2020 Lexus RX 450hL Reviewed – Efficiency Meets Capability

They Did It!

I want to call out the most important change to the 2020 Lexus RX before anything else. The Lexus RX 450hL has Android Auto and Apple Car Play support WITH a touch screen! This has been the most requested change by future buyers and current RX owners. I’m glad they listened, because everything else with the RX has always been great when compared to the competition. The screen is massive, responsive, and looks great. Android Auto supports full widescreen mode, which is not something all widescreen luxury vehicles allow.

Specs That Matter

The Lexus RX SUV has been the best selling vehicle from Lexus for the past decade. There are many reasons for this, one being the expected reliability and comfort you get from a Lexus. The Lexus RX has always been a safe investment, and the 2020 updates aim to keep that thought alive.

Lexus is still using a tried-and-true powertain, with our review SUV using their V6-hybrid platform. The result is an incredibly efficient SUV considering it’s weight and occupant carrying capacity. It gets a class-leading 29 city, 28 highway! I like efficient hybrid platforms a lot because it eliminates the worry of not finding a charging station during a long drive (charge anxiety), but still provides extended range to reduce costs at the pump. Toyota and Lexus have always been the best at this, and the three-row RX is no exception. It drives incredibly smooth thanks to the long standing experience with hybrid power, CVT transmissions, and regenerative braking. It’s all seamless and drives as good as anyone would expect or hope.

In addition to the smoothness and efficiency, standard safety equipment is also class leading. With 2020 and beyond, Lexus wants all of their safety tech to be standard. No more nickel-and-diming you for features like pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, all-speed radar dynamic cruise control, and more. This is all standard on new RX models, and is titled as Lexus Safety System+ 2.0.

Comfort and Quality

Lexus has been sprinkling some magic dust on this new RX. I can’t quite figure out how they got the RX ride quality to be so good, and the cabin so refined. The RX has always been a well built SUV but I couldn’t find a single rattle even if I tried. Rough terrain, hitting the door, cranking the music up… nothing. In addition to the silent interior, the suspension tuning (towards comfort) is remarkable.

This is not an SUV that you would compare driving dynamics to against an Alfa Romeo Stelvio, as they couldn’t be more different. The steering feel is nice and well dampened, but not sloppy in any way. You could tell Lexus tried their best in maximizing comfort and safety with the latest setup. The handling isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just not sporty feeling. The larger wheels help minimize delay in turn-in response, and the sway bars help cut down some of the body roll often attributed to softer suspension. Most people looking at the RX 450hL aren’t necessarily considering corner carving a canyon road at speed.

The L in RX 450hL stands for Long-Wheelbase, or for most of us, third row seating. Passengers in the third row are treated to their own climate controls ensuring they are just as comfortable as everyone else. Surprisingly, the second row passengers will experience the same climate control settings as the front row, as they do not have their own dedicated zone. It’s an interesting omission because more often than not the second row will be more occupied than the 3rd.

The third row also features split power-folding seats, operated via controls located in the trunk. With the trunk opened you will see two buttons on the left side, allowing you to raise and lower the third row seats without breaking a sweat (or your back). It is a very convenient and elegant solution that is often reserved for larger and more expensive SUVs. The third row is acceptable for two people, but tall adults may feel a bit cramped. If you use the third row for adults often, I would consider a larger SUV.

Lexus also paid close attention to “touch points” which is basically everything in the vehicle you normal come in contact with. The dash pieces are soft, the door padding excellent, and the steering wheel has a good mix of padding and style. This is a Luxury SUV so don’t expect to find any hard plastics here. Overall the interior is a pleasant experience so I want to commend Lexus on really knocking it out of the park with regards to comfort and quality.

A Special SUV

If you have time to watch the video I explain a lot there. This is an SUV that I strongly suggest test driving and experiencing in person to properly decide if it’s right for you. I was extremely pleased during my time with the SUV. I feel like it is the best executed Lexus RX yet. Considering how well they sell over the years and how many people like it, that says a lot.

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