Groningen, The Netherlands 16th October 2023: Lexus introduced the NX in 2014 as a Mid-size or MIDI SUV. Almost ten years later, Lexus rejuvenated the NX by giving the second generation a new design, platform, and engine. And thus bringing it on par with modern tastes and ensuring its future for the coming generations. Auto Drenthe Groningen Group allowed us to drive a stunning NX450h+ AWD F-Sport. We are pleased with this SUV and would like to inform you further about this luxury craftsmanship.
Text: Benjamin Wefer, Roley Richardson
Pictures: Roley Richardson, Benjamin Wefer
The NX has been an unforeseen success for Lexus for many years, with exceeded sales forecasts worldwide by more than 20%. The NX is still the most popular model in Europe (Highest sales) and is considered the most reliable SUV. The NX450h+ AWD has been crowned the Best large Plug-in car in the UK (October 2023). The Lexus NX is available in six versions worldwide, but only three versions are available in The Netherlands: The Lexus NX-350h FWD, the 350h AWD, and the NX450h+ AWD.
Depending on your chosen version, the Lexus NX is customizable in eleven exterior and eleven interior colors. The color of the model used for this article is Sonic Titanium in combination with the Flare red leather interior and aluminum-like trim panels.
The new NX has a Length of 4.660 meters, 1.660 meters in width, 1.865 meters in height, and a turning radius of 6.2 meters. It is sitting on the new Global Architecture K-platform, which makes it slightly roomier than its predecessor and provides a lower center of gravity. All this put the NX450 in the top 10 of this segment (On overall size). Another change to the NX is that the traditional logo is now replaced with proud lettering on the rear end, giving it a more modern look. The ground clearance of 185 mm improves handling in corners and increases stability but is not ideal for hard-core off-roading, but a perfect city SUV.
The new NX has a redesigned 2.5 liter, four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine produced by Toyota. The Petrol engine uses an aluminum block with hydraulic variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust camshafts, oil and antifreeze channels brought together for better heat transfer, and a multi-hole injector system (D4-S). All this resulted in an engine that delivers both driving and environmental performance while pursuing high efficiency and low fuel consumption. In addition to the petrol engine, the NX450H+ has a 134Kw permanent, synchronous motor in the front and a 40 Kw acting on the rear axle (therefore, a dual electric motor system).
The E-four technology ensures that the rear motor is always operational and distributes the power to minimize slippage as much as possible. However, the feeling behind the steering wheel is that this is only engaged (Engaging of the rear wheel) once put in Sport S+ modus. Selecting Sport S+ provides additional control of the adaptive variable suspension and electric power steering (EPS) to give a more responsive performance. It also allows the driver to apply their preferred settings for the powertrain.All combined, the NX450H+ has 309 horsepower to push the 2050 kg curb mass forward from 0 to 100 km/hr in 6.3 seconds.
The 450h+ is the first Plug Hybrid model from Lexus, and it comes with an 18.1 Kilowatt rechargeable lithium-ion (96 Ion cells) battery that provides around 70 km range without burning any fossil fuel and enables all-electric driving at speeds up to 135 km/hr (Some NX owners can even reach 80 on a full battery). The charging point is located on the rear end opposing the fuel tank, and according to Lexus, it should charge from 20 to 80% in 90 minutes.
If you have not been in a recent model Lexus before, the first noticeable thing behind the steering wheel is the new ‘Tazuna’ approach (a Japanese word describing a rider’s control of their horse using the reins). The dashboard and 14-inch multimedia touch screen are facing towards the driver to ease operation from the driver seat. The head-up display can be configured in several ways to provide information, such as the current speed and speed limit. The new voice assistant makes it easier to change track and find a nearby restaurant without taking your eyes off the road or hands from the wheel. But it requires some practice to get what you desire. The pre-programmed system needs the right word combination function. For example, you should ask for the nearest Lexus dealer instead of asking to navigate to the nearest Lexus dealer. It has dual microphones (integrated into the roof panel), enhanced noise-cancellation, seat detection, and speaker location capabilities. Some commands are not allowed from the passenger’s seat since Lexus entitles the driver to more rights and benefits. But, the passenger can give commands to adjust the temperature on their side without influencing the temperature on the driver’s side.
Lexus completely redesigns the front seats of the NX to be more ergonomic. They provide you with a lot of comfort and stability. Of course, ventilated and heated seats are available as expected from a luxury brand. Lexus improved a smooth car entry and offers full adjustability control options. The most interesting feature is the e-Latch door release system. Inspired by the traditional fusuma sliding paper screens used to divide a room in Japanese homes, the e-Latch system is an intelligent push-button switch to open the door. It brings the familiar door handles in harmony with the armrest in the door panel. It transitions into a smooth flow to close and open the door.
The NX has a 520-liter trunk space, but folding the rear seats down will get you an impressive 1436-liter. The downside is that the back seat is not completely leveled to the trunk once folded, but still puts the NX in the top 3 on trunk space. One good feature of the trunk area is the under-floor storage, to store a bag together with other small items. It also functioned as a storage location for the cargo cover.
The new NX received a 5-star safety rating from the Euro NCAP. With Lexus’s historically excellent reliability ratings and the comfortable ride, you can rest assured that the NX is worth your money.