Finally, Lexus is introducing a second generation of its compact SUV, the NX. (The first-gen model debuted way back in 2015 and we were ready for a new one.) Now sharing a platform with the current Toyota RAV4, the 2022 NX gains a plug-in hybrid variant and debuts a new turbocharged engine. Plus, it ditches the much-maligned touchpad infotainment controller for a sleeker touchscreen setup. This should be the best NX yet, and it'll square off against other compact luxury SUVs including the Acura RDX, Volvo XC60, and Lincoln Corsair.
Although the previous-generation Lexus NX only offered the turbocharged 235-hp NX300 and the underwhelming 194-hp NX300h hybrid, the powertrain options are all new for 2021. In place of the outgoing 2.0-liter turbo-four model is a more powerful 2.4-liter turbocharged NX350, and a new base model dubbed the NX250 is powered by the RAV4's naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine.
Lexus is also updating the hybrid with more power and efficiency; that model will now be called the NX350h. Lastly, the NX adds a plug-in hybrid powertrain for 2022 based on the system in the Toyota RAV4 Prime. The range-topping plug-in will wear a badge reading NX450h+.
Drivetrain: FWD or AWD
Engine: 2.5-liter I-4
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Horsepower/Torque: 203 hp/184 lb-ft
Acceleration (0-60 mph): 8.2-8.6 seconds (mfr est)
Engine: Turbocharged 2.4-liter I-4
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Horsepower/Torque: 275 hp/317 lb-ft
Acceleration (0-60 mph): 6.8 seconds (mfr est)
Engine: 2.5-liter I-4 hybrid
Transmission: CVT automatic
Horsepower: 239 hp
Acceleration (0-60 mph): 7.2 seconds (mfr est)
Engine: 2.5-liter I-4 plug-in hybrid
Transmission: CVT automatic
Horsepower: 302 hp (MT est)
Electric Range: 36 miles (the gas engine provides additional range after the initial EV miles)
Acceleration (0-60 mph): 6.0 seconds (mfr est)
Although the new 2022 NX has not yet been evaluated by the NHTSA or the IIHS, we're assuming Lexus will aim for the same safety ratings as last year's car. That would entail a NHTSA five-star overall safety rating and an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.
The NX also showcases the debut of a new Lexus safety suite dubbed Lexus Safety System+ 3.0. Adaptive cruise control with curve speed management, oncoming vehicle detection, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, road sign assist, safe exit assist, and lane keep assist are all standard.
Lexus has not yet released specifications detailing the interior space of the new NX, but we have a couple hints. According to the automaker, passengers in the new NX will notice increased headroom and legroom compared to the previous model, which offered 38.2/38.1 inches of front/rear headroom and 42.8/36.1 inches of front/rear legroom. We figure rear legroom will measure around the same 37.8 inches as you get in a Toyota RAV4. For context, the Acura RDX offers 38.0 inches of rear legroom.
Lexus has also reported the second-gen NX has more storage space than its predecessor. The old NX provided just 17.7 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the rear seats, which was pitifully small for the segment. Current Toyota RAV4s offer up to 37.6 cubic feet—which the NX should come close to—and an RDX measures 29.5 cubic feet.
We're sure the new powertrain options will be great, but the bigger news is the 2022 NX's new infotainment system. The touchpad controller in the old car brought consistent criticism, and we're thrilled to see it go. Instead, NX owners will operate the infotainment system via a standard 9.8 inch touchscreen system, and a massive 14.0-inch screen is included in the Luxury package. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard, and Lexus is adding a voice-controlled virtual assistant. The new system also includes improved navigation software, over-the-air updates, an emergency response system, and digital key smartphone integration.
Don't go thinking Lexus spent its entire development budget on new engines and big, flashy touchscreens. Lexus has also worked to further reduce road noise, and the optional ambient lighting system offers a choice of 14 themes and 64 colors. Both the front and rear seats have been redesigned, too. Buyers will also notice open pore wood trim on examples with the Luxury package, and the 2022 NX will be the first of its kind to feature a panoramic moonroof.
Lexus hasn't released pricing yet for the 2022 NX but we can make educated guesses based on the hierarchy of the previous-generation car as well as that of the Toyota RAV4. The base-engine NX250 will likely be the entry-level model, potentially carrying a lower base price than the 2021 NX300, which started around $38,500. Next will come the turbocharged NX350 and hybrid NX350h, followed by the plug-in NX450h+ sitting atop the lineup. When we tested a fully loaded Toyota RAV4 Prime with the same powertrain, its sticker price read $49,831. Figure the Lexus equivalent will cost somewhere in the mid-$50K range, potentially reaching $60,000 with every option.
If you can swing it, though, consider the NX450h+ plug-in hybrid. We were thoroughly impressed with the seamlessness and performance of the RAV4 Prime's plug-in hybrid powertrain, and it should be just as compelling in the 2022 NX. Our advice would be an NX450h+ with the Luxury package but to skip the F Sport model. That variant's 20-inch wheels and sport suspension are threats to ride quality, and Lexus SUVs are generally better as focused luxury vehicles, anyway.
|$1000||Lexus announces a Bonus Cash on select models for eligible current owners. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||03-31-2022|
|$1000||Lexus announces a College Graduate Reward Program on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||03-31-2022|
|$1000||Lexus announces Bonus Cash on select models for eligible Military personnel. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||03-31-2022|
|$0||2.49% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60 Months - Lexus announces special APR financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|
|$500||Lexus announces a Lease Cash on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|
|$0||2.99% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Lexus announces special APR financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|