> Second generation of Lexus NX crossover revealed
> Mild design update
> New infotainment system
> New plug-in hybrid engine with 39-mile electric range
> Prices starting at £38,300 for self-charging hybrid
The Lexus NX has always been an eye-catching car known for its futuristic design, which is probably why the designers haven’t had to do much to keep this new generation looking fresh.
Although the changes appear on the surface to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, the front and rear track have been widened to give the car a more planted and muscular stance, a look emphasised by the flared wheel arches.
Overall the NX has grown in length by 20mm and has been made wider by 20mm. It’s also a tiny bit taller.
At the front the changes are minimal: the headlights have been slightly softened but they still flank that signature Lexus spindle grille. The tweaks are more significant at the back, which now sports a light bar that extends the width of the car, and the logo has been replaced by the word ‘Lexus’ on the tailgate.
The rear bumper has grown and looks altogether more aggressive, housing large vents behind each wheel and two massive (fake) exhaust pipes.
The exterior designers might not have had much to do, but whoever is in charge of the new NX interior has been working overtime. The cabin has been given a huge overhaul and has, apparently, been engineered to help keep the driver’s eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel as much as possible.
The steering wheel now features ‘touch-tracer’ switches which can be customised to control various different things, depending on the driver’s preference. Being flat and touch-sensitive (and probably easy to press by mistake) the digital driver display indicates when the driver’s hands are on the switches so they don’t need to take their eyes away from the road.
The front of the cabin is moulded around the driver to create a cockpit effect, with all controls within easy reach. Not that there are a lot of buttons to press mind you – the word ‘minimalist’ comes to mind. The only physical controls are found on the piano-black driver console which features a new gear selector and a drive mode switch.
One quirky feature is the e-latch door release system which replaces the traditional door handle with a button. A bit gimmicky? Perhaps.
The big news is the introduction of a brand new 9.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system paired with a 14-inch digital driver display. The system features the ‘Hey Lexus’ voice activation system and wireless smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay. Lexus promises its wireless phone charging dock is 50% quicker than before.
Using the Lexus Link app owners can open and lock the car remotely, pre-programme the climate control and check the remaining range on hybrid models.
The outgoing NX is already one of the roomier cars in the crossover segment but this new generation should be even bigger, having grown in length and width. The wheelbase has also been stretched by 30mm which should add more legroom.
Lexus has not revealed any official data on boot space, but we expect it to have grown slightly from the current car’s 475-litres. It should make it more competitive with cars like the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, which both have 550-litres.
This is a Lexus, so of course there is plenty of hybrid action going on when it comes to engines, but for the first time the NX is available as a plug-in hybrid. In fact, it’s the first PHEV Lexus has ever made.
The NX 450h+ uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine paired with an 18.1kWh battery and electric motor on the rear axle, with the engine powering the front. Knocking out 300bhp, Lexus says it ‘expects’ it to cover 0-62mph in just over six seconds. On battery-only, the NX 450+ will cover 39 miles, which is more than enough for most daily commutes.
Below the NX 450h+ sits the NX 350h which is the traditional self-charging hybrid we all know and love, using the same 2.5-litre petrol engine except it’s 22% more powerful than before, producing 240bhp and covering 0-62mph in 7.7-seconds. Customers can opt for rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Those are the only two engines available in the UK but Russia and Eastern Europe will get two non-hybrid petrol engines to choose from.
In Lexus tradition the new NX will come with a CVT gearbox, which won’t be good news to a lot of people.
The new NX is available to pre order now with first deliveries expected early next year. Prices for the NX 350h self charging hybrid model start at £38,300 for the entry NX trim but go as high as £51,800 for top level Takumi trim. For the NX 450h+ prices start at £48,800 and rise to £59,300 for the top models.