Stop the presses: The Lexus RX and its longer RXL variant are now both Android Apple and Apple CarPlay friendly. Yep, while this may not seem like news to many modern-day car owners, the RX lineup can now accommodate Alexa and Siri queries to your heart’s content. “Once connected, guests will enjoy music from apps such as Spotify and Pandora or send messages through commonly used apps like WhatsApp. The interface also allows them to navigate with Google Maps or Waze,” touts the latest Lexus press release. Given the ubiquity of such features no, it reads a bit like a parent giving a talk about the birds and the bees.
Among other newly gained functions is the ability to start the car remotely via app, and the cabin’s touchscreen is paired with a remote touchpad, there are six USB ports, and there’s space to store your phone near the front of the center console beneath the standard 8.0-inch touchscreen or optional 12.3-inch display. In addition to three years of Lexus Enform Safety Connect and 10 years of Enform Service Connect, the safety and convenience goodies include Lexus Safety System+ 2.0, which bundles daytime bicyclist detection and low-light pedestrian detection, road-sign assist, and lane-tracing assist.
Under the hood, the base powerplant remains the same: a 3.5-liter V-6 that offers 290 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque. The trusty engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The more powerful hybrid RX450h and RX450hL pair the same V-6 with two electric motors for a combined 308 horses and an estimated 30 mpg combined in the RX and 29 mpg combined in the three-row RXL.
The front and rear anti-roll bars are thicker in diameter but are now hollow to save weight, while reinforced bushings help reduce body roll and improve steering control. The RX’s dampers have been retuned as well, and they now have a friction-control device for an even smoother ride. Lexus states there are additional spot welds and more adhesive has also been added to its popular SUV in hopes of stiffening the structure as well as reducing the previous models’ surprisingly high levels—relatively speaking—of cabin noise.
The RX F Sport has an active variable suspension system snagged from the Lexus LC, a cold-air intake, active sound control, electric power steering, and a heated steering wheel. An additional F Sport package adds front and rear performance-tuned dampers, a Sport+ chassis mode, and more. RX F Sport models receive sporty Circuit Red seats with gray stitching.
On the outside, the latest RX models get some tweaks up front—the massive spindle grille is still massive—that includes slimmer headlamp units and optional triple-beam LED lighting. The rear end features a dual exhaust, a rear diffuser, and updated reflectors. For 2020, paddle shifters and 18-inch wheels are standard, while 20-inchers are available as an option. Additional options include a foot-detecting power hatch and two new paint colors, Moonbeam Beige Metallic and Nori Green Pearl. We’d opt for the latter since it looks so fetching on the UX.
The 2020 RX and RXL are expected to enter production in the fall and pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date, so there’s plenty of time for RX intenders to build a few Spotify playlists.
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