2020 Lexus RX 350L assessment: The bestseller will get a little bit higher

2020 Lexus RX 350L assessment: The bestseller will get a little bit higher

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

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The Lexus RX has been a gross sales juggernaut because it ignited the luxurious SUV phase greater than twenty years in the past. At the moment, it presents stable model, consolation and efficiency throughout a broad lineup. You will get a fuel or hybrid drivetrain, extra partaking F Sport trims and as of some years in the past, a 3rd row.


  • Silky drivetrain.
  • Relaxed, quiet experience.
  • Up to date infotainment.

Do not Like

  • Cramped third-row seating.
  • Distant Contact Pad is infuriating.
  • Free steering.

However simply because the RX sits atop the gross sales charts does not imply it is not with out shortcomings. The in-your-face entrance finish is not everybody’s cup of tea, and the cumbersome-to-operate tech leaves lots to be desired. And whereas the experience veers towards being supple and splendid, the RX is a far cry from being enjoyable to function. Enter the 2020 mannequin, which goals to enhance all this stuff.

Massaged seems to be and the ‘third row’

I’ve written on quite a few events that I do not thoughts Lexus‘ spindle grille. Like BMW’s kidney grille, it is recognizable and synonymous with the model. The entrance and rear fascias are up to date on the 2020 RX 350, with probably the most noticeable change taking place on the grille. On non-F Sport variations, the horizontal slats are out in favor of a extra impactful mesh sample that, together with the altered bumper cowl and slim headlights, make it edgier.

On my 350L Luxurious check automobile, the 20-inch split-spoke wheels are additionally new this 12 months, as is the Moonbeam Beige Metallic paint coat that is not mind-numbingly bland, which I very hardly ever say about shades of beige. I would go for the opposite new paint selection of Nori Inexperienced Pearl, first seen on the pint-size UX crossover as a substitute, although.

Within the RX’s well-built, smooth, leather-lined cockpit, there are some small structure modifications to notice, equivalent to the brand new smartphone holder on the middle console. Located in entrance of the cupholders, the slot securely holds telephones and supplies quick access to it stopping you from fishing it out of cubby. It is not an enormous factor, however typically it is the little issues that make a giant distinction.

Sadly, what could not be helped is the RX 350L’s third-row seating. It stays tough to entry and ridiculously tight when you’re again there, with sufficient legroom for somebody 10 years outdated  at greatest, if not youthful. Even then, passengers within the second row have to scooch their seats ahead, sacrificing their legroom as properly. 

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

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If the way-back seats sound like an afterthought, it is as a result of they’re — the RX was by no means designed to have these. This greater RX rides on the identical wheelbase as the usual mannequin, however merely will get a further 4.4-inches of size behind the C pillars as band-aid to serve third-row hungry prospects. 

That is to not say it is all unhealthy. If you should carry extra folks in a pinch, the 350L’s third row works for brief distances, and there is extra cargo house when these seats are folded flat. The common RX 350 presents 56.Three cubic ft of cargo house, whereas the RX L packs 70.7 with each rows of again seats stowed. That stacks up favorably to the Acura MDX’s 68.Four cubic ft of house, however is behind the Infiniti QX60’s 76.2.

Tech strides

Perhaps probably the most noteworthy 2020 RX enchancment is the accessible 12.3-inch split-screen that is set nearer to entrance passengers, which is now a touchscreen with crisp graphics. Which means working by way of the Lexus Enform infotainment system not depends on the distracting Distant Contact Pad. Altering radio stations and coming into navigation locations is now simpler, with barely simplified menus.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have lastly come to the RX.

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Lexus Enform additionally lastly features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities in all RX fashions, along with providing Amazon Alexa integration and Wi-Fi hotspot. On my tester, a beautiful 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio setup pipes tunes into the cabin, and there are six USBs and three 12-volt scattered all through the inside, which means everybody can plug of their telephones.

The Lexus Security System Plus 2.zero can also be now commonplace gear throughout the RX lineup. The bundle combines new options equivalent to street signal detection, daytime bicyclist detection and low-light pedestrian detection, together with beforehand commonplace goodies like adaptive cruise management, forward-collision warning with auto braking and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping help. My tester can also be outfitted with elective blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, that are must-have programs in my guide. 

Easy, however a bit tighter

All RXs proceed to be powered by a 3.5-liter V6 working with an eight-speed computerized gearbox. Entrance-wheel drive is commonplace, however my tester runs all-wheel drive. Within the RX 350L, the V6 makes 290 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque, which is down from the common 350’s 295 horses and 267 lb.-ft., because of a unique exhaust system. The EPA estimates that the drivetrain returns 18 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 25 mpg on the freeway.

The three.5-liter V6 within the RX 350L is a easy operator with 290 horses.

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In Regular mode, the larger RX requires a firmer press of the throttle to rollout in a brisk method,  although the transmission seamlessly performs cog swaps. Snap issues into Sport and acceleration is livelier, and the trans holds onto gears longer and is extra wanting to downshift. 

In an try and punch up the RX’s dynamic chops, Lexus tinkered with the chassis and suspension. Structural adhesive utilization will increase tenfold and new welding methods lead to twice as many spot welds with out harming chassis steel, producing a stiffer platform. That is joined by stiffer dampers and thicker antiroll bars with bolstered bushings to scale back physique roll and supply higher steering response.

Are the modifications noticeable? A bit of, but it surely’s not front-page information. Pushing it some round expressway interchanges, the 4,600-pound RX L hangs on pretty properly after some preliminary physique roll. Credit score the 20-inch Michelin Premier LTX tires and the brand new lively nook braking stability system that helps cut back understeer by making use of brake strain to the interior tire. 

A 20-inch wheel and tire bundle assist the larger RX nook competently.

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After all, sporty driving is not the RX’s essential mission in life. Not with the unfastened on-center steering that is additionally void of suggestions and the comfortable suspension. As an alternative, the RX is at its greatest cruising alongside in a serene method, gliding over bumps and potholes to stay a competent, comfort-focused luxurious crossover.

How I would spec it

The Lexus RX 350L Luxurious you see pictured rings up at $63,540, together with $1,025 for vacation spot. My ultimate 350L would even be an all-wheel-drive model, which begins at $49,725. From there I would equip navigation with the 12.3-inch touchscreen and nice Mark Levinson sound system for $3,365, and blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert for $1,065. To get the latter, Lexus requires you to get the $1,580 Premium Bundle that provides energy folding mirrors, fancy inside trim, reminiscence seats and a moonroof. For creature comforts, I will take the $640 heated and cooled entrance seats, $150 heated steering wheel and $405 second-row captain’s chairs. That prolonged record of add-ons makes my 350L a $56,930 automobile.

With choices, this RX 350L Luxurious will set you again a cool $63,540.

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A bit of higher

The 2020 Lexus RX 350L begins at $48,325. Equipping all-wheel drive is a $1,400 up-charge. That represents the next value of entry in comparison with different premium Japanese three rows such because the MDX ($45,525) and QX60 ($45,375). The Lexus is probably the most luxurious and cozy of the trio, however the jump-seat third row is a significant strike in opposition to it for anybody needing to maneuver six or seven folks usually.

For folks on the lookout for extra cargo house and solely want to maneuver some further youngsters often, the RX 350L may work. However those that have to make the most of a 3rd row usually, the Acura and Infiniti are higher and extra sensible packages to think about.

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