The 2015 Lexus NX comes in three trim levels, as well as offering a substantial list of optional features and electronic systems. The basic NX 200t comes standard with LED taillights, front running lights, and LED low beams (its high beams are halogen bulbs). Full LED high and low beams are optional.
Footwell lighting is standard, and the dome and map lights are activated by touch switches in the headliner, though Lexus has wisely kept them off the console. Also standard are heated side mirrors, LED illumination for the door handles, a smart key, and 17-inch 10-spoke aluminum alloy wheels. Inside, the power adjustable driver's seat adjusts in 10 ways, and the front passenger seat in eight. The 60/40 split rear seat reclines and folds down, and includes a center arm rest with cup holders.
Three different trim levels will be offered: Base, Comfort, and Premium. All three use seat upholstery with smooth bolsters and perforated inserts, combined with Dark Umber trim; the Luxury package includes leather upholstery and mocha wood trim.
The NX 200t F-Sport is distinguished by its black mesh grille, which is visually much bolder than the chrome slats on the standard NX. The F-Sport adds a number of other trim features, including metallic bumper moldings, black side mirrors, two choices of 18-inch wheels, distinctive cabin fittings, and well-bolstered sport seats with black or red upholstery and accent piping. The pedals and footrest are drilled aluminum--just like those on race cars in which every ounce of extraneous weight must be removed--a stylish if superfluous feature. The F-Sport also includes Active Sound Control, which lets the driver boost the engine note heard inside the cabin via a roller switch on the console.
If Lexus follows form, the hybrid NX 300h is likely to be the most expensive member of the trio. It includes standard LED headlamps and adaptive LED fog lamps that also light up to illuminate the road around a corner when the turn signal is switched on. Aside from a few chrome badges on the doors and tailgate, the hybrid 300h is visually indistinguishable from the regular turbo 200t.
Available options include a power folding 60/40 rear seat, which also reclines--a Lexus first--and a power liftgate. The standard Display Audio system features HD Radio, Bluetooth pairing, free traffic and weather data, and a caching feature that lets listeners temporarily pause and store a song or news broadcast for up to 15 minutes. The optional Premium Audio system combines digital signal processing for better high notes with an eight-channel amplifier, playing through eight speakers. A further option is a pair of additional speakers, one in the central dash and a subwoofer in the tailgate.
A Navigation system with the Lexus Enform information service is also optional, displayed on a 7-inch touchscreen also used for multimedia functions. Its predictive traffic information includes up-to-the-hour detours, ETA calculation, and fuel-station mapping when the low-fuel alert comes on. It also adds a second USB port. One multimedia offering is the Siri Eyes-Free Mode, compatible with Apple iPhone 4S and later models.
Lexus has redesigned its input system for the navigation and multimedia functions. The previous joystick has been replaced with a Remote Touch Interface operated via a touchpad in the center console. Drivers can, theoretically, access functions by moving a cursor using only their finger, though we didn't find it notably less distracting than the previous method. Front passengers can also operate the interface, which proved the best method.
A whole suite of electronic safety systems is available, including radar-based adaptive cruise control, a Pre-Collision system that warns the driver of impending objects ahead and can brake to a stop automatically from 37 mph or less, a lane-departure warning system, and smart headlights that dim automatically when they sense oncoming vehicles.
Finally, Lexus has offered a genuinely new feature on the NX: a Qi wireless charging tray to recharge smartphones and other devices fitted with the appropriate hardware. It's unclear how many new devices will offer this capability, but it definitely reduces the clutter of USB cables and 12-Volt adapters.
Specific pricing, trim levels, and optional features for the 2015 Lexus NX will be released closer to its on-sale date at the end of 2014.