The Lexus RX has been on sale in the US since 1999, with the current fourth-generation crossover hitting dealers in 2016. As America's best-selling luxury SUV, the RX outsells competition like the Acura MDX, Cadillac XT5 and Lincoln Nautilus. Despite strong sales, it's time for some updates -- especially on the tech front.
Visual tweaks are subtle, but if you look closely, you'll be able to spot the differences. At the front, the headlights are now thinner, the grille is divided into L-shaped blocks instead of slats and the fog lights sit lower in the bumper. Out back, the visual changes are more subtle, but functionality is improved with the addition of an available kick sensor for the power rear liftgate. (Historically, I've never seemed to have luck with those systems, even after multiple kicks. Hopefully this one is better.)
It's inside, however, where the most important updates lie. The 2020 RX is now outfitted with standard Android Auto, making this the first Lexus product to carry the Google-backed smartphone mirroring tech. Apple CarPlay also now comes standard. Base RXs will use an 8-inch touchscreen, but a 12.3-inch touchscreen is optional. Thank goodness for reactive screens, because the RX will continue to use the universally derided Remote Touch infotainment interface on the center console. Forward of the clunky touchpad now sits dedicated smartphone storage, along with six Type-A USBs throughout the cabin.
If you're not tethered to your mobile device, you'll still benefit from the new RX's stronger integrated Dynamic Voice Command (DVC). Compared with the voice recognition in the automaker's other products, Lexus says DVC can understand millions more commands, and is more accurate, to boot.
The 2020 model year also brings a stronger suite of standard safety tech, now with traffic sign recognition, daytime bicyclist detection and low-light pedestrian detection. The RX also adds lane centering to its bag of tricks whenever the standard full-speed-range adaptive cruise control is activated. Absent lane markings, the RX can even use the car ahead to find the correct path.
Although gas 3.5-liter V6 and hybrid powertrains are carried over from 2019, the 2020 RX should be more fun to drive. Lexus has stiffened the chassis by using more spot welds and structural adhesives. The suspension is now stiffer, too, and so are the stabilizer bars, which are also lighter due to their new, hollow design. Additionally, revised shock absorbers should be better at muting higher-frequency road irregularities like small, frequent bumps, while a new active corner braking system is designed to reduce understeer. Lexus RX F Sport models add a Lexus LC-derived active variable suspension that the company says is "more responsive than previous systems."
In the event you want the F Sport's edgier looks without the trim line's associated heated steering wheel, cold air intake and active sound control (real engine noise pumped into the cabin), you can opt for just the F Sport appearance package. But even the appearance package includes upgraded dampers and a drive mode selector.
With carryover powertrains, fuel economy should stand about the same as 2019 models. Lexus estimates in its official release that the five-passenger RX and seven-passenger RX L hybrids will get 30 miles per gallon and 29 mpg combined, respectively (the same as 2019). Lexus makes no fuel economy estimates about the gas-only RX and RX L, but they're likely to remain at 23 mpg and 22 mpg, respectively for front-wheel-drive models. All-wheel-drive versions will be less efficient by 1 mpg.
Pricing for the 2020 Lexus RX two-row and RX L three-row will be announced closer to the start of production in the third quarter of 2019.