Has it been seven years since Lexus introduced the NX crossover? Judging by the look of the outgoing model, it doesn’t seem like it. The NX was so sharp and fresh when it debuted that its design withstood the test of time.
The look of the NX is so good that Lexus didn’t bother to mess with the formula, and that’s a good thing. At first glance the all-new 2022 NX looks like a refresh, with its familiar upthrust spindle grille, odd but beautiful body angles, and hunkered-down stance. The new NX looks stronger, more muscular. And in a small but bold move, the Lexus logo has been removed from the rear.
The highlight of the new NX is electrification. Lexus parent Toyota has always been at the forefront of hybrid technology. With the world shifting away from internal combustion engines, whether we like it or not, Toyota has armed its premium division with the powertrains necessary to meet future propulsion demands.
The first-generation NX already had a hybrid variant, the NX300h. The hybrid is retained with the second generation, but this time there’s a plug-in hybrid option—a first for the Lexus range. Other powertrains include a 2.4-liter gasoline turbo and a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated gas engine; these engines grew from 2.0 liters of displacement, but knowing Lexus efficiency don’t expect fuel consumption to increase.
Like before, AWD and FWD is available depending on the engine. Lexus says the AWD is a new system developed for the 2.4 turbo. We think we know what variant we want.
The 2014 NX was no slouch when it came to driving dynamics. But this year the NX was honed even further at the Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama—same with the new IS launched last year—to “ensure the NX responds faithfully to drivers’ intention.”
While the exterior skin may look only slightly tweaked, the cabin is a revelation. There’s a massive 14-inch touchscreen that’s angled toward the driver, and not much else. It’s just elegant simplicity all around. Lexus says this new cockpit design is based on what it calls the Tazuna Concept that evolves Lexus’ human-centered philosophy.
The heads-up display is complemented by a new feature called Touch Tracer Operation. By simply touching the touch sensor on the steering wheel, the movement is reflected on the heads-up display, theoretically minimizing distraction for the driver. For smartphone integration there will be Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Are you particular about the mood in your NX? Do you want interior illumination that matches or improves what you’re feeling on a given day? Don’t worry, the 2022 NX has 64 colors of illumination to soothe you or fire you up depending on what you want. And we thought choosing what podcast to listen to was hard. At least there’s either a 10-speaker Lexus Premium Sound System or a Mark Levinson Premium Surround system to give you a sweet soundtrack to your daily commute.
Naturally, an F Sport variant is also coming. It will have 20-inch alloy wheels (regular NXs get 18-inchers), a spoiler on the lower bumper, and front-side garnishes. The F Sport cabin has its own steering wheel design, different front seats, and new aluminum pedals and shift lever.
This being a premium crossover, expect the latest in safety tech. The NX gets the latest Lexus Safety System + that uses millimeter wave radar and a monocular camera to assist drivers and prevent accidents.
Feel tamad to park? With the NX’s new Advanced Park feature, remote parking using a smartphone is possible. A digital key that allows the driver to operate the NX using his or her smartphone will also be available. No more fumbling for keys in the pocket or handbag.
One very nifty feature is Safe Exit Assist. Using the blind spot monitor and an e-latch system, the NX will prevent the door from being opened if a bicycle or motorcycle suddenly appears in the blind spot. This will save both motorist and rider/cyclist a lot of trouble in a high-pressure situations. If this trickles down to Toyotas, the world will be a better place.
So there’s the all-new NX. I think it’s brilliant that it looks so similar to its handsome predecessor, yet it did so much homework under the body and in the cabin. If this is the forerunner to the next generation of Lexus models, the future of the brand is looking good.
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