Lexus IS and RX gain updates for 2020

Indigo-themed Lexus IS F Sport and entry-level RX join the refreshed Lexus range

Lexus has announced some gentle updates for two of the mainstays of its range, the IS saloon and RX SUV, in time for the 2020 model year.

Sadly, neither update includes the fitment of the 5-litre naturally-aspirated V8 found in the RC F and Lexus LC, but you can’t win ‘em all, can you? Instead, the IS F Sport gains a special edition, while the RX has been granted a new trim level and series of equipment updates.

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The new IS is the F Sport I Blue – that’s “I” as in “indigo”, and not just phonetically, as the car’s inspiration stems from a shade linked closely with Japan, and the ai-iro indigo plant dye used in the country for centuries.

Confusingly ai-iro doesn’t refer just to one colour but more than 100 shades, though Lexus has settled on one of them, kachi-iro, for the interior details from which the name is derived. These include the dyed wood found on the steering wheel rim, the door trim panels, and inserts and stitching on the F Sport’s sport seats.

The exterior shade shown in the images is actually a different colour entirely – Azure Blue, a shade already within the Lexus pallette – but Sonic White and Graphite Black exterior paintwork is also available (regular ISs meanwhile do get a new shade - Manganese Lustre). The I Blue also gets a set of ten-spoke alloy wheels inspired by those on the much-loved LFA supercar, and gloss black exterior detailing.

Already included are the usual F Sport details, including aluminium pedals and sports suspension. Navigation with a 10-inch display is standard, while LED headlights with auto high beam, a reversing camera and heated steering wheel are available as an optional Premium pack.

While the IS gets a sporty special edition, the RX (and its long-wheelbase RX L equivalent) gets a new entry-level model. It’s unbadged (just “RX”, rather than RX Premium, F Sport or Takumi further up), but still packs plenty of kit, including a 12.3-inch touchscreen display, a series of safety features, a power tailgate and heated front seats covered in synthetic leather.

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Like the IS, it too is available with an optional Premium Pack, this time including actual leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, and a heated wheel, among other things. A Tech and Safety pack adds a head-up display, blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alerts, while the RX can be optioned with a panoramic roof.

At the top of the RX tree, the RX L Takumi gets the option of a pair of captain’s seats in the second row, instead of the standard bench.

Powertrains for the IS and RX ranges remain the same as before, with a 178bhp, 2.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid setup in the IS (capable of up to 48.7mpg, and 0-62mph in 8.4sec), and a 3.5-litre V6 hybrid drivetrain in the RX and RX L.

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