The all-new Lexus NX is much more than the second generation of Lexus’ mid-size luxury SUV, it opens the next chapter for the Lexus brand with fourth-generation hybrid technology and the first plug-in hybrid for the marque, says Lexus New Zealand.
- New design, new powertrains, new connectivity, safety, and convenience
- Lexus’ first plug-in hybrid electric model, the NX 450h+
- Significant performance and efficiency gains in the new NX 350h
Lexus New Zealand says that just about every aspect of the 2022 NX has been re-thought, re-designed and re-engineered from the ground up.
In announcing the launch of the 2022 NX SUV line-up today, Lexus New Zealand General Manager Andrew Davis says the new NX represents the first step in Lexus’ brand transformation, benefiting from a new approach to product development, design, and testing.
“The NX range has brought about a major change in Lexus’ approach to new vehicle development, applying digital modelling and computer techniques for smarter engineering that can achieve a higher level of quality assurance. At the same time, the Takumi-led skills of the human hand, ear and eye remain essential to achieving the highest sensory quality,” he says.
2022 Lexus NX: Lexus Electrified vision
With the “Lexus Electrified” vision at the core of the brand in New Zealand, and in response to customer demand, the new NX will only be available in New Zealand as a self-charging hybrid electric (NX 350h) with a 2.5 litre naturally aspirated engine or plug-in hybrid electric (NX 450h+). In both variants, the petrol engine is aided by electric motors. The NX 350h is front-wheel-drive, with one motor helping to drive the front wheels; the NX 350h Limited and the NX 450h+ are all-wheel drive, with two motors – one helping to drive the front wheels and a second driving the rear wheels.
While the 350h and 450h+ are both hybrids using regenerative braking to power the electric battery, the addition of the plug-in option gives 450h+ customers the opportunity to substantially reduce fuel costs and CO2 emissions. With a bigger battery, the 450h+ has a longer EV-only drive range and more power than the self-charging hybrid electric.
The 450h+ will be in the F Sport performance package while the 350h will be available in standard or Limited grades.
Mr Davis says the NX 450h+ is the complete package for a mid-sized luxury SUV and offers the best of both worlds for a driver wanting to balance their mobility needs with emissions and the environment.
“With around 87kms of pure EV driving range available*, it is designed to let you commute on electric power only and if you want to go further afield and head off to the country for the weekend, with no charging infrastructure in sight, the NX 450h+ will operate like a standard HEV once the electric battery is depleted,” he says.
“Lexus is on a journey towards carbon neutrality through a varied portfolio of sustainable powertrain options for customers. Over the past 12 months we have seen more than a 20% increase in Lexus Electrified product sales, and this is expected to continue as we also increase our Lexus Electrified product range.”
Lexus has been working on regenerative braking systems for more than two decades now and they say that the latest iteration in the NX has such smooth braking that it is almost impossible to feel the regenerative system working.
The NX 350h is more powerful and efficient than the outgoing 300h. A 23% increase in Total System Output, a 14% improvement in engine torque, and a 12% reduction in fuel consumption make the 350h the most powerful four-cylinder Lexus HEV available.
The halo model in the new NX range, the 450h+ features a four-cylinder, 2.5-litre engine, a 134 kW/270Nm front electric motor, a 40kW/121Nm rear electric motor, and a lithium-ion battery with 18.1 kWh capacity.
The full plug-in system, including electric motors and battery, produces a maximum 227kW, enabling acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 6.3 seconds, with weighted combined CO2 emissions of 29g/km and fuel economy of 1.3L/100km*. The new battery’s performance also enables all-electric driving at speeds up to 100 km/h and beyond.
The NX 350h Limited and the NX 450h+ are equipped with Lexus’ intelligent E-Four electric all-wheel-drive system.
2022 Lexus NX: “Exterior design focused on functional beauty”
The new NX bodywork presents contrasting curved surfaces and sharp angles, with dynamic proportions that express agility and a road-gripping look, they claim. Optimum packaging has been achieved with the use of the Global Architecture K (GA-K) platform, providing more cabin space and generous cargo capacity.
Compared to the previous generation NX, overall length has increased by 20 mm, the wheelbase by 30 mm, the width by 20 mm and the height by 15-25 mm. The GA-K platform allows for wider front (+25-35 mm) and rear tracks (+45-55 mm), which adds emphasis to the car’s powerful stance, and accommodates larger wheels and tyres (18 to 20-inch wheels).
2022 Lexus NX: Hands on the wheel, eyes on the road
The new NX is the first model to feature Lexus’ Tazuna concept for the driver’s cockpit, an approach that was first revealed in the Lexus LF-30 Electrified concept car.
Taking its name from a Japanese word describing a rider’s use of the reins to control a horse, it focuses on giving the driver direct, intuitive control of the vehicle, following the principle of “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road”. It also raises the quality of the driving experience, making the driver feel confident and in command of their vehicle and their surroundings.
To help keep the driver’s attention focused on the road ahead, the primary sources of information – the multi-information display, multimedia screen, gauges, and meters – are grouped so they can be read at a glance.
The steering wheel has a new design that will be adopted on other new-generation Lexus models. Takumi craftspeople helped precisely determine its cross-section shape and the position and shape of the thumb rest to give the best grip feel and enhance the driver’s feeling of control and connection with the car.
Further driver focus is improved by the reduction in the number of physical switches from 78 to 45 in the new NX. They have also been grouped in defined zones according to their function. Physical buttons have been retained for the most frequently used functions, for quicker, more intuitive operation.
Lexus says the NX also debuts a new multimedia platform that takes connectivity, information, and convenience to a higher level. Shortcuts to navigation, media, phone, and vehicle setting functions are permanently displayed on an intuitively arranged, high resolution 14” touchscreen, eliminating the need for menu scrolling. A range of vehicle functions can be controlled using the “Hey Lexus” voice recognition feature.
Additionally, the scope and functionality of the next-generation Lexus Safety System+ have been expanded. New features include Intersection Turn Assist in the Pre-Collision System, and Lane Trace Assist in the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The NX has also linked the e-Latch electronic door release with the Blind Spot Monitor to guard against collisions from inadvertent door opening
Andrew Davis says every aspect of the 2022 NX has been carefully thought through and improved, from powertrain components to a wealth of individual features such as the seats, the steering wheel, the multimedia system, Lexus Safety System+ functions, the wheels, and even the motor that operates the power backdoor more quickly and quietly.
In the quest to improve the car’s responsiveness and handling, professional drivers were enlisted to test the NX at Lexus’ Shimoyama proving ground.
“In every instance, the goal has been to deliver a better experience for the customer, from the way something works to how it looks, sounds and feels – it is the epitome of the Lexus Driving Signature,” he says.
2022 Lexus NX: Pricing
- Lexus NX 350h 2.5P HEV: $92,700 plus on road costs
- Lexus NX 350h Limited 2.5 P HEV: $101,900 plus on road costs
- Lexus NX 450h+ F Sport 2.5P PHEV: $107,900 plus on road costs