Technology, convenience and modern elegance make it much better, inside and out.
I loved the Lexus NX the first time I drove it, which was more than a few years ago. I was struck by its good looks, agile drivability and great value for the money. Lexus has done it again, packing the redesigned 2022 Lexus NX with many great features and choices, as well as with a pretty nice pricing structure for a luxury car that features so much innovation. Pricing starts at $37,950 and tops out at under $60,000 if you opt for all the goodies.
While the overall look of the NX was very style forward from the start, over the years, interior look lagged; it needed to be updated. And for 2022, that is the big story: The interior is more refined, more functional and roomier, with new technology and innovations that will make you think seriously about splurging on a top trim.
A New Look That Sets the Stage for the Future of Lexus
The 2022 Lexus NX is a peek into the future of the rest of the Lexus lineup. Its exterior carries a sharper look and feel and the interior is cleaner and more modern. Expect this look, function and feel to be adapted in redesigned models that are on the drawing board for the few years (hello Lexus GX and LX!).
The new look of the NX starts with the front hourglass grille which has been refined, moving its ‘waistline’ and “L” badge up toward the hood. On the rear, the Lexus name is spelled out across the liftgate under the tail light bar that spans it. On the doors Lexus incorporated handles with no moving parts; push a button on the inside of the handle to pop the door open; you can open it with one finger.
A Modern and Elegant Interior, and Leather, Leather Everywhere
On the inside you’ll see the evolution of design details, such as the gear selector that fits in the palm of your hand and reminds me of the shifter in the LC 500; a the leather surround on the center console that reminds me of the EX and a leather covered armrest that opens toward the driver or toward the passenger, making it easy to access.
The interior door handles are also push button; just push the button and the doors pop open. And don’t worry, they can pull out to mechanically open door just in case the battery is fully drained and there’s no electricity to be had.
There is an optional wireless phone charge pad that sits atop a retractable cubby cover; and the driver information display is a curved glass screen (available in the top trims). The multimedia system screen anchors the dashboard and there is leather or soft touch leatherette on every surface, with a leather surround on the command center as a centerpiece.
Probably the biggest change, however, is the media screen which is now touch or voice activated. The touchpad controller is gone, and this no doubt will make a lot of customers very happy.
Innovative Tech Is the Centerpiece of the Lexus NX
Probably the biggest innovation in the Lexus NX is the multimedia system — thank goodness we can forget the word ‘infotainment’— that Lexus describes as a ‘voice first’ system. That means that you can simply say “Hey Lexus” and the system wakes when it hears its name and is ready to act on your command. Turn on the windshield wipers, navigate to an address or saved destination, position the head up display, tune to a radio station or change the cabin temperature; it can do it all.
The multimedia system has not one, but two, voice assistants at the ready: The built in Voice Assistant can operate any hard-wired systems in the car such as climate control or windshield wipers; a cloud-based Intelligent Assistant can serve up directions, place a phone call to the navigation destination and answer questions such as “what’s the weather in Honolulu”? The Intelligent Assistant is part of the cloud based navigation subscription, a flexible plan that owners can subscribe to for just as long as they need it. But it’s good that the built in assistant is standard, not subscription based, so it’s there to help keep your eyes on the road.
Maybe the Most Innovative Head Up Display Ever
Not to be outdone, the head up display — again, a premium option but a good investment — functions in conjunction with the driver information display and the steering wheel controls. The controls on the steering wheel feature touch sensitive pads on both the right and left side; just swipe your fingers across them and you’ll see the control options light up in the head up display and then, configured on the driver information screen. I particularly loved this feature; I could see which driver assist systems were at work and turn them on or off with the swipe of my fingers, all without taking my eyes off the road.
More Smart Details On the Interior
The trend in cars and SUVs has been to continue to refine things like making the seat backs and door panels thinner to provide more passenger space. The NX is no exception. It feels roomier and more comfortable than its predecessors and the rear seat had a nice amount of leg room. The airy feeling in the cabin may also be due to the panoramic sun roof in our test model; even sitting in the back seat I felt comfortable and at ease.
In the cargo area, Lexus added under floor storage with bins and a storage space for the cargo cover. If you decide not use use it, it folds in half and pops right into a spot under the floor. I thought that was a nice touch.
The NX is the First Electric Lexus!
Lexus chose to begin its journey toward an electrified and connected future with the NX, which now boasts an additional engine option: the 450 h+ plug in electric hybrid joins the hybrid, turbo and gas engine options.
The 450 h+ can be charged for 37 miles of EV range; once the electric range is used, the hybrid engine kicks in, offering about 36MPG. Over the next few years we’ll see more models in the Lexus lineup roll out with electrified power trains and hopefully, more electric range.
What It’s Like to Drive
I was able to drive both the hybrid and the plug in hybrid and they were impressive. The NX remains agile and able, with plenty of power for merging onto the highway and zooming along backroads; the drive was responsive on hills and curves and as a small SUV, the NX is fun to drive.
And that’s not a surprise; this is a driver-focused car intended for singles, couples and dog families. The rear seat is on the small side and while of course, child car seats can be installed, it’ll be a tight fit. There is good cargo area, however, and the NX has a nice ride height which makes it great for running errands and lots of getting in and out of the car all day, which I did a lot of; I never felt tired or fatigued climbing in our out of the car. Of course, that’s a big reason why we love SUVs.
Engine options: Good, Better and Awesome
The NX offers several engine options so buyers can balance needs and budget. They are:
- NX 250: 203 HP, 4 cylinder engine that will get an estimated 26 MPG city/33 why
- NX 350: 275 HP, 4 cylinder turbo that will get an estimated 22 MPG city/29 hwy
- NX 350 h: a 239 HP 4 cylinder hybrid engine estimated to get 41 MPG city/37 hwy
- NX 450h+: a 302 HP 4 cylinder plug in hybrid engine estimated to have an electric range of 37 miles and a hybrid fuel economy estimated at 36 MPG
I really loved the silent ride and powerful engine in the 450 h+; it’s a pure and liberating experience.
What This Car Costs
It’s complicated. There are four trim levels within the four different engine options, but you can build the NX that your budget and lifestyle demand. Here’s how it breaks down by trim level and then, by engine option + trim level:
The 3 trim levels are Base, Premium and Luxury, and there is a F Sport trim available on the on the 350 and 450h+. Here’s what each trim gets you:
- Base includes: multimedia system with “Hey Lexus” voice assistant, cloud-based intelligent assistant (subscription required), wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 10 speaker sound system, drive mode selector with sport, normal and eco, paddle shifters, Lexus Safety System 3.0 and leatherette seating
- Premium adds: Motion activated lift gate, adaptive headlights, power moonroof, heated and vented front seats, inhanced park assist with auto braking and rear cross traffic braking and rear pedestrian detection
- Luxury Adds: Head up display, 14” multimedia system with cloud based navigation (subscription required), high resolution driver information screen, ambient lighting, leather seats, open pore wood trim and power telescopic heated steering wheel
- F Sport Adds F Sport grille and exterior accents, gloss black wheels, run flat tires. black, roof rails, sport suspension, puddle lights, F Sport leatherette seating, head up display, high resolution driver information screen, 14” multimedia system with cloud based navigation (subscription required) and F Sport instruments including G Force display
And here’s how the pricing breaks out:
- 250 FWD (only model that is not AWD) with 203 horsepower 4 cylinder engine starts at $37,950
- 250 Premium $41,000
- 250 Luxury, $44,100
- 250 with AWD, add $2,000
- 350 with a 275 4 cylinder turbo engine starts at $41,550
- 350 Premium $44,600
- 350 Luxury $49,000
- 350 F Sport $46,650
- 350h with a 239 horsepower 4 cylinder hybrid engine starts at $41,050
- 350h Premium, $44,100
- 350h Luxury $48,500
- 450h+ with a 302 horsepower 4 cylinder plug in hybrid engine starts at $55,560
- 450h+ F Sport $56,900
Driving the NX was a real treat; peering into the brand’s design future felt special. But the technology is exceptional. From the multimedia system to the head up display integration into the steering wheel, the NX is even more ‘one with the driver.’ Once again, the NX is style and function forward and taking the brand into the future.
Disclosure: I was Lexus’ guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.