Pros-Fast. Posh. Roomy. Supple ride. Good handling. All-wheel drive. Safety features.
Cons-High step-in. Narrow rear door openings. Fairly high cargo opening.
Bottom Line-One of the top performance/luxury SUVs.
The 2020 Lexus RX
350 AWD F Sport is one of those fairly rare SUVs that combines style, luxury, roominess and is also fun-to-drive.
This is a handsome SUV. While there are no major styling changes from 2019, each individual grille block has a different shape and angle to create a varying form for a strong, elegant image. I'm no fan of any Lexus grille but found this one to be acceptable.
Other F Sport features include a unique steering wheel and shift knob, aluminum pedals, bumpers, badges, front seats, aluminum ornamentation and 20-inch wheels. There also are extra=large power-folding EC mirrors with memory, LED ambient illumination and stainless steel rear door garnish.
There also are rather narrow OPTIONAL running boards, which are needed for some less agile folks because it takes a bit of extra effort to climb into the rather high interior. I'm rather agile, so I didn't use them-they just got in the way.
The RX in various model forms is the top-selling Lexus, and I found the nicely sized four-door hatchback RX 350 AWD F Sport is the most desirable. It's especially for those who like to drive but must have a practical, roomy, five-passenger vehicle.
This Lexus has a 109.8-inch wheelbase and is 195.2 inches long. Its19.4 curb-to-curb turning circle, making it fairly easy to enter an average parking spot. However, the RX 350 AWD F Sport weighs a hefty 4,387 pounds, so estimated city fuel economy is only so-so for a fast, luxurious heavy SUV at an estimated 19 miles per gallon in the city. However, the the highway figure is a decent 26 m.p.g.
Fuel tank capacity is 19.2 gallons and 91-octane fuel is recommended.
Powering the RX 350 AWD F Sport is a 3.5-literV-6 with 295 horsepower and 267 ft./lbs. of torque, so it makes quick work out of 60-80 m.p.h. passing on open roads. Power flows through a responsive eight-speed CVT automatic transmission with a quick-acting manual shift feature. Lexus provides a 0-60 m.p.h. time of 7.9 seconds for the AWD version. It felt faster.
A driver can select economy, regular or sport modes via a console dial. The most sporting is Sport+ mode, which modifies the steering, transmission and the suspension for very sporting driving on, say, winding roads. However, I found the ride remains supple after switching from Economy to Sport or Sport+ modes. This is a rather firmly sprung SUV that won't beat you up despite good handling in all modes.
The steering in rather heavy in all modes, but feels good and is very accurate. There are firmer stabilizer bars with reinforced bushings to red body roll and improved steering response.
There are front/rear performance dampers,, a stiffer suspension and added active corner braking to help prevent understeering. It rather surprised me that something so fairly large an tall could sweep through freeway entrance on and off ramps with such aplomb. Of course, the all-wheel-drive system helps.
The power heated front seats are nicely shaped and a tilt-telescopic wheel will assist drivers of various sizes. There's plenty of front/rear room for occupants in the quiet, definitely Uptown interior, which has backlit gauges, nice stitching and soft-touch surfaces throughout. There's Apple CarPlay and Android auto features and a 9-speaker Lexus multimedia system.
There's also an 8-inch touchscreen that I found easy to use, but didn't bother with the remote touchpad. The manual dashboard controls for such things as sound, heated seat and dual-zone automatic climate controls are handy if a driver doesn't want to bother with the touchpad or screens.
The cargo area is moderately roomy, but extra-large when the rear seat backs are flipped forward. The load sill is rather high but the power tailgate swings up smoothly and lowers with a warning sound to prevent bumped heads.
The RX 350 is essentially a family vehicle so it's loaded with safety features, including 10 air bags, a pre-collision system with pedestrian protection, dynamic radar cruise control and a lane-departure alert with steering assist.
Handy but often costly options on my RX 350 included a panoramic moonroof, blind spot monitor with intuitive parking assist, panoramic view minor with rear cross-traffic braking, navigation system a color heads-up display I found handy and a Mark Levinson 15-speaker premium audio system. They all brought the RS's bottom-line rice to $59,760, not counting a $1,025 delivery, processing and handling fee that brought the total price to $60,785.
The upscale nameplate of this tightly built, solid-feeling SUV should help its resale value.