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    2022 Lexus NX Pros and Cons

    Authors Image

    Sagar Bhanushali

    6,431 Views
    Lexus NX Left Front Three Quarter

    Introduction

    Lexus in India may seem like an inconspicuous brand, well that is until you look at the sheer number of models, especially SUVs and crossovers that they are currently selling. In fact, there’s the RX and the LX at the highest end spectrum and then there’s the entry-level UX which will soon make its way to the showrooms.

    Somewhere in the middle of their lineup you will find the NX which, in my opinion, represents a sweet spot in the luxury crossover space. It’s the right size, it’s not absurdly priced and best of all, its a hybrid which means it’s very efficient at city speeds. So that’s one of the things we like about the NX350h and here we will tell you four more reasons to consider buying it and two reasons that might not work for you if you are looking for a luxury crossover.

    Positives

    1. Road presence

    If you are someone who prefers to be unassuming and keep things on the down low then you would definitely be better off with a Mercedes GLC or an Audi Q5. Because the NX makes no bones about being anything other than a Lexus and if you have seen all their recent designs you know what we are talking about. The NX is in-your-face the moment you lay your eyes on it and it has all your attention as you go around it. It announces its arrival with the trademark Lexus spindle grille, sharp creases and angular shapes for the bumper and the headlight housing. The headlight itself looks like it has been carved using a katana.

    Right Front Three Quarter

    Things are more or less the same in profile. Here you will find even more angles and sharp lines running across the doors and around the waist line. What truly stands out here are these flared wheel arches and the massive 20-inch alloy wheels which add to the powerful stance. The NX has road presence in abundance and if you can get in one of the funky colors like blue or red, it only amplifies its eye catching design.

    2. Offbeat in many ways

    Dashboard

    Step inside the NX and you will get a strong sense that Lexus is the sort of brand that likes to do things differently. The cabin design and ambience is unlike what we have seen in this segment – it’s rich and flamboyant and not restrained with the norms that the Germans have fashioned. Having said that, I will admit that this cabin looks busy and all the controls are not exactly where you expect them to be. Firstly there are no moving door handles and what you get instead is an electronic latch on every door that you can push to open the door. It’s the same on the outside where you will find static door handles with a switch on the inner side. The steering mounted controls are also not exactly conventional because they are touch sensitive although what’s really cool is that whatever command you feed into the system also shows up on the large heads up display.

    3. Fuel efficiency

    Instrument Cluster

    We have seen some amazing fuel efficiency figures with the NX in the past and this new model is no different. In fact, it did even better during our fuel efficiency runs and managed to return 15.67 kmpl in the city and 14.82kmpl on the highway. That rounds up to an overall figure of 15.45kmpl which is extremely commendable for a large crossover that’s predominately powered by a petrol engine.

    4. Hybrid powertrain

    The NX350h is powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine that produces 187 horsepower and 239Nm of torque but then it also gets two electric motors producing in excess of 170bhp, one over at the front axle and the other one at the rear. The combined output, then, is well over 400bhp and 600Nm of torque but it’s not as simple as it sounds. In fact, the NX350h is not a plug-in hybrid with a large battery but a self-charging one. Let me explain.

    Infotainment System

    The front wheels are powered by the petrol engine and one of the electric motors whereas the rear wheels are only electrically powered which means the NX essentially is an all-wheel drive vehicle. And at city speeds, say up to 30-40 kilometers per hour, the NX can be driven purely by the electric motors but then again because the lithium ion battery in here is so small, the electric only range is less than five kilometers. At this point, the petrol engine will not only power the front wheels but will also charge up the battery along with re-gen braking. And if you go above part throttle or simply mash the pedal, the NX will summon both the electric motors and the petrol engine for maximum acceleration.

    5. EV mode

    There’s a dedicated EV mode in the NX which can be used to cover two to three kilometers before the battery runs out of juice. So what’s the point of having such a limited electric-only range?

    Engine Shot

    Well the NX in EV mode is perfect for bumper-to-bumper traffic because it can run quietly and purely on electricity and for times when the road clears up for a bit, it will fire up the petrol engine which will then charge the battery so that you don’t burn any fuel in stop and go traffic. This is also the reason why the NX was more efficient in the city compared to the highway during our fuel economy test. Now as you would expect, the NX is dead silent at slow speeds. In EV mode you could even sneak up on other drivers, it’s that silent. And with the petrol and electric motors working together, performance overall is strong and the NX never feels short of punch.

    Negatives

    1. Pricier than rivals

    Left Rear Three Quarter

    At Rs 85 lakh on-road for the top-spec F-Sport version, the Lexus NX is on the pricy side, especially when compared to cars like the BMW X3 M Sport and the Audi Q5. Sure it gets adaptive suspension and bigger, fancy looking alloys but it’s still a tough sell considering the relatively limited dealer network that Lexus India currently has.

    2. Dull to drive

    Left Side View

    The NX may look like a million bucks and it sure grabs eyeballs even in the company of more expensive cars but unfortunately, it doesn’t drive as sharp as it looks. The hybrid drivetrain is extremely smooth and linear but that’s about it. It’s not exciting and also dynamically, the NX lacks the agility and the eagerness of something like the X3 when you push it through the corners. What also dials down the fun quotient is the laidback nature of the CVT and the limited feedback that you get from the steering. You can definitely feel that the NX is at its happiest when driven without brute force.

    Conclusion

    Left Front Three Quarter

    So there you have it. The new Lexus NX350h with its pros and cons. It’s phenomenal to look at, very comfortable and surprisingly efficient. It’s basically everything we have come to expect from a modern Lexus which also means it’s not the most exciting thing behind the wheel nor is it the most reasonably priced. But if you are looking for a standout crossover and your usage is mostly within city limits, the NX should be on top of your list.

    Photography: Kaustubh Gandhi

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