New 2022 Lexus NX review

Rory White

01 Dec 2021

1/8
The Lexus NX premium family SUV has been completely revised for 2022. We've been driving one in the UK to see if it should be on your list of test drives.

YesAuto Score:

81/ 100

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car.

YesAuto’s exhaustive evaluation criteria considers every aspect of a car in terms of how it stacks up against rival models in the same class only. Below are the areas every car is judged and scored out of 10 on, each contributing to an overall score out of 100:

  • Interior quality and design
  • Interior tech
  • Interior space
  • Boot space
  • Engine performance
  • Engine economy
  • Ride and comfort
  • Handling
  • Driving and safety tech
  • Fit for purpose

Electric cars are scored out of 10 in the following areas instead of performance and economy:

  • Battery and motor
  • Range and charging

PROS:

+ Genuinely efficient engines

+ High-quality interior

+ Much improved infotainment


CONS:

- Rear legroom

- Rivals more fun to drive

- Not everybody wants a hybrid


Verdict: The Lexus NX is a night-and-day improvement. It's relaxing to drive, has a high-quality interior and a much-improved infotainment system. There are more spacious family SUVs, mind.


2022 Lexus NX review: the five-minute read


The best-selling Lexus NX has been given a complete overhaul for 2022, emerging as a sharply-styled hybrid-only premium five-seat SUV that still does battle with cars like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC.


It was never a dull car to look at before, but it's even easier on the eye now. Lexus' trademark big grille and piercing headlights are joined by butch wheel arches and a new rear lightbar and taillight design. As with other Lexus models, the moodiest look comes with F Sport trim, while Takumi models dial up the plush with more exterior chrome trim.


There has been an even more dramatic overhaul inside, where the NX feels decidedly more upmarket and high-tech. The materials and switchgear look and feel great, and the extremely solid build is typical Lexus too. All-told, the NX easily rivals the Germans for quality, especially in its pricier trim levels.



Gone is the old system with its frustrating trackpad operation, replaced by two sizes of touchscreen angled towards the driver – 9.8 or 14 inches large.


So far we've experienced the larger 14-inch system, which is extremely bright and crisp to look at, responds extremely quickly to touch and swipe and it's very easy to navigate its various menus. If you don't like the menus, you can always swap to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto instead.


There are more spacious options than the Lexus NX. There's no issue with space in the front, but legroom in the back isn't as generous for adults as a Q5's, X3's or GLCs, let alone slightly less premium options like the Skoda Kodiaq. Still, the NX's boot is comparable in size to the Germans'.


Audi, BMW and Mercedes all offer a hybrid option for their family SUVs, but Lexus has committed to hybrid tech full stop. There's a 350h which charges itself as it drives or a plug-in hybrid 450h which has a larger battery on board that can be charged via a plug. Both, though, are all-wheel-drive.



The way the NX drives is very positive. It's really comfortable over bumps, quiet even at speed and when its engine is running and is a very easy car to see out of, steer and hence park in town.


Plus, every NX comes with a long list of safety equipment as standard, including a brilliant adaptive cruise control and lane-keep system which makes long motorway journeys genuinely more relaxing. That said, while there's bags of grip from the NX's all-wheel-drive and it steers precisely, a BMW X3 certainly feels a more eager car on a country road.


The Lexus NX is a much-improved car then. It feels premium, high tech inside and comfy and quiet to drive. You also get the peace of mind that Lexus constantly tops the charts for dealership experience, plus has one of the best reliability records in the UK.


Consider that, if you don't like or want hybrid power then you aren't catered for here, and there are more fun family SUVs to drive. The NX is tighter in the back for adults than most too. But if none of that matters, the Lexus NX is well worth investigating.


Extended read…



2022 Lexus NX interior and infotainment


There has been an even more dramatic overhaul inside, where the NX feels decidedly more upmarket and high-tech. The materials and switchgear look and feel great, and the extremely solid build is typical Lexus too. All-told, the NX easily rivals the Germans for quality, especially in its pricier trim levels.


Helping further is the fact that Lexus has swapped the old NX's traditional door handles for an electronic latch system. You can open the doors with one button click outside and in, which with its silent operation feels much more modern.


Also much more modern and high-tech is the NX's infotainment system. Gone is the old system with its frustrating trackpad operation, replaced by two sizes of touchscreen angled towards the driver – 9.8 or 14 inches large.


Lexus reckons the lesser system is twice as fast as the NX's old one, and the 14-inch screen system nearly four times. The lesser system gets more physical controls for the climate controls, whereas the larger one is part physical, partly operated by touch.


So far we've experienced the larger 14-inch system, which is extremely bright and crisp to look at, responds extremely quickly to touch and swipe and it's very easy to navigate its various menus. If you don't like the menus, you can always swap to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto instead.


Less impressive are Lexus's driver's dials, which are only part digital and not particularly configurable. Audi, BMW and Mercedes all do this better.



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2022 Lexus NX practicality and boot space


There are more spacious options than the Lexus NX. There's no issue with space in the front, but legroom in the back isn't as generous for adults as a Q5's, X3's or GLCs, let alone slightly less premium options like The Skoda Kodiaq.


Still, the NX's boot is comparable in size to the Germans', a sensible shape and its rear seats split in a 60/40 configuration and fold almost flat to open up the space for bulkier loads.


There's a decent amount of storage inside the NX's cabin for storing your bits and bobs too. There's a large cubby beneath the front armrest, the NX's door bins front and back are big enough to take a medium water bottle and the glovebox is bigger than the average.


2022 Lexus NX engine, gearbox, battery and motor


Audi, BMW and Mercedes all offer a hybrid option for their family SUVs, but Lexus has committed to hybrid tech full stop. There's a 350h which charges itself as it drives or a plug-in hybrid 450h which has a larger battery on board that can be charged via a plug. Both, though, are all-wheel-drive.


The 350h is no slouch, with a combined engine and motor punch of 244hp and 0-62mph in just 7.7 seconds, yet also 47mpg is possible. We drove the even faster 309hp 450h, which gets to 62mph in a hot-hatch quick 6.3 seconds and can return even better fuel economy depending on how much electric driving you do on a journey.


On the note, Lexus's official figures say 43 miles of electric range is possible on a full charge and we managed 40. We also managed 45mpg when that battery had 'gone', thanks to Lexus's hybrid wizardry keeping enough battery in reserve to ensure decent periods of electric movement.


You're able to lock the NX in EV mode, hold its battery for later or charge the battery using the engine on the go too.


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2022 Lexus NX driving


Amongst other PHEV SUVs these fuel economy figures are impressive, and the way the NX drives is also very positive. It's really comfortable over bumps, quiet even at speed and when its engine is running and is a very easy car to see out of, steer and hence park in town.


Plus, every NX comes with a long list of safety equipment as standard, including a brilliant adaptive cruise control and lane-keep system which makes long motorway journeys genuinely more relaxing.


That said, while there's bags of grip from the NX's all-wheel-drive and it steers precisely, a BMW X3 certainly feels a more eager car on a country road. No family SUV will rival a sports car, sure, but the X3 will put a bigger smile on your face should that be important. Which, let's be honest, will be the vast minority of family SUV buyers.


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Rory White

01 Dec 2021