. Not with the loose on-center steering which is also void of responses and the comfortable suspension. Instead, the RX is at its very best cruising alongside in a serene fashion, gliding in excess of bumps and potholes to stay a competent, convenience-concentrated luxurious crossover.

How I would spec it

The Lexus RX 350L Luxurious you see pictured rings up at $sixty three,540, such as $1,025 for location. My suitable 350L would also be an all-wheel-drive version, which commences at $49,725. From there I would equip navigation with the twelve.3-inch touchscreen and excellent Mark Levinson audio method for $3,365, and blind-place checking and rear cross-targeted traffic notify for $1,065. To get the latter, Lexus requires you to get the $1,580 Premium Package that adds ability folding mirrors, fancy inside trim, memory seats and a moonroof. For creature comforts, I am going to consider the $640 heated and cooled entrance seats, $one hundred fifty heated steering wheel and $405 second-row captain’s chairs. That lengthy checklist of increase-ons tends to make my 350L a $56,930 vehicle.

With selections, this RX 350L Luxurious will established you again a great $sixty three,540.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

A minor greater

The 2020 Lexus RX 350L commences at $48,325. Equipping all-wheel drive is a $1,400 up-demand. That represents a better price of entry compared to other top quality Japanese a few rows this sort of as the MDX ($45,525) and QX60 ($45,375). The Lexus is the most lavish and comfortable of the trio, but the bounce-seat third row is a significant strike against it for any one needing to move 6 or 7 persons often.

For persons searching for more cargo house and only will need to move some extra young children often, the RX 350L could function. But those people who will need to benefit from a third row often, the Acura and Infiniti are greater and more realistic deals to consider.