2020 Lexus RX Infotainment Driveway Test + Video

James Riswick

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When you drive cars from the same brand enough, you start to instinctively know how to accomplish tasks. It's like seeing the emblem on the steering wheel automatically reprograms your brain. For instance, a three-pointed star = gear shift is the stalk that usually controls the windshield wipers. 

I say this because when I got into the 2020 Lexus RX for the first time, I ignored my programming. I don't know why, but when I went to change the channel (left on Sirius Watercolors, ugh), I reached up and tapped the 12.3-inch dashtop display to do it. Just as I remembered that doing so should do nothing ... it worked! What the hell?

As it turns out, the RX gains touchscreen capability for 2020, making it the first and only Lexus to combine a touchscreen with its Remote Touch interface that has pretty much been universally panned. The main reason for that is the means by which it was controlled: either a small joystick-like device that you slid to move between icons or a touchpad that you slid your finger across to go between those same icons. Both require far too much dexterity to successfully operate and draw your eyes away from the road too long. If anything, the older joystick could be considered better, which could be why Lexus decided to keep it in the RX when it was launched despite the fact the touchpad had already made it into previous models. 

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However, the RX now has the touchpad for 2020 as well, but with the touchscreen, any such complaints are significantly muted. As I detail more fully in the above video, the redundant operation makes a world of difference in terms of ease of use. This is especially true when Apple CarPlay and Android Auto operation are considered, both of which make their first appearances in the RX for 2020. 

Really, touchscreen functionality can't be added to the rest of the lineup soon enough as it goes a very long way in correcting what is a very big reason why someone would think twice about buying a Lexus (especially the otherwise superb LS and LC). I do wonder if adding that functionality will be feasible in those other models, however, since the screen placement is different than in the RX. 

Either way, I'll have to live with some mixed programming for a while when driving the various Lexus models. 

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