2022 Lexus NX

Asia's Tech News Daily

Pros

  • Two hybrid models
  • New infotainment system
  • Standard safety features

Cons

  • Some paint options exclusive to F Sport models
  • Humble base engine
  • Polarizing front grille

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.

What’s New

  • Introduction of the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, the brand’s latest collection of driver-assist features
  • Redesigned exterior with a new Lexus logo at the rear
  • Updated paint options
  • New 7.0-inch instrument cluster display and available 10.0-inch head-up display
  • Standard 9.8-inch touchscreen infotainment display and available 14.0-inch system, both running a fully redesigned infotainment system
  • Revised engine lineup with three new powertrain options
  • Improved headroom and legroom
  • Newly available panoramic moonroof

What We Think

The 2022 NX350h is better than its predecessor in Lexus’ lineup of compact hybrid SUV. It’s quicker to 60 mph than the last NX300h we tested and even the gas-only 2022 NX350 with its 2.4-liter turbo-four. The NX350h also gets better fuel economy than the NX300h and does it while delivering more power. We’ve also sampled the NX450h+ with its 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with one front and one rear electric motor.

Everything we didn’t like about the old interior was addressed, including the cumbersome trackpad-controlled infotainment system. The new NX features a base 9.8-inch screen and an available 14.0-inch display, both of which are positioned close to the driver and have touch controls.

Our 2022 NX350h tester was unexpectedly capable in deep sand and snow as well, but overall ride and handling on paved surfaces was less impressive. The cabin is plenty quiet, but the rest of the experience didn’t live up to the standard of what we’d consider luxury. The NX is moving in the right direction, but there are still other more compelling options in the segment.

Performance and Efficiency

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 wears a badge reading NX450h+.

2022 Lexus NX250

Drivetrain: FWD or AWDEngine: 2.5-liter I-4Transmission: Eight-speed automaticHorsepower/Torque: 203 hp/184 lb-ftAcceleration (0-60 mph): 8.2-8.6 seconds (mfr est)

2022 Lexus NX350

Drivetrain: AWD

Engine: Turbocharged 2.4-liter I-4Transmission: Eight-speed automaticHorsepower/Torque: 275 hp/317 lb-ftAcceleration (0-60 mph): 6.8 seconds (mfr est)

2022 Lexus NX350h Hybrid

Drivetrain: AWDEngine: 2.5-liter I-4 hybridTransmission: CVT automaticHorsepower: 239 hpAcceleration (0-60 mph): 7.2 seconds (mfr est)

2022 Lexus NX450h+ Plug-in Hybrid

Drivetrain: AWDEngine: 2.5-liter I-4 plug-in hybridTransmission: CVT automaticHorsepower: 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)

Safety Ratings and Features

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.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

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. 

Technology

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.

Interior Details

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.

Recommended Trim

The NX250 is the entry-level model and carries a base price of $39,025 when equipped with standard FWD. Next are the turbocharged NX350 and hybrid NX350h, followed by the plug-in NX450h+ sitting atop the lineup.

If you can swing it, 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 is just as compelling in the 2022 NX. Our advice would be an NX450h+ with the Luxury package, which has an MSRP of $56,635. 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.

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