Lexus has revealed a new mid-size luxury SUV it says offers a new design direction, new powertrains (including its first plug-in hybrid), next generation multimedia and connectivity, a dynamic driving experience, and the latest technology in safety, comfort and convenience.
The all-new Lexus NX is getting quite the introduction.
The outgoing model has been very successful for Lexus, with more than 170,000 on the road since it first appeared in 2014. In the UK, it has been the best-selling Lexus model for the past six years, and most sales have been to customers new to Lexus, making it a key contributor to the brand’s growth in Europe. It’s quite important this new model ticks all the necessary boxes then.
The new NX marks a significant change of design. The slightly quirky styling now has a more dynamic and muscular character. Overall length has increased by 20mm, the wheelbase by 30mm, the width by 20mm and the height by 5mm. All of which can be summed up with one word: spacious.
Wider front and rear ends contribute to the more powerful look, with a long, sleek bonnet, short overhangs and wheel arches that can accommodate up to 20-inch wheels. At the rear the distinctive new features include blade lighting that spans the width of the tailgate, and the first use of the “LEXUS” name that replaces the old “L” badge.
The NX is the first model to feature the new Lexus Tazuna cockpit design. A Japanese word describing a rider’s use of the reins to control a horse, it follows the principle of “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road.” In reality that means the cockpit space curves round from the driver’s door to the centre console, with information sources – multimedia screen, information display, head-up display, and so on – grouped together so they can be read with minimal eye and head movement. Controls such as the starter button, gear shift lever, air conditioning controls and drive mode selector are set on the same level, so everything is simple and intuitive to operate.
The latest NX also features a completely new multimedia platform for fast, intuitive on-board connectivity. It introduces smart services, including a cloud-based navigation system, that provides real-time journey information and traffic updates. The standard system uses a 9.8-inch display with an anti-glare touchscreen and additional buttons for access to the most frequently used functions. On high grade models, the Lexus Link Pro system features a 14-inch, high-definition display that boasts clear graphics in all lighting conditions.
Lexus has drawn on more than 15 years of hybrid electric technology expertise to produce its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), the range topping NX 450h+. It features a four-cylinder 2.5-litre hybrid engine and a rechargeable 18.1kWh lithium-ion battery. An additional rear electric motor also adds all-wheel drive. The system produces just over 300bhp for a 0-60 time around 6 seconds. More importantly though, are the 40-mile electric-only range, and the 94mpg return.
There’s also a clever trick that maintains high efficiency even when the battery is depleted. In most hybrid models, when the battery is empty, they default to the internal combustion engine. The Lexus NX 450h+ instead switches to an efficient self-charging hybrid system that is expected to be as much as 20 per cent more efficient than its rivals.
The new NX is also the first Lexus model to feature the third generation of the company’s Safety System+, a comprehensive package of active safety and driver assistance features.
The improvements introduced with the new NX include updates to the Pre-Collision System’s capabilities so that motorcycles and some solid objects in the car’s path, such as trees, walls and utility poles, can be detected. It also gains a new function that identifies collision risks with oncoming traffic or crossing pedestrians when making a turn at a junction. Changes have also been made to the Adaptive Cruise Control so that it recognises traffic cutting in ahead of you more quickly and, in conjunction with upgrades to the Lane Trace Assist, follows a more natural line through bends.
In terms of boxes, the new Lexus NX ticks a lot of them. Stylish, comfortable, roomy, well equipped, efficient and economical. What more could you possibly want from your car? Apart from not having to wait until the end of the year before you can drive one away.
The new Lexus NX will be launched in the UK during the last quarter of 2021 so we don’t have all the details of model range and specifications yet, but if your car lease is due for renewal in a few months’ time, the Lexus NX might be exactly what you’re waiting for.
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