Lexus NX moves into 2nd generation for 2022, adds turbo F Sport version
Other models in the lineup include the LX 350 standard gasoline model with the same 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the F Sport, as well as the NX 350h hybrid, and the NX 450h, the first plug-in hybrid version of the brand.
Entering their second generation for 2022, these five-passenger luxury crossovers essentially are fancier versions of the Toyota RAV4. The NX is an impressive vehicle, taking the already well-designed Toyota cousin up a few notches in styling, luxury and technology.
Lexus says the new NX has been redesigned from the inside out, with “every exterior surface … reimagined.”
The new signature spindle grille with an exaggerated U-shaped frame might be the most-notable feature, and might also take some getting used to. At the rear is new Lexus “block” badging and a full-width taillight.
Prices for the NX begin at $39,025 (plus $1,075 freight) for the base NX 250 front-wheel-drive gasoline-only model, and range as high as $57,975 for the NX450h F Sport plug-in hybrid version.
The lowest-priced hybrid model, which does not include the plug-in option, is the NX 350h ($42,125). The highest-priced regular gasoline model (not F Sport) is the NX 350 Luxury ($50,075).
Our tester for this report was the NX 350 F Sport gasoline-only model ($46,650).
The F Sport is defined by certain physical characteristics, including unique design cues and not-so-visible sport-handling upgrades. Among those are the Active Variable Suspension and front and rear performance dampers.
Exclusive to the F Sport are such visible features as Dark Graphite Aluminum ornamentation, a unique meter, bolstered sport seats, a newly developed steering wheel, aluminum pedals and scuff plates.
It also comes with perforated interior trim in Black and Circuit Red NuLuxe (faux leather), included on the seats, steering wheel and center console.
Outside are the special F Sport grille, new front and rear bumpers, 20-inch gloss-black aluminum wheels framed by color-keyed over-fenders, black roof rails, and daylight-opening window framing.
Exclusive F Sport exterior colors include Ultra White, Obsidian, and Ultrasonic Blue. Our tester came in the bright Redline color.
The F Sport Luxury Package ($2,200), included on our tester, brings a 14-inch infotainment touch screen, unique headlights, special ambient interior illumination, power rear hatch with kick sensor, intelligent parking assist, and ventilated front seats..
With the redesign, dimensions have been changed as well. The new NX is longer, wider and taller than the previous model, and has more 14% more cargo space even with the second-row seatback up.
Gross vehicle weight has been reduced by 170 pounds on the NX 350 and more than 210 lbs. on the NX 350h.
Extended-range run-flat tires eliminate the need for a spare tire, Lexus says, reducing weight while creating more space for under-deck storage. Of course, that only works if the tire doesn’t blow out.
Inside, the NX is well-designed, with apparent careful attention to detail – a usual attribute for Lexus. We were initially confused about how to open the doors from the inside, however, as the handles are hidden inside slots in the sides of the door armrests. It took a few moments to figure out where the handle was the first time I was ready to exit the driver’s seat, as no one had shown me that feature.
The front bucket seats also had noticeable side bolsters, in keeping with the sporty mission of this particular model. Some people will like those; but some won’t appreciate having to slide over the bolsters while getting into or out of the seat.
Even the sportiest of the NX models gave us a quiet ride, thanks to extensive noise-damping materials.
Another common Lexus attribute is also in evidence: the use of advanced technology, especially in safety and infotainment features.
Passengers will appreciate the intuitive features of the Lexus Interface, including wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, Voice Assistant, cloud-navigation capability with Google Points of Interest, over-the-air updates, and the available Digital Key.
The new U.S.-developed multimedia system includes a standard 9.8-inch, optically bonded touch screen. A new Human Machine Interface enhances user interaction through sight, touch and voice, Lexus says.
NX’s User Profile feature allows the driver’s personalized settings to be kept in the cloud and accessed on the go in other Lexus Interface-equipped vehicles. Once a profile is created in the Lexus App, guests can use a Bluetooth handheld device, smart key or manual login to access it, Lexus says.
Voice Assistant is available through voice activation or by touching a button on the steering wheel. It includes dual microphones, enhanced noise-cancellation, seat-detection and speaker-location capabilities. It includes access to media, phone and vehicle settings such as climate control.
The NX 350 F Sport has electronically controlled all-wheel drive that determines the best front and rear torque-distribution settings according to the driving conditions.
We had excellent response and plenty of power from the 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which, with its 317 foot-pounds of torque can propel the NX 350 from zero to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, using the efficient eight-speed automatic transmission.
EPA ratings for our NX 350 F Sport were an estimated 22 mpg city/28 highway/25 combined.
Standard, of course, is the Lexus Safety System, with new features such as Curve Speed Management and Intersection Support. Other features include Risk Avoidance Emergency Steer Assist; Left Turn Oncoming Vehicle Detection/Braking; Right/Left Turn Oncoming Pedestrian Detection/Braking, which includes monitoring for cyclists; and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which also controls speed in curves.
Other items in the Lexus Safety System include Road Sign Assist, displaying speed limits on the instrument panel or in the Head-Up Display; the Pre-Collision System;Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist; and Intelligent High Beams.
The standard Digital Latch and Safe Exit Assist protects passengers from exiting the car when other vehicles or bicycles are approaching from the rear. And the new, optional Digital Mirror provides a clear view of obstacles behind the vehicle.
Our tester came with the optional panoramic moon roof ($1,600), with front and rear panels that open with the touch of a button. This gives the entire passenger area an open and airy feel.
Other extras on our vehicle included the Cold Area Package ($250); triple-beam headlights with washers and cornering lights ($850); Mark Levinson 17-speaker premium audio system ($1,020); Panoramic View Monitor with Lane Change Assist and Front Cross-Traffic Alert ($1,070); 2,000-pound towing package ($160); and Smartphone Convenience Package with Digital Key and Wireless Charger ($450).
Total sticker price for our 2022 NX 350 F Sport with options and freight was $55,325.
The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Express-News since 2000. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @gchambers3.
2022 Lexus NX 350 F Sport
The package: Compact, all-wheel-drive, four-door, five-passenger, gasoline-powered, premium crossover utility vehicle with sport upgrades.Highlights: Added to the new second-generation NX lineup for 2022 is the NX 350 gasoline model with the F Sport handling-performance upgrades.Negatives: Can get pricey with all of the options.Overall length:183.5 inches.Curb weight: 4,035 pounds.Engine: 2.4-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder (gasoline).Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.Power/torque: 275 HP./317 foot-pounds.Brakes, front/rear:Disc/disc, antilock.Cargo volume: 22.7 cubic feet (behind rear seat); 46.9 cubic feet (rear seat folded).Towing capacity:2,000 pounds (with optional towing package, $160).Electronic stability control:Standard.Side air bags: Front seat-mounted, both rows; side-curtain, both rows.EPA fuel economy: 22 mpg city/28 highway/25 combined.Fuel capacity/type: 14.3 gallons/unleaded premium required.Base price: $46,650, plus $1,075 freight.Price as tested:$55,325, including freight and options.On the Road rating: 8.5 (of a possible 10).
Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.