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Lexus NX 350h (2021 - )

Hot on the heels of the arrival of the Lexus NX 450h – the Japanese carmaker’s first plug-in EV - comes the hybrid NX 350h model which is expected to account for 50 per cent of all UK sales.

Starting price:
The model we tested was £54,800

Pros:
  • More aggressive styling and dynamic performance to match
  • Beautifully crafted interior with a new, faster infotainment system
  • Economical running costs and good selection of trims with the option of AWD
Cons:
  • Range-topping models are quite expensive
  • The engine gets a little noisy under heavy acceleration
  • Front end design is quite aggressive

Introduction

Lexus NX 350h (2022 - )

Lexus launched it’s the original five-door NX SUV in 2014 and it has been an overwhelming success story, quickly becoming the Japanese manufacturer’s best-selling model in the UK with in excess of 27,000 sales.

That success meant designers were faced with a little bit of a dilemma when working on a second-generation car. They wanted it to look fresh and new, without scaring off faithful customers. And they have achieved that goal perfectly, despite 95 per cent new parts.

The exterior is really eye-catching now and the interior is very premium too with a wealth of high-end technology at your disposal.

On The Road

Lexus NX 350h (2022 - )

Performance

The all-new 2022 Lexus NX 350h is available in trim grades called NX, Premium Pack, Premium Plus Pack, Takumi and F Sport Premium Plus Pack.

The car features the all-new fourth-generation self-charging hybrid system with new battery packs and the option of E-Four all-wheel drive. It features a 2.5-litre, four cylinder petrol engine with 241bhp, which is a 24 per cent increase in power compared to the outgoing model.

That means it is faster too – 15 per cent to be precise – with a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 124mph. We tested the high-end NX 350h F Sport AWD with optional Takumi Pack and sunroof.

The pace out the starting blocks is impressive and the latest NX is well balanced on the open road with nice grip and minimal signs of body sway.

The acceleration through the CVT electric transmission is smooth and, unlike days of old, refined. 

It’s a car that cruises effortlessly at 70mph on motorways and there are drive modes to alter the characteristics and handling. These are called Normal, Eco, Sport S and Sport S+. Our test car also featured all-wheel drive for added assurance in more adverse driving conditions.

Lexus NX 350h (2022 - )

Ride Handling

The NX does boast quite a road presence stretching 4.66 metres in length, 1.85 metres across and 1.67 metres high. But despite these full-SUV dimensions, the car is deceptively agile in its handling.

With good all-round visibility, it is an easy model to drive in busier city centres and would be a perfect school-drop vehicle. The clever 360-degree panoramic view monitor, intelligent park assist sensors and a digital rearview mirror means you can keep a watchful eye out for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users and look a complete expert when parking too.

Our F Sport NX featured adaptive variable suspension and this advanced system helped with the crisp handling of the car while maintaining a high level of ride quality. The test model was fitted with 20-inch F Sport alloy wheels which perfectly matched its dynamic character without proving detrimental to the comfort levels.

The new multi-link rear suspension and McPherson system up front do a very worthy job of smoothing out all but the most severe road surfaces and the cabin is insulated against any outside noise.

An upgraded steering system is also worth mentioning as it delivers precise handling with impressive levels of driver feedback.

Lexus NX 350h (2022 - )

Styling

The second-generation Lexus NX 350h is most definitely a looker with its planted stance and attractive curves. It is impossible to ignore the massive spindle grille that can be spotted from quite a distance. There are four-eye LED headlights and the car features a slim adaptive high beam system for the first time with L-shaped daytime running lights.

At the back, there is a new signature with L-shaped LED light clusters, a light blade spanning the width of the car and the LEXUS name replacing the company emblem on the tailgate.

Illuminated door handles, puddle lamps, privacy glass, a sunroof, 20-inch F Sport wheels and an F Sport styling pack completed the dynamic appearance of the test car.

Move inside and its premium quality throughout with the all-new Lexus Tazuna driver’s cockpit concept which has been developed to maximise the time the driver has their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road by simplifying the access to on-board tech.

There are supportive smooth leather sports seats, clear display screens, a head-up display and lots of tech to explore.

Lexus has cleverly reduced the number of switches from 75 to 45 but physical buttons have been retained for the most frequently used functions.

In The Car

Lexus NX 350h (2022 - )

Behind the Wheel

Finding the perfect driving position inside the NX 350 F-Sport is a simple process with eight-way powered front seats and a power-adjustable steering wheel. There are memory settings to store your favourite settings too.

The front seats can be heated or ventilated and there are heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and a highly-effective air conditioning system that clears the screens in the blink of an eye.

The amount of on-board kit is seemingly endless, but the NX certainly doesn’t look cluttered in any way. It is very classy, refined and premium in its build and layout

The main focal point is a 14-inch high-definition touchscreen which is the nerve centre of the car. Creature comforts include a pitch perfect 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, 10-inch head-up display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, dual zone climate control and lots more besides.

It also has the Lexus Link Pro multimedia system with a four-year connected services subscription included. This adds cloud-based navigation as standard for up-to-date traffic information and details of any accidents or events that may cause delays or disruption.

Touch tracer controls on the steering wheel are easy to use and they allow the driver to change or update the multi-media display without taking their eyes from the road. And a new voice recognition system with a personal assistant is activated by saying: “Hey Lexus”. 

This advanced set-up recognises 19 languages and can offer tips on restaurants and hotels. It can close windows, find radio stations and lots more besides. 

Lexus NX 350h (2022 - )

Space & Practicality

The latest NX is longer, wider and taller than the first-gen car and, with a larger wheelbase, interior space has been increased too. That is good news for occupants with ample room in the back of the car for a trio of adults to sit comfortably.

The boot can hold 545 litres of kit and that limit increases to a very respectable 1,436 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped down. Our car featured a powered tailgate with kick sensor which is ideal if you are approaching the vehicle laden down with shopping bags. Simply kick your foot beneath the bumper and the system recognises the key is present and will automatically open the boot.

Elsewhere there is a lockable glovebox, seat back pockets, central cubby bin, wireless charging pad, deep door compartments, plus front and rear cup holders for added convenience.

An over-the-air update that will be introduced later this year is remote parking. This is great for getting in and out of tight parking bays where the car can be controlled via a smartphone app.

With family adventures in mind, the new NX has a braked towing capacity of 1.5 tonnes.

Ownership

Lexus NX 350h (2022 - )

Running Costs

The NX 350h line-up is priced from £38,250 for the entry-level NX version with front-wheel drive. E-Four all-wheel drive can be added at a cost of £1,000. The Takumi E-Four version costs £53,300 and the F Sport Premium Plus Pack is priced at £48,000. 

This was the car we tested, but it also featured the optional Takumi Pack that added £6k to the cost. Lexus believes this model will account for 27-30 per cent of sales, while the NX Premium Pack model, at £39,250 (£40,250 with E-Four) will be the most popular with 36-40 per cent of sales.

When it comes to running costs, the NX 350h as tested, has combined fuel efficiency of 44.1-47.9mpg (WLTP) with carbon emissions from 136g/km for the AWD version (FWD cars have emissions from 129g/km). 

This CO2 figure would mean a first year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £210 dropping to the standard £145 fee for hybrid models after 12 months. Unfortunately though, there are additional costs to factor in as cars costing in excess of £40k face an additional Government premium car levy of £335 for five years.

The insurance group rating for the test car is 36.

Another point worth noting are the very high residual values on Lexus models so they tend to hold their value well.

Lexus NX 350h (2022 - )

Quality & Reliability

Lexus is renowned throughout the industry as being one of the most reliable manufacturers around with decades of hybrid expertise under its belt. 

The first generation NX was starting to look a little jaded, especially the somewhat dated infotainment system. But that issue has certainly been addressed and the all-new multi-media system proved faster, more intuitive and easier to operate on the move.

Lexus also boasts a very loyal fanbase with many customers returning time and again to update their cars so it was important not to scare off NX fans with a new sportier look. The Lexus designers have successfully updated the NX without being too radical in the process.

The build quality feels exceptionally high with the finest quality leather upholstery that not only looks the part, but also feels like it will survive the test of time. There are less physical switches which is good news and all the new tech looks and feels very modern and high-end.

The NX comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. This also includes five-year, 60,000-mile cover for hybrid components.

For added peace of mind, customers have the option to sign up to Lexus Relax. This is an extended warranty scheme that can add up to 10 years or 100,000 miles of motoring free of charge provided the car is serviced through approved Lexus centres.

Lexus NX 350h (2022 - )

Safety & Security

While the new second-generation Lexus NX has yet to be tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating, the car is packed to bursting with proven and new safety features and driver assistance systems to help keep occupants and other road users safe.
There is a debut for the clever e-latch system and this will be very good news for cyclists. It is an electronic door release system that replaces the traditional handle and is located next to the armrest. The door can be opened in a smooth simple manner but cannot be opened into the path of vehicles or cyclists that are passing. There is a Safe Exit Assist function built in for emergencies.
This is just one of the extensive number of safety features with the third generation of Lexus Safety Systems+ included as standard across the range. There is an improved Pre-Collision System that is able to detect significantly more risk scenarios and this comes with Emergency Steering Assist built in. Other systems include Lane Keep Assist, Lane Trace Assist, Road Sign Assist, Automatic High Beam, Intersection Assist and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
There is Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control, All-wheel Drive along with a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a digital rearview mirror and a full suite of airbags.
An Anti-theft system complete with alarm, intrusion, tilt and glass breakage sensors, plus an engine immobiliser will keep the NX protected from would-be thieves.
 

Summary

Lexus NX 350h (2022 - )

Take the best-selling Lexus model in the UK and give it a whole new look, with improved styling, technology and handling. It could have been a risky tactic, but Lexus has succeeded on every count with the new second-gen model.

By Maxine Ashford
Feb 02, 2022

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