Family SUVs (D segment) are a promising segment for premium brands. The competition is therefore fierce, with Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC and BMW X3 taking a large part of the market. Lexus, however, managed to find its way with the first generation of its NX, which appeared in 2014, with a successful hybrid engine as a major argument.
At first glance, it almost looks like a facelift, but Lexus does present a whole new generation of NX. The recipe does not change and we find a muscular and a little tortured design, which will not necessarily be unanimous. Its dimensions are changing very slightly, with a total length now reaching 4.66 m.
A technological leap
The change is more obvious inside with a deliberately more modern presentation. The number of buttons is down and the NX now uses a large 14 ”central touch screen, depending on the version, in the center of its dashboard.
This screen is based on a brand new Lexus Link Pro interface, with a “Hey Lexus” voice assistant. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay in wireless version and with Android Auto, but only in wired version. Four USB ports are integrated into the cabin (two in the front and two in the rear), including three USB-C sockets and one USB-A socket. A wireless charger is also available as an option.
Finally, the Lexus Link companion application allows the car to be locked and unlocked remotely, the activation of the air conditioning or heating, or even the planning of recharging for the plug-in hybrid version.
In terms of driving aids, the Lexus NX inaugurates the third generation of the manufacturer’s technologies, grouped under the Lexus Safety System + label. This range includes in particular an adaptive cruise control, capable of centering the NX in its lane in order to benefit from a level 2 autonomous driving system. As an option, it will be possible to opt for the Extended Safety Package, which allows to change lanes automatically when the flashing light is activated and adds a cross-traffic alert system. Finally, the doors of the new NX are electronically opened, in order to warn of the presence of an approaching vehicle or cyclist, or even to block the opening of the door to avoid a collision.
Lexus’ first plug-in hybrid model
The second generation Lexus NX offers two powertrains. The first, called 350h, is a classic hybrid engine (full hybrid, or HEV) of 242 hp, available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. For the first time, Lexus is also offering a plug-in hybrid version (plug-in hybrid, or PHEV) with the NX 450h +. This engine is already known in the Toyota group since it equips the RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid. Like its cousin, the Lexus NX 450h + is based on the GA-K platform and employs a 2.5L Atkinson cycle four-cylinder petrol engine that powers its front end, in addition to a first electric motor, while a second electric motor is positioned on its rear axle. It is therefore an all-wheel drive version, which benefits from a maximum cumulative power of 306 hp.
The battery, with a generous capacity of 18 kWh, is integrated into the floor of the NX 450h +, whose electric range is announced at 63 km. As a result, this layout has no impact on the boot volume (555 l) or that of the fuel tank (55 l), both identical to the hybrid version.
We had already been able to try this plug-in hybrid powertrain under the hood of the Suzuki Across, which is none other than a clone of the Toyota RAV4. It made a strong impression on us, in particular thanks to a controlled discharged battery consumption of around 7 l / 100 km.
Lexus is therefore entering the plug-in hybrid market, which is particularly popular with premium brands, with advanced technology. Remember that the manufacturer also launched its first electric car, the UX 300e compact SUV, but this time with a much less flattering technical sheet.
The second-generation Lexus NX will be available in the last quarter of 2021. Pricing is not yet known.