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2019 vs. 2020 Lexus RX: What’s the Difference?

  • Lexus RX is the best-selling luxury SUV in America.

  • 2020 Lexus RX receives some updates including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

  • 7-passenger “RX L” variant was introduced for 2019.

Lexus’ best-selling RX has been one of the top-selling luxury vehicles in the United States ever since it was introduced at the dawn of the SUV craze back in the late 1990s. Now in its fourth generation, the RX receives a few big updates for the 2020 model year, helping to bring it in line with the competition and position it for strong sales heading into the future.

2019 vs. 2020 Lexus RX


As was the case for the 2019 model year, the 2020 RX is offered with two available powertrains: a regular gas engine or a hybrid setup, and in two different lengths, with room for either five or seven passengers, with the 7-passenger version being referred to as the RX L. All-wheel drive (AWD) is optional, and should appeal to drivers living in climates that see snow in the winter. See the 2019 Lexus RX models for sale near you

While pricing for the updated 2020 RX has yet to be released, we expect it to come in at a small increase over the 2019 model, which started at $44,845 in basic front-wheel drive (FWD) RX 350 guise, and topped out at about $64,000 for a fully loaded RX 450h F Sport. See the 2020 Lexus RX models for sale near you

2019 vs. 2020 Lexus RX powertrains


The 2020 RX uses the same powertrains as the 2019 model. Under the hood of the basic RX 350 is a 3.5-liter V6 putting out 295 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque paired with an 8-speed automatic. With optional AWD, the RX 350 returns 19 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving. FWD models earn back an extra mpg. Oddly, the 7-passenger RX 350L loses five hp and five lb-ft for totals of 290 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque, and returns one mpg less than a comparable 5-passenger RX.

The hybridized RX450h adds a hybrid component to the 3.5-liter V6 and uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Combined output is 308 hp for both the RX450 and RX450L. AWD is standard. The basic RX 450h returns 30 mpg combined while the RX 450hL achieves 29 mpg combined.

All iterations of the 2019 and 2020 RX come with a 3,500-lb towing capacity. 0-to-60 mph time comes in around seven seconds for all versions.

2019 vs. 2020 Lexus RX exterior


The RX wears sharp, angular styling that’s been refined for 2020. Up front, the RX’s fascia has been tweaked with a new grille, slimmer headlights, reconfigured fog lights and air vents, and a new chin spoiler. The taillights have also been tweaked, incorporating L shapes, and various elements of the rear fascia updated as well.

Additionally, while the F-Sport package has been around for a while, Lexus will now offer two different F-Sport packages on the RX for 2020, one of which offers performance improvements while the other is purely aesthetic. The former now comes with an active variable suspension similar to the one offered on the Lexus LC, a cold air intake, active sound control and a heated steering wheel, while the latter, which could be referred to as the F Sport “appearance package,” comes only with the aesthetic upgrades and should appeal to buyers wanting the relaxed, comfortable ride of the basic RX, but with more aggressive styling. Two new colors are offered: Moonbeam Beige Metallic and Nori Green Pearl.

Also worth mentioning is that underneath, the RX gets enhanced front and rear stabilizer bars, retuned shock absorbers and upgraded dampers. The suspension is said to be stiffer overall, which should reduce road noise and vibration.

2019 vs. 2020 Lexus RX interior


The RX comes with a comfortable, car-like interior with the excellent build quality you should expect from Toyota and Lexus. Updates for the 2020 model year include standard paddle shifters, and touch capability for both the 8.0-in and 12.3-in infotainment screens. The option of using touch controls in addition to Lexus’ console-mounted joystick and control pad will come as a relief to some buyers who found the console controls to be a little clunky and nonintuitive.

Additionally, a hands-free kick sensor is now available for the power rear lift gate, while RX L models get standard NuLuxe seating and interior trim, and a new Birch color available with certain exterior colors.

2019 vs. 2020 Lexus RX infotainment


Perhaps the most welcomed update to the RX for the 2020 model year is that it now offers standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility — the first Lexus product to do so. These systems allow users to connect their smartphones to the vehicle’s infotainment system and use applications like Google Maps, Apple Music, Spotify, Messages and more through the vehicle’s infotainment screen. This is particularly advantageous when it comes to navigation, as a web-connected navigation system like Google Maps allows for more intuitive searching and tends to offer more efficient directions than the built-in systems developed by the automakers. Amazon Alexa capability is offered as well.

The 2020 RX also offers six USB ports in total. This is impressive, although we’d like to see USB-C offered, as the old-guard USB will be obsolete in just a few years.

2019 vs. 2020 Lexus RX safety 


While the 2019 Lexus RX was available with an impressive array of active safety features, the 2020 model gains the second-generation versions of these systems as standard across the board. This means that in addition to basics like automatic emergency braking, radar cruise control and automatic high beams, the 2020 Lexus RX comes with daytime bicyclist detection, low-light pedestrian detection, road sign detection and lane-tracing assist, which not only helps you stay in your lane, but actually centers you between the lines, helping you to stay in the middle of your lane. When lines aren’t present in the road, the system can follow the vehicle in front of it.


The major changes to the Lexus RX for the 2020 model year are the addition of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the reconfiguring of the F Sport package to be available with or without performance enhancements, and the standardization of the company’s most up-to-date active safety systems across the lineup. Obviously, in the absence of price, these changes make the 2020 RX objectively more appealing than the outgoing 2019 model. That said, if you’re able to get a great deal on a leftover 2019 RX, it’s still worth your strong consideration, given that it offers all of the refinement and practicality that has vaulted the RX to the top of the luxury crossover sales pile over the years. The updated 2020 model just offers more in the way of the latest safety and infotainment features that will keep the vehicle feeling modern into the future. Find a 2019 Lexus RX for sale or Find a 2020 Lexus RX for sale

Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill is an author specializing in competitive analysis, consumer recommendations, and adventure-driven enthusiast content. A lifelong car enthusiast, he worked in the auto industry for a bit, helping Germans design cars for Americans, and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He runs an Instagram account, @MountainWestCarSpotter, which in his own words is "actually pretty good", and has a... Read More about Chris O'Neill

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