2020 Lexus RX450h: Going your own way in class and style

15 Jun 2020 | 382 views | No Comment
  By Don Hammonds To each his own, they say. Let's say you are a luxury car buyer looking for a three row crossover. Yep, you've got kiddos, and two rows of seats won't cut it. And wouldn't it be nice if it didn't look like a box on wheels?  Is that....possible? Oh, yeah! It's called the Lexus RX450 L, and that's all you need to know, First, being a Lexus, you know you are going to get the royal treatment when you get in. Butter soft seats, quiet and every single need that you can possibly require filling will be amply and quietly attended to by your Lexus.  No worries. No fuss. No bother. That's the Lexus legacy. You know what you want.  And you know it's going to deliver. Secondly, well.. just look at it.  It's gorgeous. Swoopy, cutting edge sharply creased character lines, that are still refined and subtle.  Nope.  Your ride won't be mistaken for anything else on the road.  Lexus is a Lexus is a Lexus. And that too, is all you need to know, Right? Leave the boxes to the boring, conventional types. So...what's this baby all about? Read on:        2020 Lexus RX450h with all wheel drive Price: Prices start at $45,175. Fuel economy: 31 city, 28 highway Performance: The RX 450h, a hybrid SUV/crossover, is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine and three electric motor-generators. One of those electric motor generators is found on each front wheel, and there is a single unit that controls the rear two.
     All that said, you can expect 308 horsepower from the setup, which incudes a continuously variable automatic transmission. So how does it do on the road? It is, after all, a Lexus, and as I said,  that means silky smooth on the road, supreme comfort--except in that third row of seats--more on that later--and it does everything you would expect of a luxury SUV, and does it well. And it is beautiful--you won't be mistaken for anything else on the road--and thank heaven!
Now then. Having said all that, I would also suggest that  if you are looking for astonishing acceleration, firm, precise and responsive steering, and cornering like a bobsled, you will be less satisfied with the RX450h in its basic form. Trust me. You  will want the tighter handling, sport tuned suspension F Sport. As for the  base RX450h base model, steering was adequate but offered very little feedback from the road, and the car sometimes felt like it was wandering, when it wasn't.  I suspect that was at least partly due to the  softness and looseness of the steering.  I'm told that there were some improvements in steering made for this model year, but...I think Lexus may want to revisit this.     Economy: The RX 450h is is rated at 31 city, 28 highway, and 30 miles per gallon combined.      The car: The sleekly styled RX 450h is a stretched, three seat version based on the smaller, two rowed RX 350, which features just about the same equipment except for the hybrid system.  The RX450h is aimed at those who had families with two or more children, which could not be accommodated by the smaller RX350. The challenge that the RX 450h has is that, despite its beauty, quiet and lavish equipment, there are now products like Kia's Telluride and Hyundai's Palisade which are far more lavishly equipped, feature more contemporary designs for their interiors, and a more up to date air about them.  And those two products aren't the only ones on the market that give the top drawer brands a run for their money. For 2020, Lexus made a few adjustments to the suspension and handling elements of the RX450h, and Apple CarPlay and Android connectivity are now standard equipment.  There's also a new optional 12.3 inch touchscreen, and some of the safety equipment that once cost optional are now standard on this year's RX 450h.  It also looks somewhat different from the previous model because of new appearance features front and rear.
  • New front and rear fascia, new suspension hardware
  • New optional 12.3-inch touchscreen and increased standard safety equipment
     You can get your The 2020 Lexus RX 450h in two flavors. comes in two main trim levels: Regardless of whether you buy the standard R50h, or you walk on the wild side a bit and choose the F Sport, you will get standard all-wheel drive, and a powertrain system that includes a 3.5 liter V6 and three electric motor generators--put them all together and you come up with 308 horsepower and a continuously variable automatic transmission. What do you get with the base model? You get standard features like a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control, a suite of driver safety aids (Lexus' Safety System+ 2.0), an 8-inch touchscreen, and a nine-speaker sound system. And as I mentioned earlier Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is also standard this year.
       If you want a bit more in the basic model, consider two packages, called Premium and Luxury. Check with your dealer for the contents. Now for the F Sport. This is the model you want if you have a thing for decent, sporty handling and you want some touches inside and out that don't come with the basic model. The F Sport includes the Premium package's contents plus sportier exterior styling, a sport-tuned suspension, sport front seats, and unique interior trim. The optional F Sport Performance package adds adaptive suspension dampers and specially tuned steering. Given the soft handling of the base model, the F Sport should be a no-brainer for those who want a bit of fun as they drive. For both versions, Lexus offers a Navigation package, which gets you a navigation system, a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen, and either a 12-speaker sound system or an optional 15-speaker Mark Levinson system. Other options to consider are blind-spot monitoring, power-folding second-row seats and a hands-free liftgate.
Safety: Standard are auto emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane departure warning system, lane keeping assist, and just about everything provided with its luxury competitors.     Styling and Aesthetics: Though the RX450 is a larger vehicle than most other Lexus crossovers, there still is a family resemblance that is quite pleasing, with a more subdued version of what I call the more creased, Origami look that has become a trademark for the brand.  I've really enjoyed watching the transformation of Lexus products into style leaders that look like nothing else on the road. The interior is lavish, and well-done generally, but don't expect to see anything that reaches the "wow" factor, at least for me. While the dash certainly looks substantial and expensive, I would not call it eye-catching, and surprisingly, there are some hard plastic features in the interior in spots where you not likely to notice it--but I did. The interior design, themes and styling presentation of the seat materials remind me more of the 1990s than 21st century interior automotive design, and really needs some attention, in my view. The interior is plenty roomy--as long as you don't get relegated to the third row. Sitting back there for adults can be torturous.  The sloping roofline, tiny windows, and chronic lack of real seating room make for an experience that feels isolating and cramped for the average adult.  Leave it only to your children to sit back there.  It does, however, have climate controls in the third row--a nice touch, along with fold-down compartments near the base of the captain seats--great for kids who want to stash little snacks here and there. The touchpad mechanism for using the infotainment system is at best, oversensitive and touchy, despite some adjustments made by the brand to make it less skittish, and the controls are a nightmare for anyone who tries to connect phones and set up music with the Bluetooth feature. After several tries at connectivity, I just gave up and used the radio system instead. Warranty 4 years, 50,000 mile basic warranty,  6 year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty, hybrid battery warranty is 10 years/150,000 miles, the remainder of the hybrid system is warrantied for 8 years/100,000 miles.  

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