Lexus will add new features and a sporty trim level to its popular RX crossover, the automaker announced Wednesday during the vehicle’s reveal in Culver City, Calif.
The 2020 RX is the first Lexus to offer Android Auto. It now comes standard with paddle shifters and an advanced safety suite called Lexus Safety System+ 2.0. The new SUV is also available with F Sport appearance packages for the first time. It goes into production in fall 2019.
The changes add to the growing family of RX models from which customers can choose. The RX is available as the gas-powered RX 350 or hybrid RX 450h. Both can be fitted with the F Sport package. An extended wheelbase version with a third row of seats is called the RX L.
The look of the 2020 RX is slightly refreshed. While the overall shape remains the same, the 2020 RX has altered front bumpers with matching changes to the brand’s spindle grille. Designers slimmed down the headlights. New colors include a metallic beige and a pearl green popular with buyers of the compact UX crossover.
The RX is the flagship vehicle in the Lexus SUV lineup. It accounted for more than half of the brand’s SUV sales in the U.S. in 2018 and is credited with sparking the rise of the luxury crossover when it debuted 20 years earlier.
Crossovers surpassed 6.1 million sales in 2018, more than 35 percent of the U.S. auto market at 17.3 million. Changes to the 2020 RX are designed to keep it competitive with challengers such as the Acura MDX, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE.
The addition of Android Auto leads the way for improvements to the RX’s technology. It continues to offer Apple CarPlay, plus an optional 12.3-inch touch screen controlled by a touchpad or voice activation. An 8-inch screen is standard. Six USB ports are inside the cabin.
Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. The newly standard Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 tacks on an enhanced precollision system, daytime bicyclist detection and low-light pedestrian detection.
Lexus didn’t stop with the interior. The 2020 RX has updated mechanics intended to make the crossover, which has focused on comfort in the past, a more exciting vehicle to drive. Upgrades to the shocks, suspension and stabilizer bars help reduce body roll and create a more direct steering feel, according to Lexus.
NEW F SPORT
The Lexus RX and a sport package would not traditionally make good bedfellows. The SUV has a reputation for providing a soft and cushy ride. But the upgraded suspension and rigidity in the 2020 RX promise improved feel, Lexus said. And the newly available F Sport package offers further improvements.
Buyers who want only a more distinct look can choose the base F Sport design for its aggressive dark accents and front lip spoiler.
A more aggressive F Sport option adds true performance parts like a cold air intake and an active variable suspension borrowed from the Lexus LC sports car. The upgraded F Sport package also comes with aggressive dampers, a Sport+ driving mode and specially tuned steering.