2022 Lexus NX

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2022 Lexus NX Test Drive Review: A New Compact Luxury Benchmark

by Ian Wright

The Lexus NX is back for a second generation and aims to build on the first-generation crossover's strengths while ironing out the areas that needed some attention. The compact luxury crossover has grown in size, has more athletic drivetrain options, and can now be equipped with a plug-in hybrid powertrain from the Toyota RAV4 Prime. But the biggest improvement is inside, where the infuriating Lexus infotainment setup has been replaced with the forward-looking new Lexus Interface system, finally giving the NX an edge over luxury rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, Audi Q5, and BMW X3.

The base model still has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine without a turbocharger that makes 203 horsepower, while the 350 comes with a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine making 275 hp. The hybrid models make more power, with the 350h delivering 239 hp while the NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid maxes the range out by sending 302 hp to all four wheels.

Lexus's NX came out of the gate strong in 2020 as an aggressively stylish compact crossover, so we were keen to see how Lexus handled improving its luxury compact crossover formula when we tested the NX 350 and 450h+ recently. In short, Lexus has brought the compact up to industry-leading standards.

Read in this review:

2022 Lexus NX Changes: πŸš™What’s The Difference vs 2021 Lexus NX?

The 2022 Lexus NX is an all-new model and ushers in the second generation of the brand's compact luxury crossover. Although it doesn't look dramatically different from last year's model, it's a much-improved vehicle in the areas that count. One of the major updates is the introduction of the new Lexus Interface infotainment system with an available 14-inch touchscreen. This is also the first Lexus to get the Lexus Safety System 3.0+ safety suite, comprising standard features like dynamic radar cruise control and oncoming pedestrian detection. The new NX 350 has a 275-horsepower 2.4-liter turbocharged engine, and there's also a new NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid with an estimated 36-mile all-electric range.

Pros and Cons

  • Distinctive design
  • Typically luxurious interior
  • Simplified infotainment interface
  • Nippy new PHEV model
  • Comprehensive safety suite
  • Base engine is rather sluggish
  • Trunk is still on the small side

Best Deals on NX

2022 Lexus NX Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
NX 250
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$38,350
NX 250 Premium
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$41,400
NX 350h
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$41,550
NX 350
2.4L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$41,950
NX 250 Luxury
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$44,500

2022 NX Exterior

The previous-gen NX still looks fresh alongside newer rivals, so perhaps that explains why Lexus has taken an evolutionary approach to the new model's exterior design. The large spindle grille and slanted headlights are still there but they've been refined for the new version. The grille's U-shaped blocks create an impression of depth. At the back, the Lexus 'L' emblem has been replaced by Lexus lettering, and there is a new full-width blade combination headlamp. The base model gets 18-inch alloy wheels, while 20-inch wheels are fitted to upper trims. The F Sport adds model-specific bumpers, a mesh grille insert, and black exterior trim. A panorama glass roof is available.

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See All 2022 Lexus NX Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The new Lexus NX is nearly an inch longer than the model it replaces but marginally shorter in height. Fortunately, the NX isn't a car that feels too large for easy commuting in the city. The dimensions include a length of 183.5 inches, a 105.9-inch wheelbase, a height of 65.8 inches, and a width of 73.4 inches with the mirrors folded. Ground clearance is 7.7 inches across the range.

The NX's curb weight figures vary, with base models starting at 3,660 pounds in FWD configuration, while the 450h+ tips the scales at 4,475 lbs.

  • Length 183.5 in
  • Wheelbase 105.9 in
  • Height 65.8 in
  • Max Width 73.4 in
  • Front Width 63.2 in
  • Rear Width 64.0 in
  • Curb Weight 3,660.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

There are 11 colors available for the Lexus NX but some are subject to an additional charge and some are only compatible with certain trims. No-cost shades include Redline, Atomic Silver, Nori Green Pearl, Grecian Water, Caviar, and Obsidian. All of these besides Obsidian are available on the base trim. For an additional $500, customers can spec Ultra White, Eminent White Pearl, and Cloudburst Gray; Cadmium Orange and Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0 cost $595. Colors that are unique to the F Sport models are Ultra White, Obsidian, and Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0. Cadmium Orange is probably the most striking shade of all, but, like some of the exterior paints, it can only be had in combination with certain interior color schemes.

  • Atomic Silver
  • Caviar
  • Redline
  • Nori Green Pearl
  • Grecian Water
  • Eminent White Pearl
  • Cloudburst Gray
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Ultra White
  • Obsidian
  • Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0

NX Performance

A more powerful turbo-four and a new plug-in hybrid have made the 2022 Lexus NX a better match for the competition. However, the value option is the base 2.5-liter four-pot. This model is the only one to offer standard front-wheel drive, although an all-wheel-drive system is optionally available. In AWD guise, it takes a rather tardy 8.6 seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph. Every other variant gets standard AWD. The new NX 350 is a better choice, delivering 275 hp and being capable of a 0-60 time of 6.6 seconds, making it more than half a second quicker than the outgoing NX.

The first hybrid, the NX 350h, is good for 239 hp and takes 7.2 seconds for the benchmark sprint. However, the big news is the new NX 450h+ hybrid which is now easily the best performer of the NX lineup. It produces a combined output of 302 hp; Lexus claims a six-second 0-60 time. That makes it as quick as the BMW X3 xDrive 30i, but not nearly as quick as high-performance versions of the X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. All models in the NX range are limited to a top speed of 124 mph, but the F Sport variants can go on to 127 mph.

When properly equipped, the new NX can tow up to 2,000 pounds.

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Engine and Transmission

The outgoing Lexus NX was never a class leader in terms of performance and the same is true of the new model. However, it's a better bet than before, as we found on our test drive. The base NX 250 uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine sans forced induction and it delivers 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. This engine is exclusively paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The NX 350 uses the same eight-speeder but it comes with a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine delivering 275 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. Those are healthy increases over last year's 2.0-liter turbo-four which made 235 hp and 258 lb-ft.

The hybrid lineup begins with the NX 350h. It pairs a 2.5-liter inline-four with two high-torque electric drive motor-generators and a continuously variable transmission. This model makes 239 total system horsepower, a 20-percent increase over the previous NX hybrid. An independent electric motor powers the rear wheels when necessary. Finally, the new NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid also uses a 2.5-liter inline-four and CVT transmission. The PHEV system helps it deliver 302 hp, making it easily the most powerful model in the range.

  • Engines
    2.4L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.5L Inline-4 Gas, 2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid, 2.5L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
  • Transmissions
    8-Speed Automatic, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

We got the chance to spend some serious wheel time with both the NX 350 and the new NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid, and the first thing to notice is how much heavier 450h+ feels on the road (4,475 lbs at the curb). It makes for a slightly different ride, but we left feeling neither like it was better or worse than the other. Like the previous generation, the suspension feels heavily damped while still soaking up lumps and bumps well. The result is a ride that feels padded when cruising, but firm and confident when hustling around tight roads and city streets.

Out on longer, windy roads, the body starts to roll when the NX is pushed, despite the new model's lower center of gravity. It's certainly not a sports car, but the NX is keen to turn in and happy to get its hustle on. On those longer roads, the NX is a happy cruiser and, with its more enthusiastic power levels, has no problem finding a reserve for overtaking, particularly the 450h+ with its 302 hp. As a balance between sportiness and luxury, the NX still errs on the side of comfort. Even in sport mode, the NX doesn't change its character too much. Understeer awaits those with too heavy of a foot on the throttle.

NX Gas Mileage

EPA-rated gas mileage figures for the new Lexus NX have yet to be published. However, Lexus has shared estimated figures for the lineup. The base NX 250 should attain 26/33/28 mpg city/highway combined in FWD guise, while the AWD variant is claimed to do 25/32/28 mpg.

For the NX 350, numbers drop to 22/29/25 mpg. Lexus claims 41/37/39 mpg for the NX 350h, and 84 MPGe for the 450h+; the latter also benefits from a 36-mile all-electric range. Those numbers are easily better than last year's NX 300h hybrid, which achieved 31 mpg combined.

All NX models have a 14.5-gallon gas tank, which should allow the base model to cruise for around 405 miles before needing to fill up.

The PHEV model comes with a standard 3.3-kW onboard charger which can fully charge the battery in 4.5 hours. However, an optional 6.6-kW Expedited Onboard Charger with a charging current of 240V reduces that time to 2.5 hours.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    14.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 26/33 mpg
* 2022 Lexus NX 250 FWD

New Lexus NX SUV Interior

The changes to the new NX are more notable from behind the steering wheel than from outside. The driver-focused design sees the new center touchscreen being tilted slightly towards the driver. It's a relief to find the fussy touchpad used previously replaced by a more intuitive touchscreen, which optionally measures 14 inches in size. As expected for a Lexus, fit and finish are superb. The seats are nicely bolstered and everything has a high-quality look and feel. The base model comes standard with a 9.8-inch touchscreen, classy NuLuxe upholstery, and a drive mode selector. Further up in the lineup, the NX can be kitted out with features like a panoramic view monitor, a panorama glass roof, and a ten-inch head-up display.

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See All 2022 Lexus NX Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

While the NX's exterior dimensions have grown slightly in places, there's not much extra to show in the cabin. The interior still seats five, but you wouldn't want to be an adult sitting in the middle of the rear bench seat. Legroom in the rear is on par for the NX's class at 36.1 inches and enough for most adults. Headroom in the back measures 38.5 inches, while the front has just a smidge less - you get around an inch less headroom with the panoramic moonroof fitted. Driver and passenger get to stretch out with 41 inches of legroom but will encroach on rear passengers if they want it all. Finding the right driving position is quick and easy, thanks to ample adjustment for the driver's seat and the steering wheel. And, like the previous generation, visibility all around is great.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.0 in
  • Front Head Room 38.3 in
  • Rear Leg Room 36.1 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.5 in

Interior Colors and Materials

A blend of soft-touch plastics and high-quality synthetic leather upholstery create a positive first impression, and that doesn't change when you spend more time behind the wheel. All models get NuLuxe upholstery and Stippled Black trim as standard. Black Prism and Black Open-Pore trim options are available with certain interior color schemes on upper trims. F Sport models get Dark Graphite Aluminum accents instead.

The upholstery color choices are Black, Rich Cream, Palomino, or Rioja Red, but some limitations apply depending on the exterior hue you select. For instance, Cadmium Orange exterior paint can't be paired with red seats F Sport models have a choice between Black or Circuit Red upholstery. Aluminum pedals and scuff plates also set the F Sport derivatives apart.

NX SUV Trunk and Cargo Space

According to Lexus, there's 22.7 cubic feet of cargo volume available behind the second row of seats. Although this is an improvement over its predecessor, the NX still doesn't have the biggest trunk in this segment. Folding down the rear seats frees up 46.9 cubes, and hands-free access to the trunk is available.

Interior storage isn't spectacular. The door pockets are tiny, but at least the dual front cupholders and the central armrest storage spaces are more accommodating. Occupants at the back have seatback map pockets and a fold-down armrest with another two cupholders.

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NX Infotainment and Features

Features

The base Lexus NX ships with standard features like climate control, heated front seats, a drive mode selector, auto-dimming outside mirrors, a rearview camera with dynamic gridlines, and remote start. The Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 is standard even on this model and this suite includes risk avoidance emergency steer assist and dynamic radar cruise control with curve speed management. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is also standard. Premium models add a power tilt-and-slide moonroof, heated and ventilated front seats, and parking assist with automatic braking, rear cross-traffic braking, and rear pedestrian detection. On Luxury trims, you get a ten-inch color head-up display and thematic ambient lighting, as well as a heated steering wheel and an upgraded high-resolution multi-information display.

Infotainment

Finally, we can stop complaining about the awful touchpad used to control the infotainment system in Lexus vehicles. The NX is the first to benefit from the new Lexus Interface system. Touch is the first layer of control and uses pinch-to-zoom and other familiar screen controls. The second layer is voice control and the Lexus voice assistant, with the highlights being natural language support and the ability to control vehicle functions with voice. For example, say, "Lexus, I'm too hot," and the assistant will adjust the HVAC system to cool down the cabin by a couple of degrees.

Navigation now uses Google's resources and is a huge step up from the previous system, but the important point is that the whole system is cohesive, and the user interface will be familiar to anyone using a smartphone, which is just about everyone at this point. If you don't want to connect your phone, all you're missing is phone calls and messages, since apps like Apple Music and Spotify are available to connect. If you do connect your phone, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. The screen itself is a 9.8-inch unit as standard with an upgrade to a 14-inch screen available. The user interface also includes many of the climate controls into the display. There's also a little trickery in the way the screen is bonded to reduce glare.

The base sound system is a ten-speaker setup from Lexus, but a premium Mark Levinson Surround Sound system is available and includes 17 speakers and a ten-inch subwoofer.

NX Problems and Reliability

The 2022 Lexus NX is a brand-new release so does not yet have a J.D. Power rating. If it's anything as dependable as the first-generation model, the new NX shouldn't have any reliability concerns to worry about - neither the 2021 or 2020 models suffered any recalls.

Lexus includes complimentary scheduled maintenance for the new NX but this only covers the first year or 10,000 miles, whereas BMW provides maintenance coverage for up to three years. The basic warranty runs for four years or 50,000 miles in the USA. There's also a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty and an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty for hybrid components.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    6 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    1 Years \ 10,000 Miles

NX Safety

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has published a Lexus NX safety review for the 2022 model year. The 2021 Lexus NX SUV was awarded a Top SafetyPick+ award from the IIHS, and despite the 2022 iteration being all-new, it stands to reason that Lexus would carry over the recipe that works to the second generation. The new NX also shares a platform with the Toyota RAV4 and, considering the RAV4's Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS, we're comfortable that this is a safe crossover.

Key Safety Features

Along with a suite of eight airbags, the Lexus NX also comes with a standard rearview camera with dynamic gridlines, safe exit assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 is standard as well and consists of dynamic radar cruise control with curve speed management, lane tracing assist, road sign assist, and intelligent high beams. The pre-collision system includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian and bicyclist detection, intersection turning assist, and risk avoidance emergency steer assist. Premium models get intuitive parking assist with auto braking, rear cross-traffic braking, and rear pedestrian detection. Luxury trims have a ten-inch color head-up display as standard.

On the options list, you can specify a panoramic view monitor, front cross-traffic alert, lane change assist, and front cross-traffic alert.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2022 Lexus NX a good SUV?

The new generation of Lexus NX is a marked improvement over the previous, with much of that owed to the new infotainment system and fuel economy. Lexus has clearly been listening, and we now feel we can confidently recommend people check out the Lexus NX if they're looking for a small, luxurious crossover. Ride quality is excellent, the styling is up to date, the interior is well designed and comfortable - and the technology has leaped forward. There's a lot to love with the new NX, and the new hybrid systems used are basically Toyota drivetrains. The young infotainment system has the ability to update over the air, so we wouldn't bother to hedge and wait a year before buying.

🚘What's the Price of the 2022 Lexus NX?

The price of the Lexus NX starts at $37, 950 for the base 250 with FWD. Stepping up to the Premium trim requires a $41,000 outlay, while the Luxury variant is priced at $44,100. If you want the 250 in AWD guise, add $1,600 to the price per trim.

The base price of the NX 350 is $41,550, with the MSRP for Premium and Luxury trims at $44,600 and $49,000, respectively. F Sport models will set you back $46,650, or you can splurge on the 350 F Sport Luxury for $49,950.

Hybrid models start at $41,050 for the 350h in base spec, with the Premium to go on sale for $44,100 and the Luxury for $48,500. At the top of the range, the NX 450h+ Luxury starts at $55,560, while the F Sport derivative has a sticker price of $56,900. These prices exclude a destination fee of $1,075 in the US.

2022 Lexus NX Models

This year, the Lexus NX comes in a selection of models based on powertrain: NX 250, NX 350, NX 350h, and NX 450h+. The 250 has a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter engine producing 203 hp and 184 lb-ft - it can be had in either FWD or AWD. All other models are AWD. The NX 350 makes 275 hp and 317 b-ft from its 2.4-liter turbo-four. There are two hybrids available: the NX 350h produces 239 hp, and the NX 450h+ has a total of 302 hp. Both use a CVT while the gas-only models use an eight-speed automatic transmission.

All gas models can be had in base, Premium, or Luxury sub-trims, and the 350 and 450h+ are available as F Sport derivatives too. The base NX 250 comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a ten-speaker sound system, a 9.8-inch touchscreen interface, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and NuLuxe upholstery. It also gets adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. The NX 350 shares the NX 250's features but adds the more powerful 2.4-liter turbo engine, while the NX 350h and 450h+ get a hybrid powertrain, an EV drive mode, and a CVT gearbox.

Premium models get a hands-free power liftgate, adaptive front lighting, a power tilt-and-slide moonroof, heated and ventilated front seats, and a memory system for the river's seat, exterior mirrors, and steering wheel. Intuitive parking assist with auto braking, rear cross-traffic braking, and rear pedestrian detection are standard from this level.

A ten-inch color head-up display is added to all Luxury models, and the infotainment display is upgraded to a 14-inch unit. Navigation, thematic ambient lighting, and a heated steering wheel are standard fare.

For F Sport models, adaptive variable suspension, front/rear performance dampers, and numerous cosmetic upgrades set it apart from other trims. 20-inch wheels and perforated NuLuxe upholstery comes included on these models.

See All 2022 Lexus NX Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

There are a few optional packages for the new NX, and pricing for these varies depending on the model and trim you equip them to. Main upgrades include the Vision Package for $1,070, which adds lane change assist, front cross-traffic alert, and a panoramic view monitor to the NX. The larger 14-inch infotainment upgrade with navigation can be equipped to base models for $1,105, while the premium Mark Levinson sound system is available for $2,125 on Premium models, and $1,020 on F Sport and Luxury trims. A Rear Seat Package enables a 60/40-split-power-folding rear seat and heated rear seats - it costs $1,030.

Standalone options include the ten-inch head-up display with steering-wheel-mounted touch sensors for $1,100, a digital rearview mirror for $200, and ambient lighting for $100, but some of these may require other add-ons too.

πŸš—What Lexus NX Model Should I Buy?

We know, and Lexus knows, that the NX 350 with its standard all-wheel-drive system will be the main seller in the lineup. The only reason we wouldn't push for the NX 250 is the engine, and we do wish Lexus would offer a 350 without all-wheel drive. The sweet spot appears to be the 350h with its much-improved fuel economy and bump in power. The 450h+ is the headliner, but you'll have to really love the NX to pay $56,900 for one. That said, there are much worse ways to spend that kind of money.

The F-Sport models do offer substantial upgrades, but we just do not see the NX as a performance vehicle. Frankly, if you want the modern equivalent of a hot hatch, there's much better out there for the money.

Check out other Lexus NX Styles

2022 Lexus NX Comparisons

Lexus RX CarBuzz
Acura RDX CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Lexus NX203 hp26/33 mpg$38,350
Lexus RX 290 hp19/26 mpg$45,920
Acura RDX 272 hp22/28 mpg$40,100

2022 Lexus NX vs Lexus RX

The Lexus RX is the NX's bigger brother, offering more luxury and space but at a higher MSRP. Whereas the NX's base engine is still a bit of an underperformer, the base RX has a much stronger V6. However, the new NX 450h+ hybrid is significantly quicker than even the RX 450h, so that's the model to go for if you want a Lexus SUV with some real grunt. Both SUVs have luxurious interiors, but the RX offers third-row seating if you really need it. Neither SUV has a particularly large trunk. The new NX comes with Lexus's latest safety suite, which is a step up from the RX's equivalent. The NX also has the new-generation infotainment system with a larger touchscreen. By comparison, the RX is saddled with the frustrating older infotainment suite. Unless you need the extra seating capacity, we'd rather have the fresher NX.

See Lexus RX Review

2022 Lexus NX vs Acura RDX

Acura's RDX is slightly larger than the Lexus NX but both aim to offer a similarly luxurious SUV experience for a more affordable price than their German competitors. Unlike the Lexus, the Acura only has one engine choice but it's a strong 2.0-liter turbo-four with 272 hp. Together with the ten-speed automatic transmission and some sporty dynamics, the RDX is quite fun to drive. Then again, the Lexus has more configurations so will potentially appeal to more people. We also prefer the NX's latest cabin, and it's infotainment system is now more user-friendly than the touchpad controller in the RDX. The Acura is brilliantly equipped, though, with some standard features that are optional on the Lexus. It's a close call but we'd side with the new NX.

See Acura RDX Review

Lexus NX Popular Comparisons

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