Trucks & SUVs

Avoid the 2020 Lexus LX If You Want a Luxury SUV With 3 Rows

Although “three-row luxury SUV” seems like a narrow slice of the auto market, Lexus has dominated it since the release of their first Lexus RX back in 1998. Rolling out a high-quality vehicle with a great reputation helped Lexus corner the market on SUVs for consumers willing to spend up a little bit while remaining well under $100,000.

They’ve also moved into the subcompact space with the Lexus UX, which provides a more affordable option. However, the 2020 Lexus LX is one of today’s hot topics. Is the LX worth it, or does it make more sense to stick with the tried-and-true Lexus RX?

The U.S. News luxury SUV roundup

U.S. News ranked a staggering two dozen cars in their 2020 roundup of three-row luxury SUVs. The 2020 Lincoln Navigator topped the list, but with even the most basic model coming in at over $76,000, it makes sense to look at some other options.

Lexus has four entries on the list: the Lexus LX, GX, the RX 350, and the RX Hybrid. The two Lexus RX versions come in at No. 3 and No. 5 on the list, but at an MSRP as low as $44,150, the value is apparent when compared to the Lincoln Navigator in first place.

Further down the list, the Lexus LX is ranked No. 18 of the 18 models listed in order. The U.S. News review touted its off-roading capabilities and “well-built cabin,” but the model lacks in nearly every other area. The fuel mileage is poor, the infotainment system is unduly frustrating, and it doesn’t even have class-average cargo space. For all its potential, the Lexus LX lags behind the pack.

Other options in the Lexus family

The Lexus LX on display at the New York International Auto Show
The Lexus LX | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

RELATED: The 2020 Lexus LS500h Is a Waste of $100K

If you’re determined to choose a luxury SUV from Lexus, you’re in luck. The Lexus RX leads the pack when it comes to sales in a slumping market, and there are some good reasons why. Unlike its cousin the Lexus LX, the 2020 version of the Lexus RX features an upgraded infotainment system, accessible through a new touchscreen. It doesn’t score huge points for being “sporty” or holding a lot of cargo, but it’s a quality car at an affordable price.

The luxury SUV market is tightly contested. Nearly every category is represented and ranked, including engine power. Luxury SUVs are generally a purchase that a lot of thought goes into, so it’s unlikely that many consumers will go into a dealership without doing their research, which is bad news for the Lexus LX. The RX excels in all the areas where it counts and especially stands out when compared to the 2020 edition of the Lexus LX.

Where the Lexus LX saves face

The Lexus LX has its flaws, to be sure, and the Lexus RX (either spec) is likely a better buy. However, it excels in some categories that other luxury SUVs don’t. And even its low points aren’t quite as low as the infamous 2020 Cadillac Escalade. The U.S. News review touts its off-roading ability but even concedes that it’s about parallel with the Toyota Land Cruiser. 

For over 30 years, Lexus has produced some of the finest cars on the road, and the Japanese company is quickly finding that they can’t all be winners. However, the Lexus RX came out this year as well. It’s a huge step up in quality – for a step down in price.

If you’re OK paying up to six figures, the Lincoln Navigator can’t be beaten at the top of the price range. But among the mid-price options, and especially if you’re set on a Lexus, take the Lexus RX and enjoy the savings and quality.