The fourth-generation Lexus RX, which first surfaced in 2015, has been given a facelift. The refresh coincides with the 2020 model year for the crossover in North America. Lexus claims improved driving dynamics, an updated multimedia system, additional standard safety features and tweaked styling. As before, one can choose between the standard five-seater RX and the longer three-row RXL.

The front are rear fascias of the RX have been updated to be in tune with the most current look of the brand, with a “balance between sophistication and strength.” It’s of the blink and you’ll miss variety, so pay attention.

Flanking Lexus’ signature spindle grille with L-motif mesh are “triple eye” headlamps that are slimmer. Not detailed in the press release are the repositioned fog lamps, which are now at the lowest part of the bumper. On the F Sport, sizeable black “vents” sit above the fog lamps to fill up the blank space – they are a fair bit chunkier than the previous L-shaped items, and could be the easiest way to mark out the facelift.

It’s also a classic nip/tuck job at the back – the theme remains the same, with just sharpening on the tail lamps (now with a more prominent and deeper “L motif”, reflected by inverted “Ls” for the turn signals) and F Sport bumper (repositioned reflectors are the most obvious). The powered hatch is now activated by an optional kick sensor.

Wrapping up the exterior changes are new 18- and 20-inch wheel designs and two new colours – Moonbeam Beige Metallic or Nori Green Pearl as seen on the compact Lexus UX.

All 2020 RX models come standard with Lexus’ latest smartphone vehicle integration and eight-inch touchscreen (12.3-inch split-screen is an option), which is linked to the brand’s Remote Touch Pad. There are multiple ways to stay connected, including the three-year Lexus Enform Remote trial to remotely start the engine using selected smart devices.

The latest RX is also the first Lexus to receive Android Auto, opening possibilities to apps such as Waze, Spotify and WhatsApp. There’s also Apple CarPlay, six USB ports and a nice phone slot near the front of the center console.

Dynamic Voice Command is packaged with the optional 12.3-inch multimedia system. The voice-recognition system has the ability to recognize millions more phrases than conventional Lexus systems, offering greater accuracy, seamless address entry and expanded points of interest searches.

Lexus claims improved dynamics for the RX. The front and rear stabiliser bars are now hollow to reduce weight, yet their thicker diameters and reinforced bushings help reduce body roll and improve steering response. The shock absorbers have been retuned to work with the stiffer roll bars, while upgraded dampers feature a new friction control device that helps to control high frequency vibrations for a smoother ride.

In addition, a stiffer suspension design reduces road noise and vibration. When turning, the added active corner braking will reduce understeer by braking the inner wheel. Additional rigidity was achieved through additional spot welds and adhesive.

There are now two F Sport packages. One provides the usual more aggressive looks, while the other is more comprehensive. The first one includes new front and rear performance dampers, Drive Mode Select with Sport+ and Customer Drive Modes. The second package adds on the latest active variable suspension system (AVS is more responsive than before, Lexus says), cold air intake, active sound control and a heated steering wheel. The second level can be stacked above the first.

Circuit Red bolstered seating with grey stitching on the seams is a new interior option for the F Sport. In contrast, the larger RX 350L and 450hL get NuLuxe upholstery on the seats and trim, along with a new Birch interior colour option. Paddle shifters are standard across the RX range.

On the safety front, Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 is standard for the RX. This adds daytime bicyclist detection and low-light pedestrian detection along with Road Sign Assist (RSA) and Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) to further expand the scenarios in which the RX is designed to provide additional safety.

Daytime bicyclist detection is part of an enhanced Pre-Collision System (PCS). Previously designed to detect a preceding vehicle or pedestrian, PCS now has the potential to detect a cyclist as well. The system has also been enhanced to help detect a pedestrian in certain low-light situations by increasing the camera’s sensitivity and dynamic range.

RSA displays selected road sign information in the instrument panel while LTA is designed to detect lane markings to determine lane position and place the vehicle in the center of the lane when working in conjunction with the All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. If road markings are not detected, LTA can in certain conditions follow the car in front.

There’s no change to the powertrains of the RX 350 and hybrid RX 450h (200t 2.0 litre turbo is not available in North America). Production will start in Q3 2019.

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