Lexus Infotainment Gets a Long-Overdue Refresh

It’s no secret that both Lexus’ infotainment and Toyota’s are in desperate need of a refresh. With the Japanese brand’s premium division debuting their new NX crossover, a new infotainment system has been revealed as well. Hopes are high for the new unit. The old one was consistently touted as a weak point in the otherwise excellent vehicles it could be found in. The same can be said for parent company Toyota, whose infotainment systems are also in desperate need of a refresh.

Lexus infotainment needed the change

The interior of the new Lexus NX featuring the brand's new infotainment system.
Lexus Interface in the new NX | Lexus

The performance of the old Lexus infotainment system is certainly what dated it the most. Commands in the old unit were processed by a mousepad of sorts. Users execute commands by dragging their fingers across the pad, which quickly became tiresome and inaccurate to use. Later, updates allowed the pad to be circumvented by a touchscreen, which was admittedly a welcome change.

Unfortunately, the screen suffered from the same issues as Toyota’s infotainment. It was slow to respond, often leading users like myself to push the button multiple times before a command was recognized. This was often worsened by the fact that doing so would trigger a second unwanted command input. Suffice to say, the old system needed to go; and props to both Toyota and Lexus for recognizing that and striving to make improvements.

Lexus Interface will great new features

Lexus' infotainment-compatible smartphone app used to open the doors on an NX model
Phone-powered keyless entry | Lexus

And improvements they did make. The new system looks extremely promising. First, the pair of Japanese brands began by addressing a major issue facing newer screens in cars: glare. Per Lexus, the new system will have a glare-reducing screen. Let’s hope it also helps to hide fingerprints. Moreover, the system promises to be far more responsive. This and the abandonment of the mousepad are far and away the best takeaways from the new system.

But, the Japanese company is also adapting some typically bleeding-edge tech. For the first time in Lexus models, you’ll be able to use your phone to interface with the vehicle. Your new Lexus will have the ability to be locked and unlocked from your smartphone. Additionally, you’ll be able to start and stop the vehicle with it too. There will also be a new virtual assistant available. The Japanese brands aren’t the first to try this tech, but if anyone can make it a mainstream success, it’s Lexus.

Lexus’ infotainment might mean changes for Toyota too

A silver Lexus NX 300 at an auto show
The 2020 Lexus NX | Raymond Boyd via Getty Images

All this new tech is fantastic. Even in the tech-saturated auto market we have today, it’s great to see manufacturers still pushing the envelope. Both Toyota and Lexus are known for their innovation, and this exciting new infotainment system is a great example. With any luck, we’ll see some of this tech trickle down to Toyota models. Toyota has already announced a refresh of the infotainment in the new Tundra, and you can bet there’ll be some great Lexus tech sprinkled in.

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