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2022 Lexus NX: company’s first-ever PHEV

The second-gen NX crossover has 302bhp on tap coupled with sporty looks.

In 2014, Lexus launched the NX, based on the concept of “Premium Urban Sports Gear.” Since then, the luxury crossover has been well-received by customers for its agile driving performance and powerful design. As of the end of April 2021, the NX has sold a cumulative total of approximately 1 million units in more than 90 countries and regions to become a core global model for Lexus.

The new NX is the first model to introduce the next generation of Lexus and is based on the development concept of “Vital x Tech Gear.” This concept combines vital dynamism (Vital) with advanced technology (Tech). The new NX features improved linear response thanks to the strengthening of the car’s fundamentals, a design that attracts attention with athletic proportions, and many advanced, new technologies.

In addition, based on the “Lexus Electrified” vision, the new NX will be available as both HEV and―a Lexus first―PHEV, further accelerating the rollout of electrified vehicles. Lexus will also respond to the diversifying needs of customers by offering a wide lineup of powertrains, including models powered by 2.5L naturally-aspirated or 2.4L turbocharged engines, among others.

On the outside, the NX remains similar to the outgoing model, meaning it retains its sporty and compact SUV looks to set it apart from its German competition. The grille is similarly massive and is detailed by U-shaped blocks that help to create a 3D effect, complemented by L-shaped DRLs and available three-projector headlamps.

At the back, an all-new Lexus logo now replaces the L emblem that has been used for some time and uses a full-width blade rear combination taillight that links the new NX to other Lexus models like the latest IS. The racier F Sport trim gets you a unique grille, 20-inch gloss-black aluminum alloys, and a sportier interior.

Speaking of the interior, the cabin on the 2021 Lexus NX gets a major upgrade over the current model. Lexus says that the layout is distinctly driver-centered and this is evident in the way the center stack is angled towards the driver, but the Lexus Interface multimedia system is what is everyone talking about.

A 9.8-inch touchscreen is standard, but a 14-inch touchscreen is available as an option. A 10-inch HUD is also optional. Using sight, touch, or voice, drivers can manage several connectivity and entertainment functions. This system allows drivers to store and access individual profiles, employ services of a new Virtual Assistant, and with the larger screen, climate control controls are integrated into the lower section of the display.

The 2022 Lexus NX arrives with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, just like any other car would, with open-pore wood and soft-touch materials enhancing the luxury feel. An available Thematic Ambient Illumination system with themes like Sunset and Rain Forest is also on offer and Lexus promises greater head and legroom thanks to the use of the Lexus GA-K platform.

The NX adopts the latest preventive safety technologies, as well as advanced convenience technologies, as part of the luxury brand’s human-centered approach. The next-generation “Lexus Safety System +” delivers cutting-edge safety technology by seamlessly partnering with and supporting the driver at all times. The Lexus-first e-latch system electronically controls the latching and unlatching of doors – this combines a blind spot monitor to provide a “safe exit assist function (with control door opening), a world-first feature that helps to prevent accidents caused by door operation when the vehicle is stopped. Mind blown. All said and done, the driver-assistance features are high on the agenda.

Switching focus to power, the 2022 Lexus NX comes with a range of powertrains to suit different buyers – the NX 250 has a 2.5L, 4-cyl producing 203hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, available in FWD and AWD configurations. The NX 350 sports a 2.4L, turbocharged unit making 275hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. For maximum efficiency, two hybrid models can also be had – the NX 350h and NX 450h+ PHEV.

The former has a 2.5L, 4-cyl motor with a couple of high-torque electric drive motor-generators for a combined output of 239hp and an estimated 36 mpg. The top-of-the-line new PHEV variant of the Lexus NX offers a range of 36 miles on electric power alone from its new hybrid transaxle and 2.5L, 4-cyl unit, and is linked to a full-time AWD system. With an available 6.6kW charger onboard, one can charge the PHEV in 2.5 hours, although the time increases to 4.5 hours when connected to a standard charger.

“The development of the new NX was a series of new challenges for Lexus. We implemented “digital development” to ensure quality by evaluating the well-thought-out design structure under various conditions using computer models to check productivity. In terms of driving, professional racing drivers conducted an evaluation test drive at the Shimoyama test course to thoroughly train the car’s body structure and control the driving force to inherit and evolve the Lexus driving flavor”, Takeaki Kato, Chief Engineer, Lexus.

“The all-new Lexus NX sets a new standard in the luxury crossover market with class-leading innovations in electrified powertrains, infotainment, driving dynamics, styling, and safety,” said Vinay Shahani, VP, Marketing, Lexus.

Both, the PHEV and turbocharged NX models can be specced in F Sport guise, meaning you will get a bespoke exterior design, unique interior bits, and front/rear performance dampers among others. The pricing for the 2022 Lexus NX will be announced at a later date, but the luxury crossover is set to begin production in the third quarter of this year and has the recently-revealed 2022 BMW X3 in its direct sight.

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Chirag Khanna

I can look at the headlights of a car and can tell which car it is. I am an automobile and motorsports (specializes in F1) geek, for starters. For the main-course, I write.

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