2020 Lexus RX 350L review: The bestseller gets a little better

    The Lexus RX 350 lineup will get some welcome updates for 2020.
    Jon Wong/Roadshow
    The Lexus RX has been a gross sales juggernaut because it ignited the posh SUV phase greater than twenty years in the past. Today, it presents stable type, consolation and efficiency throughout a broad lineup. You can get a fuel or hybrid drivetrain, extra partaking F Sport trims and as of some years in the past, a 3rd row.

    LikeSilky drivetrain.Relaxed, quiet trip.Updated infotainment.

    Don’t LikeCramped third-row seating.Remote Touch Pad is infuriating.Loose steering.

    But simply because the RX sits atop the gross sales charts doesn’t suggest it isn’t with out shortcomings. The in-your-face entrance finish is not everybody’s cup of tea, and the cumbersome-to-operate tech leaves quite a bit to be desired. And whereas the trip veers towards being supple and opulent, the RX is a far cry from being enjoyable to function. Enter the 2020 mannequin, which goals to enhance all this stuff.Massaged seems 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.

    2020 Lexus RX 350L: Fresh seems and tech, however compromises stay
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    On my 350L Luxury 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 not often say about shades of beige. I’d go for the opposite new paint alternative of Nori Green Pearl, first seen on the pint-size UX crossover as a substitute, although.In the RX’s well-built, comfortable, leather-lined cockpit, there are some small format modifications to notice, corresponding to the brand new smartphone holder on the middle console. Situated in entrance of the cupholders, the slot securely holds telephones and supplies easy accessibility to it stopping you from fishing it out of cubby. It’s not an enormous factor, however typically it is the little issues that make an enormous distinction.

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troublesome to entry and ridiculously tight when you’re again there, with sufficient legroom for somebody 10 years outdated  at finest, if not youthful.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

    Silly rabbit, the RX 350L’s third row is for youths.
    Jon Wong/Roadshow
    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 larger 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 clients. That’s to not say it is all unhealthy. If you might want to carry extra folks in a pinch, the 350L’s third row works for brief distances, and there is extra cargo area when these seats are folded flat. The common RX 350 presents 56.3 cubic toes of cargo area, whereas the RX L packs 70.7 with each rows of again seats stowed. That stacks up favorably to the Acura MDX’s 68.4 cubic toes of area, however is behind the Infiniti QX60’s 76.2.Tech stridesMaybe 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. That means working by way of the Lexus Enform infotainment system now not depends on the distracting Remote Touch Pad. Changing radio stations and getting into navigation locations is now simpler, with barely simplified menus.Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have lastly come to the RX.
    Jon Wong/Roadshow
    Lexus Enform additionally lastly beneficial properties 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, that means everybody can plug of their telephones.The Lexus Safety System Plus 2.0 can also be now customary tools throughout the RX lineup. The package deal combines new options corresponding to street signal detection, daytime bicyclist detection and low-light pedestrian detection, together with beforehand customary 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 optionally available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, that are must-have techniques in my e-book. Smooth, however a bit tighterAll RXs proceed to be powered by a 3.5-liter V6 working with an eight-speed automated gearbox. Front-wheel drive is customary, however my tester runs all-wheel drive. In 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., on account of a special exhaust system. The EPA estimates that the drivetrain returns 18 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 25 mpg on the freeway.The 3.5-liter V6 within the RX 350L is a clean operator with 290 horses.
    Jon Wong/Roadshow
    In Normal 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 desperate to downshift. In an try to punch up the RX’s dynamic chops, Lexus tinkered with the chassis and suspension. Structural adhesive utilization will increase tenfold and new welding strategies lead to twice as many spot welds with out harming chassis metallic, producing a stiffer platform. That’s joined by stiffer dampers and thicker antiroll bars with bolstered bushings to scale back physique roll and provide higher steering response.Are the modifications noticeable? Just a little, nevertheless it’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 the 20-inch Michelin Premier LTX tires and the brand new energetic nook braking stability system that helps scale back understeer by making use of brake stress to the inside tire. A 20-inch wheel and tire package deal assist the larger RX nook competently.
    Jon Wong/Roadshow
    Of course, sporty driving is not the RX’s fundamental mission in life. Not with the free on-center steering that is additionally void of suggestions and the soft suspension. Instead, the RX is at its finest cruising alongside in a serene method, gliding over bumps and potholes to stay a reliable, comfort-focused luxurious crossover.How I’d spec itThe Lexus RX 350L Luxury you see pictured rings up at $63,540, together with $1,025 for vacation spot. My preferrred 350L would even be an all-wheel-drive model, which begins at $49,725. From there I’d 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 Package that provides energy folding mirrors, fancy inside trim, reminiscence seats and a moonroof. For creature comforts, I’ll take the $640 heated and cooled entrance seats, $150 heated steering wheel and $405 second-row captain’s chairs. That prolonged listing of add-ons makes my 350L a $56,930 automobile.With choices, this RX 350L Luxury will set you again a cool $63,540.
    Jon Wong/Roadshow
    Just a little higherThe 2020 Lexus RX 350L begins at $48,325. Equipping all-wheel drive is a $1,400 up-charge. That represents the next price 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 comfy of the trio, however the jump-seat third row is a serious strike in opposition to it for anybody needing to maneuver six or seven folks usually.For folks in search of extra cargo area and solely want to maneuver some further children sometimes, the RX 350L may work. But those that must make the most of a 3rd row usually, the Acura and Infiniti are higher and extra sensible packages to contemplate.

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