By Frank S. Washington
PHOENIX – Lexus intends to expand and diversify its customer base with the new NX. To that end the luxury brand has diversified the NX’s offerings.
There are now four models, with four different engines, a new grille and it is a better looking small crossover, which is no longer that small.
They’ve refined the spindle grille and added full-width blade taillamps and LEXUS’ rear badging. At the front, the updated grille pattern and frame created a more integrated feel to the body of the vehicle.
Made up of tall U-shaped blocks, the spindle grille is designed for a three-dimensional effect and creates a sense of depth while expressing a strong impression. Framed on top by the L-shaped daytime running lights, there were optional three-projector headlamps.
In the rear, the Lexus logo was redesigned. The use of the L emblem has been replaced by a new, unified LEXUS logo located at the center of the vehicle. A full-width blade rear combination lamp and an L-shaped lamp on the rear fender are separated to make the expression unique to the NX. The light bar lamps are constantly illuminated at night to function as a taillight and illuminate the rear brand signature.
The NX has a driver-centered cockpit. There was a 7-inch Multi Instrument Display and an optional 10-inch Head Up Display, both NX firsts, are designed to convey vehicle information, alerts, and updates, within the driver’s line of sight.
The single meter layout is made more visible by a high -definition screen. Most driving-related functions are concentrated on the steering wheel to allow for intuitive operation while keeping the driver’s eyes on the road.
In the center stack, the standard 9.8-inch touchscreen puts an array of multimedia features within easy reach. The optional 14-inch touch screen, another first for NX, delivers an immersive multimedia experience. Dial controls remain for frequently used functions, like climate control and media volume. Comfort features, such as heated seat selection, are now more readily accessible. All enhancements combine to create a more user-friendly, digital in-vehicle experience.
We strongly suggest sitting in a newly purchased NX and looking at the tutorial. Lest you drive off without discovering the many features that it has or the functions that it can do.
Watch the NX. It is going to lead Lexus into the future. The crossover was the first Lexus to get a turbocharged engine and it will be the first of the brand’s vehicles to offer features like a digital key, cloud navigation, virtual assistant, and digital assistant when it goes on sale at the end of the year.
Engine variants begin with the NX 250, a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with start/stop functionality and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It is available in both FWD and AWD options. Delivering an estimated 203 horsepower and 184 lb. ft. of torque., combined results in 0-60 times of 8.2 seconds (FWD) and 8.6 seconds (AWD) respectively.
The NX’s new lower center of gravity and stronger rigidity enhance its performance. That lends to the sportier feeling of the NX 350. Powered by a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It makes 275 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque and has a zero to 60 mph time of 6.8 seconds.
There is also a NX 350h, which is Lexus-speak for hybrid. This system has been completely reworked. The D4-S fuel injection 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine has two high-torque electric drive motor-generators for strong acceleration and passing performance. Instead of transfer gears and a driveshaft to the rear wheels, the AWD system employs a second, independent electric motor to drive the rear wheels when it detects it is needed to help maintain optimal traction.
With the all-new Lexus NX 350h, consumers get performance and fuel economy. With a combined 239 horsepower, a 20 percent increase over the current model, and an estimated 36 MPG, six miles better than the current model, this NX hybrid gets to 60 mph in 7.2 second. That is 1.5 seconds better than the model it replaces.
The NX 450h+ is the top of the line. It has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a plug-in hybrid electric motor. It makes 302 horsepower, and they were still testing at the time of our drive to finalize the torque.
But we can tell you this: the 450h+ can from a standstill to 60 mpg in 6.0 sends flat. It can use its high-capacity lithium-ion battery to go up to 36 miles in electric only mode.
Lexus said it has a high-output, high-efficiency system designed to reduce power loss when converting from AC power to DC power. That results in shorter charging times.
Using the maximum charging current of 240V, the Lexus NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid can be fully charged in approximately two-and a-half hours when equipped with the optional 6.6 kW Expedited Onboard Charger. With the standard 3.3 kW on board charger, charge time goes up slightly to four-and-a-half hours.
Voice command has been expanded on the NX. You can now use it to turn on the window wipers or lower the rear seats which can be heated. Can voice commands for the windows or the liftgate be far behind? It now has run flat tires.
Although the 2022 Lexus NX is larger than the vehicle it will replaces, it is lighter. The turbo is 170 lbs. lighter, and the hybrid is 200 lbs. lighter.
The rear cargo area is 14 percent larger. The door locks are digital, it will come in 11 different colors and the shift knob is digital. There were four USB jacks, two in the front and two in the back. But three of the four are USB-c jacks. The ambient lighting has 64 shades of color. There was a new steering wheel and driver assistance has been upgraded.
It has a digital rearview mirror. Heated front seats are standard. The rear seat can be heated, and the front pair can be cooled. There was an enhanced navigation Lexus interface connection. Wireless charging for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The new NX can be coupled with your smartphone to activate a digital key.
We took 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ for a quick test drive. The new NX has a solid quality. It was quiet, handled well and it was well equipped. But there was more.
Lexus has learned how to build in that solidness that comes with luxury vehicles. It is an intangible, but it is there. And we also noted the 14-inch touch in infotainment screen, it looked huge.
All the instrumentation was digital. We climbed in the back and found plenty of head room and comfortable seats.
The spindle grille, car chrome, wheels, badging, and roof rails were all black. Our test NX 450h+ had performance dampers MacPherson strut suspension in the front and a trailing arm type double wishbone suspension in the rear.
The base prices for the NX 250 were $37.950, the 350 NX Turbo started at $41,500, and in a gambit, the NX 350h hybrid is priced lower than its gasoline powered counterpart at $41,050, while the top-of-the-line NX 450h+ starts at $55,560. The NX is produced in Japan and at the automaker’s North American assembly plant Ontario Canada.