2020 Lexus RX earns Top Safety Pick due to improved headlights

November 11, 2019

The 2020 Lexus RX has received a Top Safety Pick nod from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety thanks to some strategic improvements to its crash structure and an updated set of headlights.

For the first time, the 2020 RX swept the insurance watchdog's crashworthiness tests, receiving a "Good" in each category. For the first time, the RX was tested for the passenger side small overlap test, which is one of the more challenging tests for automakers to get right. 

For the 2020 model year, Lexus added reinforcement to the passenger side bumper and front-end unibody structure to improve its performance in the passenger-side small overlap test.

The other critical upgrade implemented for 2020 is an overhaul of the RX's front lighting system. The LED projectors on some trims now received an "Acceptable" rating from the IIHS, bumping the RX into Top Safety Pick territory by the 2019 rating system.

While an improvement, "Acceptable" is not good enough for the Institute's coveted Top Safety Pick+ award. To receive this nod, a vehicle must receive a "Good" rating for at least one available head light configuration; the RX's alternative setup was rated "Poor."

Apart from this category, the 2020 Lexus RX aced the Institute's tests. Its collision-prevention system was able to avoid accidents at both 12 and 25 mph, and its LATCH child seat anchors were praised for their ease of use.

Testing by the NHTSA was not as conclusive for the 2020 Lexus RX: front-drive versions earned only four out of five stars, but AWD versions get five stars overall despite four stars for frontal crash protection. 

The RX joins the likes of the Infiniti QX60 and Volvo XC60 in receiving Top Safety Pick nods for midsize luxury SUVs. Competitors receiving Top Safety Pick+ nods include the Acura RDX, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE

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