The Lexus NX is a nice luxury compact SUV with a smooth ride, classy interior and lots of bells and whistles, all at a reasonably low price for the class. But this is a competitive segment full of heavy hitters, and the NX has a hard time standing out from the likes of the Acura RDX, BMW X3, Genesis GV70, Mercedes-Benz GLC Class and Volvo XC60.
Base Price: $45,700
As Tested: $51,395
Mileage: 25 mpg city/32 mpg highway/28 mpg combined
The NX fits in the Lexus lineup between the smaller UX and bigger RX. The NX gets redesigned for 2022 and is now in its second generation. The exterior gets some tweaks, and the interior gets some updated materials and tech including an easier-to-use infotainment system which is much improved over the old system.
The NX comes in three trims: NX 250, NX 350 and NX 350 F Sport. Starting prices range from $37,950 to $49,000, which are lower than many rivals. There’s room for five passengers in two rows of seating. The NX 250 has standard front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive is available for $1,600. The NX 350 models come standard with AWD.
The NX 250 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The NX 350 trims get a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 275 horses and 317 pound-feet. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The base engine is fine for driving around town but it sure won’t get your heart pumping. You may wish for more power when trying to pass at freeway speeds or when the rig is loaded with kids and gear for a family trip. The NX is a nice cruiser once you’re up to speed. The eight-speed shifts smoothly and quickly and always seems to find the right gear. Visibility is good to the front and sides, but not as good to the rear.
Fuel efficiency is great for the class. EPA ratings for my tester are 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with a combined rating of 28. I got 28 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The updated cabin is classy and comfortable with high-end and soft-touch materials. A large screen dominates the dash and it’s angled towards the driver. The front seats have enough leg- and headroom for taller passengers and provide excellent support. The rear seats aren’t as cushy but there’s enough room for three kids or two average-size adults.
Standard features include keyless entry, push-button start, rearview camera, automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, digital gauge cluster, infotainment system with 9.8-inch touchscreen, 10-speaker sound system, navigation, Bluetooth, two USB ports, HD Radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, virtual assistant (“Hey Lexus”), Wi-Fi hot spot, and automatic high-beam headlights.
Available features include a surround-view camera system, head-up display, rearview mirror with an integrated camera display, real leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, infotainment system with 14-inch touchscreen, and adaptive pivoting headlights.
Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, forward automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, front and rear cross traffic alert, road sign recognition, and safe exit assist which keeps occupants from opening the doors if another vehicle is approaching.
Available driver assistance technologies include front and rear parking sensors and hands-free park assist.
The new infotainment system with the Lexus Interface is a huge improvement over the old Remote Touch interface. Whether you get the standard 9.8-inch touchscreen or available 14-inch touchscreen, both look great and respond quickly to commands. However, there are still a lot of menus and submenus so it can take some time to become familiar with the system. Lexus also joins other brands in adding an audio command—say “Hey Lexus” to control a number of settings including turning the heated seats on and off and tuning the radio.
The NX has less cargo space than some rivals. There are 22.7 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place and 46.9 cubes with the second row folded. A manual liftgate is standard and a hands-free power liftgate is available.
Priced lower than many rivals
Good fuel efficiency for the class
Much improved infotainment system
Lots of standard and available features and tech
Standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Tepid performance with base engine
Less cargo space than many competitors
My tester starts at $45,700. Digital rearview mirror is $200. The Rear Seat Package with power-folding 60/40 heated rear seats is $1,030. Triple beam headlamps with washers and cornering lamps are $850. Mark Levinson 17-speaker premium audio system is $1,020. Panoramic view monitor, lane change assist and front cross traffic alert are $1,070. Smart Phone Convenience Package with digital key and wireless charger is $450. Delivery fee is $1,075 bringing the grand total to $51,395.
The redesigned 2022 Lexus NX is better all the way around than the outgoing model. It has a smooth ride, upscale cabin, lots of standard features and tech, and a lower starting price than most rivals. Still, with so many excellent options in the luxury compact SUV class, you’ll want to shop around before making your choice.