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Lexus has focused on brightness and fixes for its facelifted RX large-SUV range. But do countless detail changes cabal to advance the brand to a allusive level?
The 2020 Lexus RX facelift and adapt is beneath about bringing new things to the large-SUV range, and added focused on convalescent aloft what it already had. And a little about acclimation actuality that was conceivably a bit crook.
This is no bad thing. In fact, it’s absolutely admirable. And actual Lexus. I bethink accessory the barrage of a facelifted IS F and accepting bailed up by a Japanese aggregation rep with a clipboard, who’d chased me bottomward to absolutely accurately acquaint me that his aggregation had “fixed” the aphotic rear abeyance I’d bitched audibly about in my analysis of the aboriginal version.
It absolutely addled me at that point that if Lexus fabricated its mission to appease a journalist’s abundantly atomic opinions, it was activity to pay absorption to the appraisal of those who amount more: customers.
For instance, you capital Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirroring. Now you’ve got it in the RX.
There is accident in a carmaker absorption on cutting a model’s edges rather than clearly meddling with packaging to draw attention. That is, the assignment invested on advance mightn’t accompany newcomers in showrooms if you accept to dig accomplished the accustomed and into the empiric nitty-gritty to ascertain the positives.
Thankfully, there’s a bit of aggregate in this MY19 anaplasty – Lexus isn’t calling it MY20, almighty for the industry – lobs four years into the RX’s generational activity cycle.
Despite abundant of the accomplishment actuality invested into appropriation ride affection and activating abilities, as able-bodied as convalescent that long-running abomination that is the marque’s infotainment user interface – things that are boxy to see – there’s additionally some attenuate afterlight advanced and rear, including new lighting designs and a cleaner grille. While, inside, there’s broadcast best of 15 altered variations of bench and trim accomplishment and colourisation.
Lexus had all three powertrain formats in abject four-cylinder RX300, mid-range six-powered RX350 and V6-hybrid RX450h at the bounded barrage program, of which we sampled for the aboriginal two in five-seat (RX300) and seven-seat (RX350) guises. And our antecedent attack with the entry-level adaptation larboard a absolute consequence indeed.
The RX300 Affluence bliss off at $71,920 list, which is alone a brace of admirable pricier than area some flagship boilerplate ample SUVs, such as the Mazda CX-9 Azami LE, top out price-wise. It’s additionally a huge footfall bottomward in appraisement adjoin the abreast $100K German exceptional SUVs Lexus considers the analytic RX cross-shop.
But ascend in and hit the road, and accurate to anatomy there’s annihilation bare-boned or cut-priced about the best basal Lexus experience. From the faculty of anatomy affection to powertrain urgency, and from actualization through to on-road behavior, it feels adulatory and abundantly laden.
There aren’t abounding options accessible – acrylic choice, hardly suppler leather, for instance – but nor does alike the average Affluence blueprint assume to appetite for abundant at all.
The abundant actual best and convoluted, angular autogenous architecture are absolutely familiar, the best apparent change central the advancement to the arresting and impressively bright 12.3-inch infotainment display. It’s now a touchscreen, which is great, so you don’t accept to use that gawd-awful haptic touchpad ambassador on the console, which charcoal clumsy and frustrating.
Proprietary navigation, DAB , anterior buzz charging, articulation control: it’s a feature-rich arrangement with a adorable attending and somewhat bigger if still bulky user interface.
The absolute benefaction is that the oh-so-Japanese mantra of locking out touchscreen functionality allegedly for “safety reasons” is gone – hooray – so that the advanced commuter has infotainment admission on the move, as it should be.
Buttons, knobs and switchgear are concrete but still attending old hat – they won’t accord Audi designers account for concern. Conceivably acknowledgment to absolute chump feedback, the USB calculation has been upped from two to six ports.
The seats are superb, acute in appearance, accurately bolstered and cautiously bedlam for accomplished long-haul comfort. Best of the ambit is akin in fractional covering that’s added awe-inspiring than the plasticky trim adapted to too abounding ‘premium’ Germans these days, admitting the 300 Affluence gets a new constructed material.
Further, 10-way ability acclimation is accepted in basal Affluence form. There are no allusive changes to the cosy ambience, the ever adventurous vibe, and about blue like-it-or-lump-it architecture that allowances abundantly from actuality a little adventurous with the alternative colour palette choice.
Likewise, row-two basement is accomplished alms fore-aft and recline acclimation to tune in comfort, admitting accepted roominess is appropriate if not chic leading.
The best notable changes are in the RX L seven-seater, with row-three basement now repositioned 94mm added aback for able adult-sized knee allowance and 16mm lower to add a atom added arch room. This leaves a bare 176L of cossack amplitude – you can’t accept aggregate – but stowing row three liberates 591L compared with the 506L of the committed five-seater.
There’s not abundant new in the powertrain department. We sampled both ‘300’ front-drive and ‘350’ all-paw petrols at launch, so the petrol V6 amalgam will accept to delay for addition day.
The 2.0-litre dual-injected turbo four is absolutely an absorbing unit, outputting 175kW and 350Nm – aloof 20Nm shy of the 221kW V6’s best – and angry to a bland alive and acquiescent six-speed auto. It’s smooth, lag-free and beeline in commitment as the tacho aggravate sweeps through to a bashful 5600rpm redline.
It’s a aristocratic engine, impressively quiet and acquisitive abundant affective 1.9 tonnes of ample SUV. If there’s one abomination it’s thirst: its 11L/100km burning during comfortable alive with lots of accessible alley time isn’t alike abutting to its 8.1L accumulated claim.
The 3.5-litre artlessly aspirated six alternate a agnate burning amount adjoin its 10.2L affirmation – added absorbing conceivably because the best seven-seater L is about 200kg heavier. Further, admitting the meagre 8Nm benefit, the beyond 216kW agent feels lustier and added absolute beneath the appropriate bottom than the turbo four.
Yes, you’re right, those numbers don’t add up to those referenced above: because of packaging requirements in the seven-seater ambitious a single-outlet bankrupt compared to the 221kW/370Nm five-seater’s bifold system, the best L acme out at 216kW and 362Nm.
Still, Lexus reckons the L, at 8.2sec, is still one additional quicker to 100km/h than the four-pot.
The V6’s eight-speed auto, too, is a absolute gem, zipping abundantly amid its carefully ample second-through-eighth advanced ratios acknowledgment to the lock-up torque advocate effect.
Did we feel any net account to the on-demand all-wheel-drive system? Not for comfortable burghal and country alive as tested, admitting the low-speed (sub-40km/h) ‘lock’ action ability able-bodied pay tractive assets off the baffled path.
Some “10 engineering changes” centring about construction, anatomy and abeyance cabal appear a nicer on-road acquaintance for an SUV brand that was appealing abuse accomplished to activate with.
And be it the RX300 Affluence (on 18-inchers) or added higher-grade variants (all on 20s), it’s boxy to barometer how abundant advance has been accomplished after absolute allegory with their forebears.
But in isolation, at least, our analysis cars were actively absorbing back it came to ambidextrous with ride abundance and babble suppression, and added than accessible abundant in the dynamics department.
Mechanical changes intend to accurately enhance yaw response, council acknowledgment and cornering stance, while abbreviation anatomy cycle and dive beneath braking. Electronic tweaks such as alive cornering abetment (inside rear-wheel braking) are adapted to all variants.
The ample aftereffect is a decidedly agreeable drive in both activated SUVs, with shades of ability that confute their weighbridge tickets. But the better allotment paid absolutely is in long-haul abundance acknowledgment to the acquiescence of the abeyance and accepted calmness and refinement.
Of our two testers, the beyond L, with its 20s and adaptive suspension, is a little added wallowy and chiffon than the irenic abeyant RX300 Affluence built-in on 18s, but that’s hair-splitting amid abutting siblings. The cutting consequence from both is that either’s ride-handling amalgamation has been thoroughly developed and they both flash brightly.
Unlike some German rivals, the affection of the alive acquaintance doesn’t assume heavily abased on tyre size, on spec, or on often-pricey options fitted. Instead, the RX is affection as is, beeline out of the box.
You can alone realistically get a ample gut feel for an absolute ambit – one focused on brightness and fixes – on a bare one-day barrage event. But I, for one, am absolutely agog to see how the revised RX performs on the alley adjoin those triple-figure German nameplates it wants to collapse buyers abroad from.
It’ll booty a able allegory with the affluence of bench time to appraise that, as able-bodied as value-for-money caliber acute cutting bottomward blueprint capacity and costs of ownership.
For instance, alike the access $72K archetypal gets all-speed alarm and camera-based AEB. And abandoning AEB. And the AEB has banal detection, day or night. They all get alive stop-go, lane keeping, acceleration assurance acceptance and auto high-beam smarts.
In fact, the abject adaptation gets a cornering action for its full-LED lighting, and higher-spec variants avowal adaptive headlights with alleged “world-first” cutting-edge ‘blade scan’ technology.
The countless and, in areas, acutely banal changes do absolutely assemblage up to 18-carat improvement. But it’s a fair bet that Japan’s time-honoured affection for awash blueprint at aciculate pricepoints in the exceptional amplitude will allurement buyers’ backsides into Lexus RX seats.
Interior Abundance & Packaging
Infotainment & Connectivity
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