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Top-selling RX is refreshed with refined craftsmanship and technology advances

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Lexus New Zealand’s most popular SUV, the RX, has been refreshed by Lexus engineers with the latest in takumi craftsmanship and technology advances.

The 2020 RX, available this month, will be one of the most technologically advanced vehicles in the Lexus portfolio, one that already stands for premium luxury, refined styling and high performance.

"The first RX created a new segment the market had never seen and is now one of the most highly competitive segments in the luxury market," said Neeraj Lala, Lexus New Zealand General Manager.

"With a crafted and efficient line-up of SUVs available from Lexus, we provide customers with the perfect balance of efficiency, elegance, grace and brawn. The jewel in our crown, and leading the charge, is the new 2020 RX."

In 2019, self-charging hybrid Lexus vehicles have been outselling conventional petrol-only options. Lexus New Zealand expects this preference for the more environmentally friendly option to continue gathering pace, especially if the Government goes ahead with its proposal to add a levy to high-emission vehicles in 2021.

"RX is the foundation of the Lexus brand and contributes 30 percent of our total sales in New Zealand," says Mr. Lala. "More than 50 percent of those RX sales are the self-charging powertrain option."

The self-charging hybrid option is just one element of the sustainable approach from Lexus. While all Lexus cars and SUVs are luxuriously appointed, Lexus looks to maximise the use of recycled plastics and materials made from sustainably grown plants. For example, the luggage compartment trim in some vehicles is made from recycled plastics and the audio speakers are manufactured from sustainable bamboo.

Starting with the signature grille, a symbol of the Lexus brand, the designers have created an elaborate look based on the L-motif. Each individual block in the grille has a different shape and angle to create a varying form that conveys a strong yet elegant image. The angles of the grille surround are also echoed at each corner of the bumper to ensure a smooth visual flow.

Every element of the fourth generation RX was scrutinised to see where improvements could be made, and the driving character enhanced. Chief Engineer Takeaki Kato and his team worked to improve body rigidity, a key contributor to agile handling and driver enjoyment.

Greater use of spot welding and the extensive application of high-strength body adhesives has improved bodyshell rigidity. A thicker rear stabiliser bar reduces bodyroll and new friction-controlling shock absorbers help control high frequency vibrations for a smoother ride.

The 2020 RX is also equipped with Active Cornering Assist, which helps prevent understeer and provides more stability to the vehicle handling. While the F-Sport grade gains front and rear performance dampers, that aid in absorbing energy from the chassis for further improved handling stability.

Technology at the speed of life

The RX F-Sport and Limited grades are equipped with the world’s first BladeScanTM Adaptive High-beam System. This adaptive system automatically reduces brightness in specific regions ahead of the car to avoid blinding oncoming drivers and can redirect light towards the side of the road making it easier to see cyclists and pedestrians at night.

"BladeScanTM is brilliantly suited to night driving on our highways, where we rely so much on high beam to light the route and hazards ahead. The system illuminates spots that may be difficult to see with conventional high-beam systems, such as the shoulder of the road," Mr. Lala explains.

The world-first technology operates by shining light from LEDs on two blade-shaped mirrors rotating at high speed, which in turn reflect light onto a lens to illuminate the road ahead. The distribution of this light is precisely controlled. Using the new BladeScanTM technology, RX F-Sport and Limited drivers will be able to identify pedestrians near the shoulder of the road from a distance of 56 metres, up 24 metres from the previously 32 metres illumination using the Adaptive High-beam System.

New for Lexus, the RX line is the first to receive in-car connected technology applications, Apple CarPlay and Android AutoTM integration. Using voice control, customers can access Apple Siri or Google AssistantTM via their smartphone. The updated multi-media system, with satellite navigation, uses a new 12.3-inch touchscreen display with a touchpad remote-touch interface. The audio system in the standard and F-Sport variants uses a 12-speaker array, while the Limited variant utilises a 15-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system.

Customers can stay connected on the go with device charging available via Qi wireless charging functionality, four front, and two rear USB outlets.

Upgraded driver assist safety system

The new RX is equipped with the latest Lexus Safety System + package providing advanced safety and accident prevention technologies. These either warn the driver of a collision risk or help them avoid or mitigate the severity of an impact.

Safety features include a camera- and radar-based Pre-Collision System with Autonomous Emergency Braking, all-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, a helpful Road Sign Assist function, and Auto High-Beam on the standard grade or BladeScanTM Adaptive High Beam on the F-Sport and Limited grades. The Pre-Collision System can now detect pedestrians, day and night and bicyclists during the day.

A new parking support brake system uses the intelligent clearance and rear cross-traffic sensors to avoid or mitigate collisions that commonly occur during parking manoeuvres. In addition to an audible warning, the system can reduce drive force and apply the brakes to reduce the possibility of contact with static objects in the direction of travel, or static objects and moving vehicles when reversing.

In other changes to the 2020 RX, the hands-free power back door sensor has been moved to underneath the rear bumper.

Available exterior colours have also changed with a new Ice Ecru and Terrane Khaki added for the standard and Limited grades, and Onyx, Metallic Silk and Platinum Silver deleted from the range.

Eight 2020 RX models

The 2020 RX will be available with a self-charging hybrid-electric RX 450h or petrol-only RX 350 powertrain. The five-seat version can be purchased as a standard, F-Sport or Limited grade, while the seven-seat version is only available in the Limited grade.

All RX models are All Wheel Drive and are powered by a 3.5 litre V6 engine. The petrol-only RX 350 produces 221kW, while the RX 350L produces 216kW of power. The self-charging hybrid variants RX 450h and RX 450hL have a total power output of 230kW.

The F-Sport and Limited models both have a large range of extras including custom drive modes in the F-Sport variants, and premium 20-inch alloy wheel designs. They also come with power recline and folding second row seats in the five seat variants, and a manual second row with recline and power folding third row seats in the seven-seat variant. The 3rd row of seats now have two positions, one of which allows for an additional 94.3mm of legroom.

A panoramic sunroof is an option for the F-Sport and standard on the Limited five-seat variants.

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