Lexus RX refreshed with new tech and handling improvements

Improved steering and better smartphone integration both welcome advancements on the revised Lexus RX SUV

The Lexus RX was among the first of the wave of premium SUVs that arrived in the 1990s, but one thing it’s never been is a car to appeal to more enthusiastic drivers.

That’s unlikely to change with the mid-life refresh of the RX that arrived in 2015, but among other changes, the latest Lexus RX has picked up some small suspension and steering tweaks that should hopefully add a dose of driver satisfaction to its otherwise relaxed demeanour.

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In detail, these dynamic improvements include an increase in structural rigidity thanks to extra laser screw welding and spot welding, more high-strength adhesive between key parts of the structure, and stronger wheel hubs.

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The RX also gets 1mm thicker, hollow-section anti-roll bars, redesigned dampers, and changes to the feel and response of the electrically-assisted steering. They probably won’t turn the RX into a Porsche Cayenne rival, but they’ll be welcome nonetheless.

Elsewhere, changes are either visual or technological. A design refresh sees new front and rear bumpers and a cleaner look to the new headlamps, which brings the RX further in line with other recent Lexus launches such as the refreshed RC coupe and new ES saloon.

Those lamps also now feature what Lexus terms the BladeScan Adaptive High-beam System, using spinning, blade-like mirrors inside the light unit to precisely direct LED light through a lens and onto the road - the theory being that it delivers increased vision with less chance of dazzling oncoming traffic.

The divisive spindle grille also gets a new mesh design, while inside the third-row seats have been adjusted for greater leg room. More welcome for many will be the long-awaited integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through the latest multimedia touchscreen, which gives you one more option for avoiding Lexus’ uncompetitive inbuilt infotainment and navigation functions and divisive touchpad control system.

Along with the brand’s latest safety features, including a pre-collision system, adaptive cruise control and road-sign assist, the changes to the new RX seem small but worthwhile. Prices and a UK on-sale date are still to come.

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