Lexus RX

The Lexus RX comes in two basic forms: RX 350 and RX 450h. The RX 350 is powered by a smooth 3.5L V6 engine and produces 295 horsepower. With this engine, 60 mph arrives in under eight seconds, and the RX 350 achieves 28 mpg on the highway in front-wheel drive trim. The RX 450h combines a traditional gasoline engine with an electric motor for a total of 308 horsepower. Fuel economy jumps to 30 mpg on the highway for front-wheel-drive versions. The only transmission available is an 8-speed automatic, while all-wheel drive is optional on either version of the RX.

Both the RX 350 and the RX 450h are also available in F SPORT guise, further enhancing both the interior and exterior styling, while also tightening up the handling. The F SPORT package adds an 8-inch LCD display instrument cluster, unique quilted seats, adjustable suspension, interior aluminum trim accents and drilled aluminum pedals. Outside, the F SPORT gets a blacked-out grill, plus exclusive 20-inch wheels.

Option packages available on the RX 350 include a Luxury Package with perforated leather seats, a nicer powered driver's seat, 20-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel and Gray Sapele wood trim. A Navigation Package adds a 12.3-inch color screen for the navigation system, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, voice command, a DVD player, dual-zone climate control and Lexus Enform app suite. A Lexus Safety System package includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar controlled cruise control, a lane keep assist and lane departure warning system, intelligent high beam headlights and premium triple beam LED headlights.

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Editors' First Take

In the beginning, Lexus created the 1998 RX 300 -- the first luxury crossover SUV -- and it was good. More than 20 years later, the RX is Lexus's best-selling model, but also finds itself in a market crowded with compelling premium and luxury SUVs. The fourth-gen model offered solid performance and comfort, but awkward and outdated technology had become the Lexus' Achilles' heel. Thankfully, the refreshed 2020 Lexus RX, which debuted earlier this year, aims to shore up that weakness with a much-needed update to the dashboard and safety technology.

Much of what's new for 2020 happens beneath the sheetmetal, where the RX's chassis has undergone significant stiffening. Lexus tells me that there's been a tenfold increase in structural adhesive in and new "laser screw weld" technique that allows the automaker to squeeze in twice as many welds points without damaging the chassis' metal due to overheating. The result is a firmer platform, which allowed Lexus' engineers to stiffen the dampers, roll bars and other moving bits for a claimed improvement in handling.

On the road, the changes the driving dynamics are subtle enough that I had a hard time noticing any improvement with a back-to-back ride in the 2019 model. Turn-in feels a hair sharper and more responsive, but overall this still feels like the same RX as before. New "active corner braking" stability control should aid at near the limit handling, but there wasn't much of that during my fairly relaxed day of driving.

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