Pointing My Lens at the Lexus NX 450h+ Plug-In Hybrid

The Lexus Nx Feartured Photo

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.

Related: The Lexus NX Just Got An Amazing Makeover, Making it the Lexus to Drool Over

The Rear Tail Gate Of The 2022 Lexus Nx. Photo: Kirsten Alana

The rear tail gate of the 2022 Lexus NX. Photo: Kirsten Alana

The more graphic, new grille is sharp and immediately stood out to me.

The New Front Grille Has A Slightly Less Pronounced Look To It But Is Stil All Lexus. Photo: Kirsten Alana

The new front grille maintains the distinct look of Lexus. Photo: Kirsten Alana

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.

Related: The 2022 Lexus LX 600 is Almost Here and This is What We’re Giddy About

The Lexus Name Is Spelled Out Across The Tailgate, Which Gives It A Modern Look

The Lexus name is spelled out across the tailgate, which gives it a modern look. Photo: Kirsten Alana

Inside, new features are a nod to the future and refined design, including:

The gear selector with its push-button park mode.

The Park Button Lexus Nx Sits Next To The Gear Selector. Photo: Kirsten Alana

The park button Lexus NX sits next to the gear selector. Photo: Kirsten Alana

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.

Interior Door Function In The Lexus Nx The Handle

Interior door function in the Lexus NX: The handle, which when touched opens the door; it also has a mechanical function if the car’s battery dies. Photo: Kirsten Alana

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.

Related: With Lexus Teammate, Hands-Free Driving Is a(n Occasional) Reality

The Information Screen In The Lexus Nx Is Angled Toward The Driver. Photo: Kirsten Alana

The information screen in the Lexus NX is angled toward the driver. And the wavy line on the screen? That’s what appears when you say, “Hey Lexus,” and the system asks how it can help you. Photo: Kirsten Alana

Even Though Many Functions Are On The Touch Screen, Cabin Temperature Is Still Controlled With A Dial. Photo: Kirsten Alana

Even though many functions are on the touch screen, cabin temperature is still controlled with a dial. Photo: Kirsten Alana

The driver information screen behind the contoured-to-your-hands steering wheel is in addition to the head up display:

The Customizable Driver Information Screen Gives You The Option Setting Up Your Own View. Photo: Kirsten Alana

The customizable driver information screen gives you the option setting up your own view. Photo: Kirsten Alana

A look at the interior space and how it’s laid out over the passenger area and trunk.

Since The Front Cabin Is Built For Two, I Got To Ride With My Friend Stacie Connerty. Photo: Kirsten Alana

The front cabin is built for two, making for a nice day out with my friend Stacie Connerty. Photo: Kirsten Alana

The Rear Seat In The 2022 Lexus Nx. Photo: Kirsten Alana

The rear seat in the 2022 Lexus NX. Photo: Kirsten Alana

The Cargo Area In The Lexus Nx Is Really Roomy. Photo: Kirsten Alana

The cargo area in the Lexus NX is really roomy. Photo: Kirsten Alana

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. 

The Rear View Camera Offers Guidelines That Show The Direction Your Car Is Pointed

The rear view camera offers guidelines that show the direction your car is pointed. Photo: Kirsten Alana

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. 

Luckily I Got To Take A Spin Behind The Wheel Too! Photo: Kirsten Alana

Luckily I got to take a spin behind the wheel too! Photo: Kirsten Alana

The Lexus Nx Took Us To The Beach Ykirstenalana-5986 2

It was fun to take the Lexus NX to the beach. Photo: Kirsten Alana

Disclosure: Lexus provided the 2022 NX for this test drive; all opinions are my own.

Kirsten is a photographer and travel blogger. A former nomad, she now lives in Los Angeles where she enjoys... More about Kirsten Alana