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Tech Updates Highlight 2020 Lexus RX 350 F Sport AWD

Amy Plemons | February 6, 2020
Tech Updates Highlight 2020 Lexus RX 350 F Sport AWD

If you’re wondering what the best-selling midsize luxury SUV in America is - this is it. The Lexus RX 350 and this week I’m behind the wheel of the 2020 RX with some significant updates for its mid-cycle refresh.

Overview

The RX is a huge sales hit, the number one Lexus seller and the brand sold more than 111,000 of them in both 2018 and 2019. That’s not about to stop now. It’s roomy with great materials and craftsmanship and this year adds some great technology including Android Auto, a new very responsive multimedia touchscreen and optional kick sensor liftgate which adds to its utility.

Lexus says it’s also enhanced driving dynamics and improved steering response for a smoother and quieter ride.

Also new for 2020, a new, second, F Sport package. The first is an appearance package, and you can add the F Sport performance pkg on top of that. My test vehicle is equipped with both.

Exterior

Both F SPORT packages include redesigned, unique black chrome grilles, unique bumpers and 20” wheels with power folding black-capped mirrors with memory. In the back, a chrome strip stretches across the trunk opening and the L-shaped LED lights are derived from the flagship LS sedan. A new bottom valance helps with aerodynamics. My test model is equipped with optional triple high beams with cornering front LED turn signals and fog lamps, along with an optional panoramic sunroof and roof rails.

Interior

The interior of the Lexus RX is 100 percent what you expect from Lexus, great quality, great craftsmanship, and well-designed. It’s not a redesign but adds some great new tech and functionality.

The biggest new thing is a new multimedia touch screen with pinch and zoom capability. The display has also been moved 5.5- Inches closer to the driver. I find it very responsive. You can also use it to control the climate. It sports great graphics. But the best graphics come with navigation! The 12.3-inch gets you the nav and an enhanced voice recognition package. Both are fantastic. The nav system will show you detailed driving lane information. The system also houses an optional surround view camera. You can also still control the infotainment system via the Lexus Remote touchpad. But, I think drivers will enjoy having the touchscreen option.

The RX is the first Lexus to offer Android Auto and the RX is also compatible with Apple Carplay and Amazon Alexa.

This F Sport features a black interior with soft Nu-Luxe (a leather alternative) power adjustable front seats. They are the most comfortable F Sport seats I’ve spent time in but on the firmer side with plenty of lumbar sport should you need it. Firm sport bolstering keeps you in place, there is no body roll to speak of, something Lexus says it worked on.

Soft touch surfaces adorn the dash and door panels with subtle stitching. The F Sport interior also features a new brushed aluminum trim. The F-sport badged leather-wrapped steering wheel is comfortable to grip -- paddle shifters are standard across the lineup. You look up to a bright digital tachometer with driver info display on the left side.

The center stack still features a lot of buttons for the dual zone climate controls. The center console area has your brake hold, electric parking brake (that is not automatic,) and two out of six USB ports. A vertical phone slot is new for 2020. There is an F Sport leather-wrapped gear shifter, and a selector for Eco, Normal, Custom, Sport and Sport + drive modes.

There is plenty of center console bin space, as storage is quite deep.

The F Sport comes with heated and cooled seats, LED ambient illumination, heated steering wheel, aluminum pedals and scuff plates.

This vehicle also has an optional 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system that replaces a standard 8-speaker system. It’s incredible and definitely a highlight. A nice, color $600 head up display is also optional.

The back seat is very roomy with plenty of head and leg room, all three passengers will sit in comfort. There is not a hump in the floorboard so the middle passenger will be quite comfortable as well. A drop-down console houses cupholders and there are rear AC vents. The seats recline and you can fold them down for a 60/40 split either manually or by pulling a lever in the trunk.

Powertrain and F Sport Features

A 3.5-LITER V6 engine delivers 295-horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. torque and its mated to an 8-speed automatic.

The F Sport’s Performance package includes front and rear performance dampers and adaptive variable suspension based off of the LC. It also includes cold air intake, active sound control (sound generator) and Electric Power Steering (EPS).

Ride and Drive

While the RX AWD felt a bit heavy occasionally at initial acceleration, (it’s over 4,300 pounds) overall, no complaints and power was terrific. Cruising down the highway was a breeze. The F Sport has great driving dynamics with responsive steering as advertised, especially in Sport+ mode with stiffer and the most responsive steering. It was a comfortable and smooth ride, too. It’s also very easy to maneuver and delivers confident braking as well.

Fuel Economy

The RX fuel economy is on par for its all-wheel drive class and it delivers 22 combined mpgs.

Safety

The RX lineup comes standard with Lexus’ latest safety system with pre-collision with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, dynamic radar cruise control and intelligent high beams. New standard equipment includes low-light pedestrian detection and cyclist detection with Road Sign Assist (RSA).

Road sign Assist was not always accurate for me, (as an 80 mph road sign came up and there are no 80 mph speed limits in my area.) Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) helps keep you in your lane but it’s not the most confident system I’ve used. There is enough technology to equate to semi-autonomous driving in the RX, but as always we remind you to keep both hands on the wheel.

Blind spot monitoring with parking assist and rear cross traffic braking on this test vehicle are optional.

What You’ll Pay

This model runs $61,270, and that includes destination and handling and about $10K of options. The price point is still a value in my book especially given Lexus’ reliability and resale value.

  • $1865 for the blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic braking, panoramic view monitor and Parking Assist
  • $600 color Head Up Display
  • $1675 triple beam LED headlights
  • $500 panorama sunroof and roof rails.
  • $3,365 nav system with 12.3-inch display and 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system
  • $150 kick sensor power rear door
  • $140 carpet cargo mat

Verdict

Kudos to Lexus for adding a touchscreen, Android Auto and optional kick sensor liftgate, things that keep the popular RX relevant until a complete redesign.

2020 Lexus RX 350 F Sport

  • What I liked most: New Multimedia Touchscreen and Navigation with Enhanced Voice Recognition.
  • What I would change: Update the button-heavy center stack.
  • MSRP: F Sport Base Price: $51,750 ; as equipped: $61,270.
  • Fuel Economy: 19 city/ 26 highway/22 combined.
  • Official Color: Matador Red Mica.
  • Odometer reading when tested: 4,812
  • Weight: 4,387.
  • Final Assembly Location: Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.
  • Spare Tire: Spare tire.
  • Length-Width-Height: 192.5 ” long/ 74.6” wide w/o mirrors/ 67.7” high.
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 19.2 with filler on the driver’s side.
  • Towing Capacity: 3,500 pounds.
  • 2020 Lexus RX 350 F Sport in a few words: The best-selling midsize luxury SUV in America for a reason.
  • Warranty: 48-month/50,000 Basic Warranty, 72-month/70,000 mile Powertrain
  • Manufacturer’s website: Lexus
Tags: 2020 Lexus RX 350 F Sport AWD
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