There’s something funky going on with the Lexus RX spec sheet, or at least with the cargo capacity measuring method used to populate it with an official cubic-foot number. Basically, if you went by the specs, the RX would seemingly have less cargo space than a Toyota C-HR, which is a notably cramped subcompact SUV. All you need are eyes to know something’s fishy about that. Doing these luggage tests has revealed other car companies also report cargo capacity figures that sell their SUVs short relative competitors, but this is a new low, so to speak.
Really, I write all of that to basically say “The 2020 Lexus RX is substantially more spacious than the official numbers say it is.” How spacious, though? Well, that’s why I put the same batch of luggage into everything to achieve some sort of baseline. Let’s take a look.
This is a wide, deep space. However, the current RX has a more radically raked roofline than its predecessors, which almost achieves a crossover coupe look. The result is less overall cargo space, but losing greenhouse usually effects versatility more. Basically, you can carry a comparable number of bags, but that 52-inch TV will be a tough get.
To begin, I left the cargo cover in place. As in every luggage test I do, I use two midsize roller suitcases that would need to be checked in at the airport (26 inches long, 16 wide, 11 deep), two roll-aboard suitcases that just barely fit in the overhead (24L x 15W x 10D), and one smaller roll-aboard that fits easily (23L x 15W x 10D). I also include my wife’s fancy overnight bag just to spruce things up a bit (21L x 12W x 12D).
Fitting only the four biggest bags isn’t great, but it’s also the result of keeping the cargo cover in place (I do this to replicate a situation where you can’t just leave it behind in your garage).
OK, let’s get rid of it.
There, all the bags fit. It was easier to load this in the RX than in the Acura RDX, which is the largest compact luxury SUV. It’s extra width is a big part of that. However, the total number of bags and the remaining space is still comparable to most compact luxury SUVs. In a way, you’re not getting much more cargo space by “stepping up” to the midsize RX.
However, unlike most of those compacts, the RX has a trick up its sleeve: a sliding back seat.
Above left shows the 60 portion in its furthest forward and most upright position, while the 40 portion is in its furthest rearward and most reclined position.
Above right shows the seat fully forward.
This is the significant amount of space you gain by moving the seat fully forward. True, that does limit the size of people who can comfortably fit inside, but having this extra space available is certainly helpful. For instance, let’s say you’re a couple taking a lengthy road trip or are snowbirds moving between houses.
There’s another nifty cargo feature available.
My test vehicle was fitted with an accessory cargo net that not only keeps things in place, but neatly stows in the zippered burrito shown in the above left photo. You don’t have to awkwardly fold it into a ball and stash it someplace. The burrito also easily unsnaps when you need to conduct a luggage test.
So that’s how much cargo space is in the 2020 Lexus RX, official figures be damned. It’s a bit more useful than a compact luxury SUV, but that chopped roofline nevertheless reduces versatility and other, boxier midsize models should be more practical as a result. Of course, if you need or want more, there’s the RX L model. It’s advertised as the three-row model, but gaining extra cargo space is really the reason you get it given the nearly useless extra row of seats.