The new Lexus NX combines modern luxury with plug-in hybrid power
The new NX plug-in hybrid is a very easy-going, hushed and refined car, and outstrips the company’s first all-electric vehicle.
People often complain about the auto industry’s tendency to imitate, noting that certain styling cues are spreading through brands like Japanese Knotweed. However, it is impossible to confuse the new Lexus NX with another brand.
The shock of newness is a hard thing to bear. Consider Lexus. Once upon a time, the company’s forward-thinking design direction was considered cutting-edge by some (and awkward by others). Regardless of your outlook, it was definitely different. Take a look at the manufacturer’s lineup today, and there’s a slight sense of deja vu.
Generally speaking, Lexus makes sedans (ES and LS), sports cars (RC and LC) and SUVs (UX, NX and RX). This final trio comes in small, medium, and large, but there’s not a lot of design diversity.
All have the gaping Lexus grille, flanked by jagged slits of air vents and headlights, and body surfaces constantly disturbed from nose to tail by creases, creases and crimps that some have compared to origami. automobile.
While origami implies a certain serenity and concentration, the current Lexus aesthetic is one of restlessness and distraction. It is very far from the studied and sober luxury of the first models of the brand, far from the 1990s.
Today, Lexus builds automotive statements, cars that stand out in identical environments like golf club parking lots and offer more character than the ‘conventional’ choices offered by German premium brands. The problem is that everyone is making statements now. “Bold design” is an important motto in sectors where the traditional signifiers of status – performance, speed, noise – mean less and less.
The new version of the NX continues the company’s long tradition of building hybrids. Surprisingly, given its track record, the NX450h+ is Lexus’ first-ever plug-in hybrid; the company doesn’t even have an all-electric car yet (although that will change soon).
The new NX is a sophisticated machine with some major improvements over its predecessor. The first is that plug-in hybrid system, which is good for a 40-mile electric range and the ability to self-recharge using the combustion engine.
The second is a new infotainment system that does away with the annoying mouse-like device Lexus used to drive its displays. The NX has a mix of touchscreen and conventional dials, and it only gets better.
One thing the company has always excelled at is the breadth of standard options – there’s hardly anything extra to specify, even if you wanted to. Contrast that with the mercenary practices of competitors, whose option lists are long and expensive. As a result, the cabin is a great place to be, with an extra battery-generated zip, and a range of suitably different riding modes easily accessible from a dedicated dial.
The attention to detail is superb, as is the build quality – the company has a well-deserved reputation for the long-term reliability of every mechanical switch and electronic system.
The NX is a very easygoing, hushed and refined car, with excellent seats, plenty of space and relaxed dynamics that don’t rush you.
Your own preferences will dictate whether or not this is an easy-on-the-eyes car, but while it doesn’t really have a single wide angle, the overall shape is cohesive and cohesive ‘Lexus’.
The next Lexus RZ 450e EV
And then ? The next Lexus RZ will be the brand’s first battery-electric vehicle. Expected in late fall 2022, the RZ has a lot going for it, given how well Lexus has done to pair the hybrid with hushed, efficient and reliable luxury. The RZ shares a platform with Toyota’s upcoming BZ4X, and a comparison of the two will be a useful insight into the art of creating ‘premium’ experiences from the same raw material.
Further down the line is the stunning Lexus Electrified Sport Concept, a preview of a next-generation sports EV potential, a modern equivalent of the famous LFA model built a decade ago. Electrification will give this experienced company another way to shine. §