More details on Lexus NX SUV
At a special preview event hosted in London, Lexus revealed details regarding its NX, an all-new mid-size SUV - a model that could prove to be pivotal for the firm. It is pitched in a segment that is not only busy but has plenty of healthy competition for the latest offering from the Japanese company, and the confirmation that the NX has been designed almost specifically for the European market indicates that Lexus mean business.
It's easy to see why some might call the NX's styling somewhat controversial, but it's actually something Lexus is not fazed by it. Alain Uyttenhoven, Vice President of Lexus Europe, said that the brand has realised that it isn't possible to keep everyone happy and "the NX reflects a new design process for Lexus which is now polarised in terms of designing cars to satisfy the segment."
Everywhere you look on the NX there are sharp angles and heavy creases giving it an aggressive, sporty appearance. The front end is dominated by the latest iteration of Lexus' 'spindle' grille design, which, in the higher 'F Sport' trim, takes on an even more aggressive appearance. Long, thin LED daytime running lights are housed under the main headlight units and give further emphasis to that grille, while slender fog lights are housed low down and right to the very edge of the front bumper. Sleek headlights will incorporate LED low beams with halogen high beams on lower trim levels and LED high beams on F Sport models.
In side profile the NX offers its least divisive look, though it remains full of lovely little design touches. One worthy of a specific mention is a very thin LED strip of light that runs along the top of the door handles when the car is unlocked. Sharp creases run along the lower front and rear doors, the latter now also carrying more prominent 'Hybrid' badging.
The presence of black plastic wheel arch surrounds helps to complete the rugged look, but they are very much just for show - the NX will have limited off-road abilities as it is a car that is very much engineered for on-road use. Other nice details include the LED rear lights that are designed to show no break where they cross over the boot lid edges.
A big emphasis has been made on making the interior design of the Lexus NX appear striking whilst remaining ergonomically sound and portraying the feeling of premium quality. The large centre console dominates the cabin and is finished in a satin metallic material, which, in addition to partially replicating the front grille's design, contrasts nicely with the leather dashboard that surrounds it.
All of the controls are angled rather than being stacked vertically, which helps add to the airy feeling in the cabin. Much of the infotainment system and sub-menus are now controlled via a touchpad located next to the gear selector. One cool feature is the possibility to wirelessly charge your smartphone via an optional inductive pad located under the driver's armrest. More so than some other competitors in this segment, the NX's front seats are heavily bolstered and feel very supportive. Rear access is good, with generous door apertures helping ingress and egress - this should prove popular with parents. In terms of cargo space, the boot offers a 555-litre capacity, which can then grow further by lowering the split-folding rear seats.
Under the bonnet
Just one version of the Lexus NX will be offered in Ireland, the NX 300h. This features a 2.5-litre petrol engine combined in a hybrid powertrain that includes two large batteries housed under the rear seats. In total the system develops 197hp and although the NX has yet to be fully tested for emissions Lexus expects a rating of under 120g/km, which would place it in tax Band A4, currently costing €200 per annum.
Helping to give the NX a claimed sporty feel is a sophisticated suspension setup that, in conjunction with a highly rigid body, delivers a high level of agility according to Lexus.
The Lexus NX is due to arrive in Ireland in October and will be offered in both front- and all-wheel drive. Exact specification details are still to be confirmed although Lexus does say that the expected retail price for the entry-level NX will be under €45,000 and a variety of trim levels will be offered.
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