2020 Lexus RX 350 F Sport AWD Review

Lexus' best-selling model gets even better


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Feels more composed and responsive than last year's model, truly attractive in F Sport trim, high quality interior, bigger touchscreen is crisp.
Negatives: Design might be a little busy for some, infotainment still needs a lot of work in terms of precision, ride not as plush as the non-F Sport RX.
Bottom Line: The RX 350 F Sport dials up the performance and the sporty look but maintains the solidity and composure the model is known for. It's one of the best built luxury crossovers around, and the changes make it better to drive.
The Lexus RX line continues its streak as the best-selling model in the Lexus stable. Although the styling can still be called controversial, it seems buyers still flock to it for its luxury, build quality, and brand cache. For 2020, there are improvements to the look, tech, safety, and driving dynamics. The front and rear fascias get slightly tweaked, improvements have been made to the RX's handling, more safety features, and there's a new, larger touchscreeen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We drove the V6-powered RX 350 F Sport for a week to see if we could notice the differences. Read our full review below.
 

Driving Experience

8.6

 

Although we wouldn't call the F Sport flavor of the RX aggressive, it is powerful enough for most folks and thanks to better suspension, it's more rewarding to drive. The F Sport model firms up the ride and provides better handling, but the steering still leaves something to be desired.

Ride Quality: Comfortable with some firmness built it. The RX 350 F Sport feels composed and solid, but those wanting more of a cushy ride should opt for the regular RX.

Acceleration: The powerful V6 and the smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic work well together. In Sport+ mode, things get more responsive, and the 0-60 time clocks in at just under 7 seconds, which isn't particularly fast or slow. The RX feels just right.

Braking: The brakes have good progression, and we had no troublee bringing the RX 350 F Sport to a stop. There's no mushiness or grabbiness in the brakes.

Steering: We would've liked a bit more heft in the steering, but it is precise. There's just not much feedback to speak of.

Handling: Body control is admirable, and the beefed up suspension is noticeable when driving the RX 350 F Sport harder than normal. It provides more confidence than the 2019 model, and we definitely felt the difference.

Technology

6.7

 

We love the upsizing in the infotainment system from 8.0 inches the 12.3. The big screen now looks better and responds to touch, which is way better than using the physical controls. Why the brand hasn't sought to redo the infotainment in their lineup is baffling to us. At least it looks better now.

Infotainment System: The large screen upgrade is great, but the some icons are hard to reach via touch.

Controls: Using the infotainment touchpad is an exercise in frustration since it always overshoots the selection you want. We deferred to Apple CarPlay 100% of the time and almost always used the screen. The rest of the RX 350's controls are pretty good, but the audio tuning knob is a little too far away.

Styling

8.8

 

F Sport version of Lexus models almost always look better than their regular siblings, and the RX 350 is no exception. The brand refreshed the exterior to make it look a little less busy but no less aggressive.

Front: The spindle grille gets cleaned up at the base with a more unified frame, and the headlights are slimmer, and its inside edge loses its strange kink, too. Last year's weird triangular foglight housing with the round lighting element has been replaced by a separate slim lighting unit at the bottom outside edge of the fascia with a bigger intake above it.

Rear: Supposedly, the taillights have been tweaked, but we don't see much difference. There's a lot of angularity back here, but it's not terrible.

Profile: The RX 350 in F Sport trim looks great from the side. We actually like the creases, and it's one of the few vehicles that pull off the "floating roof" well.

Cabin: Some might think red seats are too much, but they look great in the RX 350 F Sport. Everything looks great inside, and the materials quality is top notch.

Comfort

9

 

The RX has one of the best cabins in the industry, barring some minor ergonomic issues. The plastic, seat material, and metallic trim are all excellent, and seating is good for tall adults. It's also a remarkably quiet ride at all speeds.

Front Seats: The bolstering is aggressive, but we love it. It has a good balance of firmness and cushioning, too. The NuLuxe synthetic leather could easily pass for the real thing. It's soft, supple, and attractive. Seat adjustability is good, and so is the seating position.

Rear Seats: 38 inches of legroom is plentiful for tall adults, and three passengers can sit across the back with no problem. The middle position, although roomy, has no contour, so it's really just for shot trips.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The sound deadening is excellent, and we noticed no errant noise at any speed. Build quality is superb.

Visibility: The front and most of the sides provide good visibility, but the slim rear window and rear side glass impede sightlines.

Climate: The climate system in the RX works really well, and on chilly spring days things warmed up quickly. The heated and ventilated seats are also very good.

Safety

8.8

 

The RX gets great scores in crash testing, and it now gets Lexus Safety System+ 2.0, which should put buyers at ease with some of the best equipment in the segment.

IIHS Rating: The RX misses the best score due to less than stellar headlights. In every other category, including the crucial front passenger small offset crash test, it gets "good". The result is a Top Safety Pick rating.

NHTSA Rating: The RX earns 5 stars from the federal government.

Standard Tech: The RX comes with Safety Sense 2.0+ that now includes lane centering, bicycle detection, and road-sign assistance, in addition to previously available features such as automatic front braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with a Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist, a Panoramic View Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Braking.

Storage/Cargo

8.7

 

The RX does a great job with overall storage. You won't find any huge binnacles, but the ones in the cabin are strategically placed and pretty easy to access.

Storage Space: The front row has some of the best door pockets that fold out for more capacity. The center console has a cubby in front of the shifter for small items, and the armrest is well-sized for slightly larger items.

Cargo Room: The rear cargo area gets 18 cubes behind row 2 and 56 with the seats folded flat. It's one of the biggest in midsize crossover segment.

Fuel Economy

8

 

The RX 350 F Sport gets good mileage when its not driving hard in Sport+ mode which holds it in gear longer and increases throttle response. We have no doubt conservative driving can reach EPA estimates.

Observed: 17.5 mpg.

Distance Driven: 57 miles.

Audio

9.3

 

The optional Mark Levinson system is wonderful. The package in which it comes is over three grand, but it's worth the money. The sound is clear, full, and has ample bass with no distortion. It's one of our favorite systems.



Final Thoughts

The RX 350 is one of our favorite luxury crossovers with only a handful of demerits. The infotainment system controls are not nearly as good as ones found in Audi and BMW, but it now looks better than ever. The way the RX 350 F Sport drives equates to toeing the line well between luxury and sport. It's more fun to drive than last year's model, and it also happens to be the best looking RX model right now. The level of comfort. safety, and the build quality are really hard to beat, and the $60K price actually seems reasonable for what you get.
Shopping for a new
Lexus RX 350?

(844) 801-8526
Call our vehicle experts for
assistance with your research.