New lines and details on the redesigned NX invite a lot of exploration.
To a photographer, certain things stand out immediately when looking at a car for the first time. So it was fun to explore the 2022 Lexus NX, which has been redesigned for more elegance and more sustainability. The NX 450h+ AWD plug-in hybrid we drove is the model’s most fuel efficient. It can be charged for an all-electric range of about 37 miles and then is expected to get about 36 MPG from the gas engine. How about the best of both worlds?
But that’s just the start of what’s interesting. The longer and wider exterior makes this compact SUV quite attractive. The color of our test model is Redline, and photos don’t do it justice. It is one of the most gorgeous reds that the auto industry makes. In bright sunlight or shade, it’s a color that looks sharp, even if it appears a little more cool or warm because of the varied light.
The more graphic, new grille is sharp and immediately stood out to me.
The way the Lexus name is stretched out as part of a new rear design appealed to me. It joins L-shaped lamps on the fenders with a full-width constant illumination lamp that draws attention to the logo at night.
Inside, new features are a nod to the future and refined design, including:
The gear selector with its push-button park mode.
The door handles are different and may immediately be a small learning curve for owners, but once you get the hang of it, they’re very cool. They’re essentially a two-in-one motion, both opening and closing the doors as well as locking and unlocking them.
The media screen is angled toward the driver to help keep your focus on driving, and it introduces a fresh start for Lexus in-car tech. It has a 14-inch touchscreen display and turn-style knobs, embedded below the display for the driver and passenger, with mini screens inside the knobs that display the temperature as a setting is dialed up or down.
The driver information screen behind the contoured-to-your-hands steering wheel is in addition to the head up display:
A look at the interior space and how it’s laid out over the passenger area and trunk.
Lexus says this is their most advanced NX ever, and it shows. I’ve driven other NX models and always enjoyed the way they drove. This one stays true to that ethos while adding the feel-good plug-in hybrid element and upgraded tech that makes this model feel special.
This NX drives and handles like a compact or sports car, yet it has enough room for kids in carseats, bringing home the latest antique find, or being the designated driver for a night out with adult friends who will have plenty of legroom.
Bottom line: There may be a few aspects of this vehicle that still need to be refined. And since the model I test drove with my friend was a pre-production, these photos may not reflect the final model for sale. But they’re onto something. As a longtime test driver of Lexus vehicles, I’m so glad to see them getting serious about a plug-in hybrid. Comfortably hugging the road nicely around dramatic curves made it fun to drive and yet it also made me feel better because it’s a hybrid.
Disclosure: Lexus provided the 2022 NX for this test drive; all opinions are my own.