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Updated 2020 Lexus RX lifts connectivity, safety and dynamics

The updated Lexus RX large SUV will roll into Australian showrooms next month, offering key connectivity and safety technology upgrades, as well as enhanced driving dynamics, teamed with a reduced entry price.

The new RX introduces 10 new technologies as standard, and will be priced from $71,920 before on-road costs – a reduction of $1,600.

The range-opening RX 300 Luxury now features a 12.3-inch screen (up from 8.0 inches) that can now be operated by touch as well as the touchpad-type Lexus Remote Touch. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility make first introduction in the RX, while USB ports grew from 2 to 4 to give a total of 6.

Standard Lexus Safety System gains night-time pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection for the pre-collision safety system and autonomous emergency braking. Its all-speed active cruise control is now linked with new lane-trace assist and road-sign assist functionality.

A new parking support brake system uses intelligent clearance sonar and rear cross-traffic sensors to avoid or mitigate collisions that commonly occur during parking manoeuvres.

In addition to an audible warning, the system can reduce drive force and apply the brakes to reduce the possibility of contact with static objects in the direction of travel, or static objects and moving vehicles when reversing.

Lexus has also adopted a hands-free kick sensor for the standard power-operated tailgate and front cornering lamps.

These features have been standardised across RX 300, RX 350 and RX 450h variants each available in Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury grades, and the seven-seat RX 350L and RX 450hL variants available in Luxury and Sports Luxury grades.

All F Sport and Sports Luxury grades of the new RX also debut an LED adaptive high-beam system with world-first blade-scan technology.

Compared with existing technology that points LED lamps towards the road, the new technology directs the lamps back towards a blade mirror rotating at 12,000rpm.

Blade-scan technology utilises the reflection of light off the mirror to increase high-beam brightness and expand its reach down the road. It’s said to deliver more controlled light distribution for the most precise “shading” to avoid dazzling other drivers.

Typical adaptive high-beam technology uses LED lamps directed at the road, which switch on and off as individual chips that can shade fixed portions of the road.

With blade-scan technology, LED lamps switch on and off in 50 microseconds while synchronising with the blade mirror, which spins on high rotation to deliver immediate response, reduce the width of the shaded area and provide a greater spread of illumination.

Compared with previous auto high beam system on RX, blade-scan technology claims to be more than 10 per cent brighter and it extends the high-beam reach to pedestrians situated in close proximity to shaded vehicles from 32 metres to 56 metres – a further 24 metres ahead.

Lexus has also substantially revised the chassis set-up of the new RX with 10 engineering updates (some grade-dependent) in order to quell vibrations, deliver smoother, more level ride control, and reduce bodyroll.

An additional 4.2 metres of body adhesive and 36 weld points have been used to increase body rigidity.

Helping to better isolate occupants from road vibrations, dynamic dampers have been installed on the front suspension member of all RX 300 and hybrid variants.

A new friction control device has been added to the front and rear shock absorbers used on all grades. It uses a rubber lip installed in the shock absorber cylinder to mitigate high-frequency vibration from road surface unevenness that cannot be controlled with hydraulic pressure, improving ride comfort.

F Sport and Sports Luxury grades include standard adaptive variable suspension (AVS) that now operates over a wider range to further enhance comfort and control.

F Sport grades are distinguished by an even more dynamic character courtesy of new front and rear performance braces between the front radiator supports and front suspension members, and between the rear hooks.

These changes accentuate handling improvements introduced for all RX variants, including improved hub bearings for the front and rear suspension, which increases lateral rigidity to provide improved yaw response and steering feedback.

The diameter of the new rear stabiliser bar has been increased by 5.7 per cent while hollow construction reduces its weight by 26.6 per cent. This results in reduced bodyroll and improved vehicle posture when cornering.

Dynamic enhancements are supplemented by the addition of active cornering assist on all RX variants, suppressing understeer on winding roads by performing brake control on the inside wheels to produce yaw.

A revised electronic power steering tune with tighter on-centre feel rounds out the series of dynamic changes.

The new Lexus RX complements its sleeker headlamp units with a more aerodynamically designed front bumper and wider, raised spindle grille with a new block-mesh pattern on Luxury and Sports Luxury, and a new wire-mesh pattern for F Sport.

A revised side character line sweeps down from the floating roof to the rear, to slim the overall rear expression. The rear combination lamp has been changed to a new mirrored L-motif design that contributes to greater brand recognition.

The lower part of the rear bumper includes detail elements now laid out on a unified horizontal axis to accentuate a wide stance.

Inside, all new RX variants receive paddle shifters on the steering wheel and additional smartphone storage.

The seven-seat RX 350L and RX 450hL add to their standard third-row seating with a new power-fold function that offers two seating positions for the first time, providing an additional 94.3mm of legroom inside the cavernous interior.

The new features add to a comprehensive standard equipment list on every RX: smart entry and start, power steering column, rear privacy glass, satellite navigation, DAB+, wireless smartphone charging, 12-speaker audio, back guide monitor, automatic headlamps and wipers, automatic high beam, 10 airbags, blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert brake.

The Luxury grades of the V6 and self-charging hybrid electric variants are fitted with 20-inch alloy wheels (compared with 18-inch on RX 300 Luxury), genuine leather-accented seat material, front memory seat easy access, and front seat heaters and ventilation.

These features are available on the RX 300 Luxury as part of an optional Enhancement Pack (EP), bundled with a panoramic roof with front moonroof.

An optional EP for the RX 350, RX 350L, RX 450h and RX 450hL Luxury grades combines a colour head-up display and smart key card with a panoramic roof with front moonroof (front moonroof only for RX 350L and RX 450hL).

F Sport variants further include adaptive variable suspension with Sport S+ and Custom mode, 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio, panoramic view monitor and rear door sunshades.

Sports Luxury variants further include 14-way power adjustable front seats with driver and passenger memory, semi-aniline leather seats, and heated second-row seats.

The two-wheel-drive RX 300 is powered by a 175kW 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injected four-cylinder petrol engine, linked to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Customers preferring the enhanced traction of the all-wheel-drive RX 350 and RX 350L will enjoy the immediate response and power of the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.

For an ideal blend of performance and economy, the self-charging hybrid-electric powertrain of the RX 450h and RX 450hL employs a 3.5-litre V6 and electric motor to deliver strong torque and fuel consumption as low as 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres.

2020 Lexus RX pricing (excluding on-roads)

Model Price
RX 300 Luxury
RX 300 Luxury + EP
RX 300 F Sport
RX 300 Sports Luxury
$71,920
$77,950
$86,800
$92,700
RX 350 Luxury
RX 350 Luxury + EP
RX 350 F Sport
RX 350 Sports Luxury
$81,890
$86,390
$93,970
$99,870
RX 450h Luxury
RX 450h Luxury + EP
RX 450h F Sport
RX 450h Sports Luxury
$91,090
$95,590
$103,440
$109,340
RX 350L Luxury
RX 350L Luxury + EP
RX 350L Sports Luxury
$85,000
$88,500
$101,600
RX 450hL Luxury
RX 450hL Luxury + EP
RX 450hL Sports Luxury
$94,470
$97,970
$111,070

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