The 2022 Lexus NX mid-size SUV has been disclosed in Japan this week. Lexus claims the new-generation NX is further developed and spacious inside, and more engaging to drive; qualities it expects will win more Australian purchasers as Lexus strives to overtake the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Volvo XC60 in the premium mid-size SUV segment.
The all-new Lexus NX premium mid-size SUV will show up in Australian Lexus showrooms in November 2021 of every three specification levels with a mix of petrol and hybrid powertrains in front-and all-wheel-drive configurations.
At this stage, there is no indication of a pure-electric model or a high-performance NX F to handle the BMW X3 M and Mercedes-AMG GLC63. There likewise gives off an impression of being minimal new in the method of semi-self-ruling innovations in the Lexus NX, albeit some active safety features’ autonomous abilities have been improved.
Lexus likewise has plans to release its first plug-in hybrid vehicle, the NX450h+ later in 2021, which will be powered by a 2.5-liter petrol four-cylinder engine joined with front and back electric motors and an 18.1kWh battery pack. The brand claims the NX450h+ can cover 75km on a full charge.
Concerning whether the NX450h+ will come to Australia, Lexus Australia wouldn’t be drawn, saying just “we will communicate more on that model in due course”.
The second-generation NX mid-size SUV is based on the longer and stronger GA-K platform shared with the Toyota RAV4 and Kluger SUVs, and Lexus ES sedan. Lexus claims the GA-K architecture delivers “a lightweight, highly rigid body with a low centre of gravity to enable superior handling”.
The NX debuts various new technologies for the brand, including an all-new 2.4-liter turbocharged petrol engine, electronically-controlled all-wheel-drive system, and e-Latch technology which gets rid of internal door handles.
The Lexus NX is the first production car created at the organization’s new Shimoyama Technical Center outside of Nagoya in Japan, which incorporates a 5.3km test track intended to imitate elements of the Nurburgring and other extreme real-world streets.
Lexus says this new facility, which opened in 2019, played a key role in guaranteeing the new NX will “deliver a precise driving feel … which targets engaging and linear vehicle behavior faithful to a driver’s intention”.
Furthermore, Lexus focused on technologies “that enhance convenience based on a human-centered approach seamlessly partnering with and supporting the driver”.
The new NX’s styling joins sharp edges with delicate curves to deliver a cleaner and more classy development of the model it replaces. Lexus Design general manager Koichi Suga says the NX design team sought “originality rooted in proportions … and simplicity rooted in technology” outside and in.
The NX’s body is 20mm longer and wider (for totals of 4660mm and 1865mm respectively), has a 5mm-lower roofline (1840mm) and rides on a 30mm-longer wheelbase (2690mm). There’s no word yet on whether the new NX is lighter or heavier than the model it replaces.
The expanded use of sound-absorbing materials in the structure is said to yield a 15 percent improvement in cabin quietness.
Lexus NX chief engineer Takeaki Kato revealed to CarAdvice that powerful improvement was a key focus during advancement. “We [pursued] the unique Lexus Driving Signature, where the pleasure of deceleration, steering, and acceleration seamlessly connect under various driving situations, and linear response is faithfully executed according to the driver’s intentions.
“In addition, in the new NX, we focused on drive force control and reviewed how the car moves to achieve a driving experience that delivers high traction, power, and confidence.”
The new NX rides on MacPherson strut front and double-wishbone rear suspension, with extraordinarily created shock absorbers claiming to improve damping force at low speeds. NX F Sport models will highlight Lexus’ Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) damping system which has various modes to prioritize comfort or sportiness.
The NX highlights Lexus’ first variable-ratio steering rack which is said to improve maneuverability at low speeds, and increment stability at higher speeds.
18-inch wheels will be standard on most models, while F Sport models will come standard with 20-inch wheels.
Inside, the Lexus NX’s cockpit debuts the organization’s “human-centered philosophy”, taking inspiration from the LF-30 concept uncovered in 2019. It’s here that the design mantra of “simplicity rooted in technology” is generally clear, particularly contrasted with the cluttered active model’s cockpit.
The dashboard, instrument binnacle, and center console are of much cleaner designs, topped by a new high-resolution 14-inch touchscreen that joins wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and ‘Hey Lexus’ voice activation. The unloved touchpad controller is no more.
The new steering wheel consolidates fast access buttons and gearshift paddles, and the door armrests have door release buttons rather than levers.
These door buttons give two upgrades. Firstly, opening the door is currently one outward push as opposed to pulling internal to release the latch then, at that point pushing outward. Besides, the doors consistently integrate with the NX’s blind-spot monitoring system’s Safe Exit feature to guarantee inhabitants can’t open doors into approaching vehicles or cyclists.
Other interior features incorporate a 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system, head-up display, multi-color ambient lighting system, and a digital instrument display.
Lexus’ Safety System Plus (LSS+) driver help suite is currently into its third generation, and advantages from an array of improvements.
The autonomous crisis braking system currently works at intersections, would now be able to get cross-traffic, motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians, and works over a wider distance. In the meantime, the Emergency Steering Assist feature now has more steering autonomy when it detects a higher risk of crash and at lower speeds.
The adaptive cruise control system has been improved to deal with converging into a new lane with more slow traffic, while Lexus additionally guarantees that Lane Tracing Assist is presently smoother in corners.
The Lexus NX will be offered in three appearances when it shows up in November – beginning with the NX250, powered by a 2.5-liter non-turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine driving the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Official power and torque figures have not been released, however, we’re expecting a similar 152kW and 243Nm according to the Camry and RAV4.
A non-turbocharged 2.0-liter, front-drive model with 125kW and 200Nm will be accessible in different markets, yet there are no plans to acquaint this model with Australia. “We feel the NX250 and its 2.5-liter engine fulfills the role of our entry-level model perfectly,” said a Lexus Australia representative.
The mid-level Lexus NX350 gets an all-new 2.4-liter turbocharged petrol engine including Lexus’ first center direct-injection system and the close placement of turbocharger and catalyst which is said to give high torque low-rpm. These highlights are claimed to help the new-generation engine meet progressively stringent emission and fuel economy standards.
Lexus is keeping power and torque figures down for launch, yet our data propose it will have 220kW and 440Nm.
The engine is mated with a recently grew electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system which fluctuates drive between the axles from 75:25 to 50:50 front-to-rear contingent upon the circumstance.
The flagship model at launch will be the NX350h hybrid, which consolidates a 2.5-liter petrol engine and Toyota’s E-Four electric all-wheel-drive system as seen on the RAV4, which can fluctuate drive from 100% front, to 20:80 front-to-rear.
Pricing for the 2022 Lexus NX range has not been released, a Lexus representative saying just that “we will announce pricing closer to the car’s on sale in November”. Almost certainly, the new features and equipment will drive costs up marginally over the current range.
The current NX range begins at $57,500 before on-street costs for the front-drive NX300 Luxury with a 175kW turbo-petrol engine and stretches to $79,088 before on-road for the NX300h Sports Luxury Hybrid AWD.
The first-generation Lexus NX was a triumph for the organization, with more than one million examples sold across 95 nations since it launched in 2014 – 22,237 of those in Australia to the end of April 2021.