Lexus NX (first driving) – exactly what you would expect

Lexus NX (first driving) – exactly what you would expect
Lexus NX (first driving) – exactly what you would expect
  • What we used: Lexus NX second generation

  • Competing: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Volvo XC60

  • When with us: Early 2021

  • Estimated price: Starting from NIS 300,000

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  • for: Appearance, quality, fuel consumption

  • against: Too artificial, not exciting enough, no electricity (yet)

big time: God-NX It was first introduced by Lexus in 2014 and is one of the most important models for the luxury Japanese-American brand. Not only because it introduced seven years ago a design change in the brand, with a shift to sharp lines at the expense of typical softness, but mainly because it incorporated it into the category of compact recreational vehicles, the one that became one of the most profitable in the industry in the previous decade.

In doing so, Lexus caught two birds in one go. First, the more dynamic and bold look of the NX attracted a new audience to the brand, most of it younger than the average age typical of buyers of the Japanese luxury brand. Second, in Europe for example it has quickly become the brand’s best-selling model, with 175,000 units to date.

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But apart from a successful design, in every other respect the NX had a hard time with luxury recreational vehicles from BMW-Audi-Mercedes. And if you dig a little deeper, you can understand why. Unlike the Q5 and X3 for example, Lexus chose to base it on none other thanToyota Rav4 Presented should be remembered somewhere in 2012. A worthy and reliable base, but one that limits engineers when it comes to producing an exceptional quality identity. And yes, the current generation promises to change that. So we drove it.

Design and cabin: Look at the new NX and it is doubtful you will be mistaken for its origin. The general lines remain, especially in the familiar silhouette and back, although the front incorporates – of course – the huge trellis in front. Here and there changes of headlights, a little change of proportions (lighting units for the entire width of the trunk), an option for huge 20 “rims. We loved the balanced look. Impressive and unique, but as we will discover later, and like other components in the car, not one that will leave a mark. The XC60 will not be forgotten, nor will those of the BMW X3. It will take you longer to remember what the NX looks like.

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As expected, the driver environment has been updated. First with a huge (14 “) touch screen that is conveniently facing the driver, though it is large enough that operating its more remote corners will require a long and less desirable outreach.

Even more gratifying is Lexus’ decision to give up the touchpad it still insists on in other models, probably the most cumbersome user interface for operation in the industry. Also on the list of changes – a nice joystick-like gear selector. A little less likable is the modest digital dashboard (7 “) and therefore crowded with information, what’s more it does not allow for variable data display. A large elite data display (10”) helps neutralize the problem.

The digital-gimmicky internal mirror problem can also be neutralized by switching to a normal display. And this is a great time to compliment Lexus for giving up a camera-instead-of-mirror solution on the sides of the body in which it equips the ES for example. Please, hold back. Do not integrate with NX. Never. The driver’s seat has proven to be one of the finest we’ve come across recently, and it helps to find a good driving position. We did not like the original and sophisticated (too, unnecessarily) solution to open a door “in one go”. Completely unnecessary.

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The body dimensions are more generous than the outgoing generation, but very little. Another two cm in length and width, another three cm to the base of the wheels, slight changes that only slightly affect the interior space. Especially in the back there is a more spacious environment for the legs, not much beyond – except for a pair of USB sockets for charging. And also, the trunk has increased by 70 liters (545 liters).

Safety systems have undergone a more significant upgrade, with upgraded autonomous braking (also for cross-traffic), steering assistance in emergency maneuvers, automatic lane passage and a door opening warning when the area is not clear. We did not drive alongside an old NX, but it seems that the operation of the lane keeping system is more polished in general. Software development matters, presumably.

Engines and performance: In the + NX450h Lexus incorporates a hybrid-rechargeable engine like in theראב 4 PHEV, A simple and equally efficient mix (and as it turns out, economical): a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor connected to the front wheels via a continuous gearbox, another electric motor that is connected directly to the rear wheels and allows dual propulsion and a total of 309 hp.

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The jump to 100 km / h takes 6.3 seconds. Sounds fast and according to the stopwatch it is indeed so, sporty it does not feel. Among other things because of the configuration of the gearbox.

18.1 kWh batteries are supposed to provide an official and pollution-free driving range of 70-75 km on a combined trip or up to almost 100 km on cruising or urban driving. A super-generous distance and one that for many can help give up regular refueling. In reality the distance Smaller but as always with Lexus (and the parent company, Toyota) the fuel consumption figures are not very far from reality.The manufacturer explains that such an electric distance, after a nocturnal home charging, frees from the need to choose an all-electric vehicle that brings with it (still at least) some range anxiety. They are right, in a way.

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Alongside the large engine, a standard hybrid version (NX350h) will also be offered in Israel, with the familiar propulsion unit from the outgoing NX, but the power is higher (244 hp, 44+), which allows a 1.5-second jump to 100 km / h (7.7 seconds). In the dual paddle version). The curb weight is lower than the rechargeable hybrid version, but only at 200kg, here too the feeling is sometimes heavy, not really necessary. It is aimed at Lexus.

Landing and Behavior: Toyota Raw 4 is the one that provides the base, but this time it is a more up-to-date platform (GA-K) and better. It is stiffer and has a lower center of gravity (by two cm), with aluminum parts (front wings and hood) that try – and do not really succeed – to reduce the weight a bit but do help a more balanced weight distribution back and forth.

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The suspensions have also been redesigned with wider axle switches (3.5cm at the front and 5.5cm at the rear) and support for adaptive shock absorbers. The steering system is faster than before (20%) and also the discs in larger sizes, with a better feel in the brake. So yes, it feels more dynamic and agile, less outrageous in the case of vigorous driving. It also feels more stable under braking and at high speeds (limited to 200 km / h). But overall the feeling is of a relaxed vehicle, calibrated more for relaxed driving and less for reckless frenzy. Lexus.

And in this context, it is more comfortable than the replaced model. The suspension calibration allows for more efficient absorption than in the past of minor disruptions, and here and there prevents the feeling of excessive softness at high speed.

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Summary: The new Lexus NX is having a hard time standing out in any section in the face of the fine opposition it faces. Yes, he looks, but does not turn heads. It is very high quality, but lacks the ‘we went all the way’ feeling with materials and meticulousness. It is strong, but not unusual and offers a spacious, but not particularly impressive cabin. Yes, it is very economical, presumably more than its competitors that combine gasoline and rechargeable electricity, but it does not have the required electrical solution. Will be, but in the future.

On the other hand, it does not fall under any clause and like all its family members in Lexus, makes you feel that even in 10 and 20 years it will give the same impressive luxury feelings. It is pleasant, polished and improved compared to its predecessor. For classic Lexus customers it simply means – yes, it is very worthy and yes, you want one. True, in many ways the NX is one of the least surprising new models we have driven. In the case of Lexus, this is a compliment.

  • Engine: Gasoline, four cylinders, 2.5 liters and electricity

  • Gasoline engine power: 185 hp at 6,000 rpm

  • Gasoline engine torque: 23.1 kg at 3,200 rpm

  • Power, front electric motor torque: 182 hp, 27.5 kg

  • Power, Rear Electric Motor Torque: 54 hp, 12.3 kg

  • Combined power: 309 hp

  • transmission: Continuous, constant dual propulsion

  • Length: 466 cm

  • width: 186.5 cm

  • height: 167 cm

  • Wheelbase: 269 ​​cm

  • Self weight: 1,990 kg

  • Trunk volume: 545 liters

  • Jump to 100 km / h, maximum speed: 6.3 seconds, 200 km / h

  • Fuel consumption, pollutant emissions: 111 km per liter, 20 grams of CO2 per km

  • Electric travel range: 76 km

  • Air-bags: 7

  • Safety rating (Euro NCAP): We have not yet been examined

  • Estimated price: NIS 300,000

The writer was a guest of Lexus

 
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