Lexus designers, engineers and master craftspeople have invested exceptional efforts in creating the Lexus RX, the original Lexus crossover. Not only it is the world’s bestselling luxury hybrid SUV and all-time best sold Lexus model, but also – it is the world’s first luxury SUV that has created its own segment back in 1998.
Showcasing brave Lexus design and engaging driving character, the RX certainly stands out. For the 2020 model – Lexus engineers scrutinized every part of the vehicle, showcasing some impressive engineering solutions.
Here we focus on seven stand-out features that exemplify Lexus’ imaginative technology.
Because many accidents between vehicles and pedestrians occur at night, Lexus has equipped the new RX’s AHS (Adaptive High-beam System) with the world’s first BladeScan technology. The available new high-beam system enhances the driver’s field of view, resulting in excellent visibility in darkened conditions, providing a wider illumination area compared to conventional array-type lighting, with smooth and fine light distribution control.
BladeScan works by rotating a mirror (reflector) inside the AHS unit that allows the illumination area to be expanded to cover the maximum field of view with minimal glare for drivers in front. The system also supports the recognition of roadside pedestrians that happen to be crossing the street further ahead, while enhancing the driver’s field of view.
BladeScan activates automatically, thanks to a control unit inside the lamp that checks the surrounding environment via front-facing camera, such as vehicles ahead and ambient brightness, as well as processing vehicle speed and yaw-rate information to enable/disable and adjust the brightness of the LEDs to provide optimum illumination.
This new lighting technology, along with the award-winning Lexus Safety System+, defines the mission of the brand, which is to provide safest driving experience possible for not only the driver, but those outside the vehicle, in most every type of road and environmental conditions.
ACTIVE STABILIZER SUSPENSION
Ever since the introduction of the RX in 1998, each successive model’s signature driving trait has always been the silky, smooth ride quality – something Lexus has been committed to maintaining as a defining characteristic of the RX range throughout the years. The 2020 RX upholds this commitment thanks largely to the vehicle’s Active Stabilizer Suspension System, which now features Roll Skyhook Control.
The Active Stabilizer Suspension System in the new RX focuses on suppressing body roll during turning without deteriorating ride comfort. Reduced body roll typically comes at the cost of ride quality, due to the equipment and tuning necessary to manage the physics of mass in motion, but the Yet Philosophy is put to work by reconciling seemingly at-odds concepts to achieve a previously unrealized solution.
The new Roll Skyhook Control system takes things one step further by subduing body roll when traveling over uneven road surfaces. This form of active control is the first of its kind in the world. Roll Skyhook Control uses a vertical G sensor to detect roll direction, and when it senses the vehicle leaning in a given direction, it activates the stabilizer actuator to suppress movement, keeping the vehicle’s posture upright. The result is a comfortable driving experience as the new technology aims to maintain the vehicle occupants’ line of sight and body positions when traveling over uneven road surfaces.
DRIVE MODE SELECT
The new RX offers a high level of driving customization by way of Drive Mode Select that allows the user to select drive modes suitable for certain driving situations or match their preferred driving styles. Customize Mode has been especially adjusted for models equipped with the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system, which enables the driver to freely combine the various modes of the engine, hybrid system, chassis and air-conditioning functions.
Drive Mode Select features four basic modes: Normal, Eco, Sport S and Sport S+. In Normal mode, the new RX offers the ideal balance between performance and fuel economy, while in Eco mode, fuel economy is prioritized by managing engine output and the accelerator opening angle for smoother overall operation. Sport S Mode sharpens the EPS (Electric Power Steering), while providing enhanced acceleration response and feeling, while Sport S+ mode takes the excitement up a notch.
Models equipped with AVS get a Sport S+ mode and the aforementioned Customize mode. For the Sport S+ mode, control of the AVS is added to the Sport S mode and the response of the EPS is further sharpened, realizing the full performance potential of the new RX. And by allowing discerning drivers to select and combine the various modes freely with the new Customization mode, the RX now offers dozens of various setting combinations that can be precisely customized to match the type of roads and/or the mood of the driver.
To help keep the driver’s eyes on the road ahead, the new RX comes equipped with an optional Heads-Up Display (HUD) designed to aid drivers as they monitor a wide range of information – conveniently placed in their field of vision. The HUD allows drivers to move only their eyes when seeking information such as audio, speed, current gear, and RPM. While HUD systems have been previously implemented in Lexus vehicles, the MY20 RX features a host of new icons, including a speed limit display, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and a “Master Warning” indicator that relays any potential emergency or cautions.
As the largest HUD ever offered by Lexus, generous dimensions measuring 240 mm x 90 mm enable a wide array of information to be displayed. A special optical mechanism projects the information shown on the color TFT (Thin Film Transistor) display onto the windshield glass – resulting in a hovering image that appears to be exactly two meters ahead of the vehicle.
While other displays tend to wash out in sunlight, the RX’s TFT has been engineered to provide excellent luminosity, ensuring clear visibility on extremely bright days. Glare and “double-imaging” is prevented by a wedge-shaped interlayer sandwiched between two layers of windshield glass, providing consistent legibility and another example of Human-Centered designed.
Turning heads wherever it goes, the RX possesses a striking front fascia that helped forge a distinct visual identity since its release as an all-new model in 2016. Before every model in the Lexus portfolio possessed a unique interpretation of the spindle-shape, RX broke new ground with a vastly more expressive grille that strove to position Lexus as an automaker with a distinct point of view on design.
For the 2020 midcycle refresh, non F-Sport RX models receive a revised grille that benefits from Lexus designers’ measured touch. Visual strength and distinctiveness are increased through minor changes to the shape of the spindle-shaped grille. By slightly raising the bottom border to visually match the body sides, designers gave RX a newfound aura of athleticism and grace.
Look closely and you may also notice the design motif of the non F-Sport RX is no longer characterized by straight horizontal lines. In their place is an “L”-shaped block mesh that accentuates the unity of the Lexus’ SUV lineup while providing more depth and character to the grille. Furthermore, the new design features differing upper and lower sections, with the flow of the mesh changing as it radiates outward from the central badge, giving the front end a sense of motion.
As the face of our vehicles – something both owners and passerby experience when viewing – any changes to the front fascia are significant. RX’s evolutionary changes have transformed the very nature of the vehicle into an LUV that stresses luxury and sport like no other vehicle in the marketplace.
VISUALIZATION OF TRACTION
The petrol version of the new RX features an all-wheel-drive (AWD) option that ensures optimal traction off the line and atop a variety of driving surfaces. In an effort to combat “tight corner braking phenomenon” – an AWD condition where the vehicle unintentionally slows down during sharp turns because of differences in wheel rotations – Lexus engineers have implemented an ingenious torque distribution technology called Situation-Specific Control. In addition, they’ve incorporated an AWD Operation Display (a Lexus first) into the multi-information display for the utmost in driver awareness.
Engaging the AWD system’s Situation-Specific Control torque distribution control is simple. When accelerating from a standstill on a slick surface, such as snow or sand, drivers can press the LOCK switch, which sends the maximum amount of torque to the rear tires (they usually possess the most traction during acceleration) for the most effective means of optimizing grip. Once the system recognizes that the vehicle traveling in a stable manner, it will decrease the distribution of torque to the rear wheels, resulting in enhanced overall fuel economy. Also, the system automatically disengages AWD mode when braking, thus improving stopping performance.
And, for the first time ever in a Lexus vehicle, the front and rear torque distribution levels are presented on the multi-information display located on the dashboard. This provides the driver with a high level of reassurance on slick roads.
When the 8-speed transaxle made its 2016 debut in the RX, it represented a world first for front-engine/front-wheel-drive vehicles. Lexus engineers have taken that revolutionary unit and enhanced it in every way for the new RX. The new 8-speed transaxle delivers better fuel economy and dynamic performance by using a wider gear range than its predecessor. It also exhibits smoother shifting by way of closer gear ratios, while also ensuring both cornering and straight-line stability that give the driver more control and confidence.
While the aggressive shifting nature of some sporty transmissions tend to be “busy” and “jerky,” the RX’s new 8-speed transaxle features Linear Driveforce Management that allows the maximum amount of engine torque to be utilized in each gear, improving not just acceleration, but overall driving feel. For example, when demanding quick acceleration above a constant speed held by the driver, the system can choose a higher gear for acceleration, reducing the frequency of downshifts. But when a downshift is required and performed, the system automatically minimizes the drive force, providing a smooth, linear deceleration character that results in a high level of vehicle control in line with the driver’s accelerator inputs.
Because engine torque is always managed to reflect the user’s driving style, the RX’s new 8-speed transaxle delivers a constant and smooth driving force that equates to a more vibrant on-road performance with less driving fatigue.