New & Used Lexus NX: In Depth
2015 Lexus NX 300hEnlarge Photo
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The Lexus NX is an all-new member of the quickly growing lineup of compact luxury crossover utility models. It's the luxury brand's first smaller crossover, as well as its first model ever to feature a turbocharged engine.
At around 183 inches long, with a wheelbase of more than 106 inches, the 2015 NX models are sized right in the middle of the luxury crossover segment that might be considered mid-size in Europe but compact here in the U.S. It's right in line with an already crowded field, including the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Audi Q5, Acura RDX, Volvo XC60, Cadillac SRX, and BMW X3. And the NX might be seen in the market as a somewhat sportier, more versatile alternative to the brand's ES sedan family.
The NX lineup for the U.S. will include three models: the NX 200, NX 200t (turbocharged), and NX 300h (hybrid). Engine-output numbers, as well as many other details for fuel economy, are still under wraps; but we expect that the turbocharged model will deliver its power through a new performance continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with steering-wheel paddle-shifters and a dedicated sport mode. An NX 200t F Sport model is also in the works, with a sportier, unique look inside and out, and we can assume that most of the model lineup will be offered with a choice between front- and all-wheel drive.
With an especially bold version of the Lexus spindle grille; squinty, angular headlamp units, and arrow-like sets of running lamps accenting below; and truly aggressive sculpting for the front airdam and side sheetmetal; the NX makes a strong, almost menacing impression from the front. The NX holds its sharp, chiseled, muscled look from the side, with its swoopy roofline combined with punctuated wheel wells, but at the rear it's at its smoothest and most ordinary, with a clear family resemblance to the larger Lexus RX.
Inside, the NX definitely follows a sportier, more cockpit-like layout and aesthetic than the RX. With lots of metallic accents, contrasting with darker, softer materials, large, round gauges, the look is like that of a sport sedan, only oriented a little higher and taller. The sport seats do have a rather low hip point compared to other crossovers though, Lexus notes, which should give it a connected feeling during spirited driving (helping to increase headroom), and the decent rear seating space and long, low cargo area reveals its practical, RAV4 roots.
The 2015 Lexus NX, which will start below the $35,000 mark, will be the first Lexus to offer wireless charging for mobile phones, and it marks the debut of a new generation of the Lexus Remote Touch interface—this one featuring a touch pad, haptic feedback, and scratchpad-like capabilities that let you trace letters (such as what you might have seen on some Audi or Mercedes-Benz models). Enhanced gauges offer a G sensor and turbo-boost meter (on 200t models), while active-safety features include All-speed dynamic cruise control and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert. A head-up display is also on offer.