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2020 Lexus RX 450h gets a new look, keeps smooth ride Featured

Posted On Monday, 28 September 2020 22:59 Written by
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The 2020 Lexus RX 450h gets a sharp exterior redesign. The 2020 Lexus RX 450h gets a sharp exterior redesign. Photo courtesy of Lexus

The Lexus RX 450h is the rare combination of a ride that is smooth, quiet and even a bit powerful when you need it to be.

The RX line is the best-selling luxury SUV in America, so its following is already quite strong, but it sees a refresh for the 2020 model year. Did it get even better? Read on and find out.


The exterior design of the 2020 Lexus RX sees some significant changes, including an even larger spindle grille and changes to the front bumper and headlight designs, and updates to rear bumper and taillight. It also updates the suspension hardware to improve the ride quality.

On the interior, the experience for both the driver and passengers is very comfortable. Lexus always delivers on their interiors, and this one is tremendously crafted and high-end throughout. Head and leg space is ample for everyone inside, though the one knock I have is that the cargo capacity is a bit limited compared to other luxury SUVs of this category.

The RX 450h features 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, LED headlamps and tail lamps, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents, extremely comfortable power NuLuxe trimmed front seats, power Tilt and telescopic steering column.

A cold weather package includes: windshield wiper de-icer, headlamp auto-leveling and headlamp cleaners.

The touch-free power rear door with kick sensor is an option, as are heated and ventilated front seats. You can also upgrade to Triple Beam LED headlamps, cornering lamps, front LED turn signals and fog lamps. And an optional panoramic moonroof is available.

The Premium package adds touches including power-folding auto-dim outer mirrors with memory steering and driver seat memory, as well as wood ornamentation to boost the design.


The 2020 Lexus RX 450h is powered by a 3.5-liter, V6 that works with Lexus Hybrid Drive. It is paired with an electronically controlled CVT transmission, and paddle shifters are included. 

Total numbers on the powerplant are 308 horsepower and 247 lb.-ft. of torque.
Drive mode select lets you choose between Eco, Normal and Sport modes — depending on your driving situation — and the RX 450h comes with AWD.

The nonhybrid RX 350 features 295 horsepower and 268 lb.-ft. of torque

The experience in the RX hybrid was one of a supremely quiet interior and effortless power delivery. Silky smooth and quiet would be the best way to describe my time behind the wheel of this ride. It will get you moving when you want it to do so, and can be a valley of calm when you’re on a relaxing Sunday drive.

The RX 450h offers one of the best drives you'll get from a hybrid luxury SUV, or even a nonhybrid luxury SUV. The vehicle is extremely responsive to the driver and never feels slow. Just make sure you turn the ignition off before getting out (it's so quiet you might forget!).

In true Lexus tradition, the RX series continues to lead the way in terms of safety features. For starters, it has almost perfect safety ratings in government testing. The RX also features a tire pressure monitoring system, rain-sensing wipers, 10 airbags, Brake Assist and start-stop technology.

The standard Lexus Safety System Plus 2.0 includes features like: Lane tracing assist, road sign assist, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, Dynamic radar cruise control, Lane departure alert with steering assist and intelligent high beam headlamps.

On the tech side of things, there is some good news and some disappointing areas.

The 2020 Lexus RX features a new, optional 12.3-inch touchscreen, with an 8-inch touchscreen as standard. Plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow for phone mirroring.

In terms of voice commands, Navigation worked well in understanding my commands, including listing addresses and POIs along the way. Voice commands for the radio and phone also work effectively. It's a good thing the voice commands do work so well, because Lexus continues to include a touchpad control system which is overly sensitive and not the best approach to controlling an infotainment operation. 

Soundwise, the standard speaker system is 9 speakers (a 12-speak premium system is included with an upgrade to the 12.3-inch screen). And the vehicle features 6 USB ports.

You can choose an in-car WiFi signal, and you get three free months of SiriusXM satellite radio.

Other safety options include a blind spot monitor with intuitive parking assist, panoramic view monitor, rear cross-traffic braking, and a color heads-up display is available to help you keep your eye on the road. 

The official fuel mileage numbers are 31 city/28 highway/30 combined, and I averaged just 28 mpg. Overall, though, these are still strong numbers for the segment. 

My test vehicle was priced just over $59,000; base price starts about $47K. While that may seem like a hefty number, the reality is that most other hybrid luxury SUVs have a higher starting price, often much higher in fact.

The Lexus RX remains one of the best overall luxury SUVs available, and it gets a sharp design upgrade for 2020. Buyers will be very happy with a regular RX model, but the 450h hybrid model delivers arguably the best experience out of all possible RX offerings.

---- can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2020 Lexus RX 450h 
  • Price as tested: $59,440 (starts at $47K) 
  • Best feature: Sharp interior and exterior design; smooth and quiet ride; tech and safety prowess  
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury SUV buyers who want to go green, still want some power and style
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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