New 2022 Lexus NX gets even sharper
While Lexus was an early adopter of the sport-utility vehicle template with the LX and RX, it took them a while to jump into the medium-sized format of the genre.
That changed when they launched the NX in 2014, competing with the likes of the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Volvo XC60. The brand claims that more than a million were sold since, in as many as 90 markets around the world.
It was unmistakably Lexus in the styling and plushness departments, but some would have argued that the driving aspect of its personality was a clear giveaway to close kinship with the less glamorous Toyota RAV4.
The second-generation NX was revealed last week. And while it still shares a foundation with the RAV4 (Toyota GA-K platform), it promises to usher in a new direction for the Lexus brand overall, debuting new technologies and styling elements that will filter through the rest of the range.
Dynamically, the brand assures us that the NX is an improvement on its predecessor, with greater focus on aerodynamics and weight reduction.
“Professional racing drivers conducted an evaluation test drive at the Shimoyama test course to thoroughly ‘train’ the car's body structure and control the driving force to inherit and evolve the Lexus driving flavour,” said Lexus international chief engineer, Takeaki Kato.
It is ironic that, while Lexus was a pioneer of hybrid technology, only now will it be offering a version of the plug-in variety. This is a first for the brand. But our market will not be receiving this version, at launch anyway.
When the new NX does arrive in SA next year, we will be getting the regular hybrid model with a high-capacity battery, as well as a newly-developed, turbocharged four-cylinder with a 2.4-litre displacement, in addition to the familiar 2.5-litre, naturally-aspirated unit.
Also a first for Lexus is the electronic latch door function, eschewing the mechanical, lever set-up in most vehicles.
It is linked to a blind spot monitor that prevents egress when stationary, if it detects approaching traffic with the potential to cause an accident.
If you bemoaned the frustrating Lexus infotainment approach with the central computer mouse-like controller, rejoice in the presence of a massive 14-inch, touchscreen system in the new NX. Lexus claims the new arrangement will minimise driver distraction.
Pay attention on the aesthetic front, because the automaker says that many of the cues seen on the new NX will set the agenda for the next era of Lexus design.
Expectedly, the new vehicle builds on the distinct, angular character of the outgoing vehicle, with even sharper pleats and more aggressive points. The NX, like everything from the Lexus stable, still seems like something that could nick your fingers while performing a hand wash on a Sunday afternoon.
The F-Sport model is even more expressive of course, with 20-inch wheels and a meaner body-kit.
Pricing, model grades and technical specifications for our market will be announced closer to launch.
The current model is priced at R791,600 for the NX300 EX, while the NX300h SE goes for R1,032,000.