Three years after its global debut, Lexus has given its NX entry-level premium SUV a customary mid-lifecycle facelift.
Due to be introduced in major markets in late-2017 as a 2018 model, the new NX will feature a revised front-end and rear-end design, new headlamp clusters, improved infotainment and controls, and improved ride and handling.
The new model will also have its nameplates redesignated. What was previously the NX200t is now known as the NX300, while the hybrid will remain as the NX300h.
Under the bonnet, the NX remains unchanged. The same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder still powers the NX300 while the NX300h continues with the 2.5-litre four-cylinder, boosted a pair of electric motors.
From the outside, the new NX is differentiated by a new spindle grille and a new front bumper. Instead of an odd, wide expanse of plastic in the area between the spindle grille and front fog lamp in the outgoing model, the new model’s front bumper has a mesh-like ornament breaking up the otherwise empty space.
The new LED headlamps are now triple projectors with Adaptive High Beam System (AHS), similar to those fitted on the Lexus LC.
Behind, the taillights now extend further into the center of the tailgate, highlighted by black garnish. The new lower rear bumper also includes minor elements of the front grille's spindle motif. The chrome exhaust tips (not connected to the actual exhaust) are now larger, and the rear underbody spoiler is also new.
There are two new high grade aluminum wheel designs to choose from (availability in individual markets might vary) - a bronze-colored machine-finished piece and a bright machined-finish with dark metallic piece.
The F Sport variants seen here is distinguished by its pronounced mesh grille with jet-black plating and exclusive wheels that feature a bright machined finish with black solid paint.
Inside, the new NX will receive a larger infotainment display screen’s size, growing from 7-inch to 10.3-inch. Controls for the air-conditioning have also been updated, with more user-friendly toggle switches replacing the outgoing model’s small buttons.
On the center console, the remote touch interface pad has been enlarged and redesigned for easier operation, and the palm rest has been reshaped for maximum wrist comfort. The wireless charger tray has also grown in size to accommodate larger smart phones. In addition, the USB ports have been more optimally positioned in the center console, and their amperage has been increased for faster charging.
For models equipped with the Heads Up Display (HUD), the unit is now integrated into the upper instrument panel, resulting in a smooth dash surface that looks identical to those of non-HUD-equipped models.
Rear passengers will now be able to set the temperature in their own compartment via a switch on the rear console. The analogue clock features a cleaner, simpler design than before with an outer ring that's more pronounced. It has also been slightly enlarged for better readability and now includes satellite control, which automatically sets the time in different time zones, just like the LS.
Nearly all the controls and switches inside the new NX, including the drive mode selector, shift knob and door handles, now have a metallic satin finish, enhancing the premium look and feel of the cabin. Even the audio knob and window switches feature a metallic coating.
F Sport models have a slightly more unique interior, with textured Naguri aluminum ornamentation, and white/black seating surface treatment. As before, F Sport models’ instrument display will have a separate readouts for turbo boost and G forces for the HUD display.
The tailgate now features a handsfree operation – which is especially useful when both your hands are full. Simply moving your feet under the rear bumper cover (with the Smart key in your pocket), will open the tailgate.
Ride and handling have also been improved. The springs, stabilizer bars and bushings have been retuned for improved turn-in response and steady-state cornering, while a new set of dampers are said to improve ride quality.
On the some higher range NX models with Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), the AVS is now based on the advanced system found in the LC 500, which offers a range of up to 650 instantaneous compression and damping adjustments (up from 30) to more precisely control overall handling stability and control.
In terms of safety, the NX Lexus Safety System +, which integrates active safety technologies, such as the Pre-Collision System (PCS), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control System, Lane Departure Alert (LDA) and Automatic High Beam (AHB). It will also be equipped with Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS). Of course, the availability of these features will differ from market to market.